Teflon, Guardsman, Stainguard, and Scotchguard are only four name brands for protectors applied to fibers in carpet and other fabrics like clothing or shower curtains. Aftermarket stain guards are utilized by qualified technicians on carpets when the first protection starts wearing down. The question is, “how do the stain guards work to fight off stains and repel water?”
Stain guards are designed to adhere to fiber whether on carpet, clothing, upholstery, or curtains. They are a soft coating and manufactured in this manner to make the finished product more like natural fiber and less like varnish or plastic. A hard surface would alter the product to such a degree that it would not resemble fabric at all. So these products have to have a soft surface, but the drawback is that this coating will wear down and become ineffective with use over time.
That doesn’t mean that the shield won’t give great protection, it just means that it won’t stop all the different chemicals and cleaning agents from eventually breaking it down to the point that it no longer safeguards against stains.
The question then becomes, “So how does it work?” The protector molecules bond to the surface of the fiber and once dried will stop liquid from adhering to the tissue and thereby prevents any potential staining. A carpet will be safe from staining if blotted and cleaned before the spill is allowed to set.
“Will it stop every liquid from penetrating into the carpet?” Some liquids are impossible to stop from penetrating the surface. Some have chemicals that can break down the shield. Some liquids are designed to penetrate a majority of surfaces like acid. The technician applies an excellent product and uses it correctly, but that doesn’t mean that the carpet is safe and protected from every liquid. Take precautions not to cause unnecessary spills.
“Will all liquids bead up and remain on the surface?” No, it depends on the fiber construction of the carpet, the temperature of the spilled liquid, and the content of the spilled liquid. For instance, synthetic yarn woven to the carpet backing will not allow stains to bead up; the liquid will just soak through. It may not stain the synthetic yarn, but there is a good chance the backing will be discolored leaving a stained appearance. Supports made of woven synthetic attached to the synthetic yarn may not stop the spill at all. The carpet needs cutting out in this instance, and the wooden floor would then need repairing.
“Is there anything else that a carpet owner trying to protect his carpet should know about stain guards?” Yes, the standard wear of the carpet will reduce the effectiveness of the fiber guard over time. When the guard is gone, the thread will start to wear, so it’s a good idea to renew applications periodically. The good thing is that this is proof that the protector guards help against premature wear of carpets.
“Does it cost a lot for hiring a company to apply a stain guard?” For a good product and a reputable firm to implement the protector, it is like anything else; you get what you pay for in the real world. The price will be reasonable compared to the cost of replacing carpet every few years if you get that company that you can trust to apply a trusted product that they know has good results.