Alkalis can affect carpet significantly. Carpet becomes affected by different types of chemicals, both acidic and alkali. Depending on a substance’s pH level, the fibers go through a reaction. This can can change the color or even the texture. But what does it mean for a substance to be alkali and how does that affect carpet?
Of course, substances like lemon juice are acidic and are on the opposite end of the pH scale from substances that are more alkali, such as toothpaste. Extreme alkalis are substances like drain cleaner. Pure water is a neutral substance and falls in the center of the scale.
Strong alkali substances can have a significant effect on natural carpet fibers like wool and cotton, while milder alkali substances can be tolerated. Synthetic fibers like nylon, acrylic and polyester have more resistance to alkali and can tolerate moderate levels. Olefin fibers are very tough against moderate alkali substances. However, very strong alkali can cause problems with the dye, causing discoloration. More mild alkalis, such as cleaners, won’t damage fibers or dye and can actually help the carpet stay clean.