Read time: 12 minutes
Fabric protection delivers great value to carpet and upholstery owners. Protecting your fibres from damage protects your flooring investment.
Fabric protection is also a brilliant business opportunity if you who want to offer this service to customers. Or you can do it yourself and save money.
In this guide you’ll learn how to do professional carpet and upholstery fibre protection that is effective, profitable and successful.
1. What you need
We recommend XO2® Fibre Guard.
To maintain and extend the life of your carpet, rugs and upholstery, we highly recommend our Fibre Guard concentrate. A safe, water-based formula designed for long-lasting protection, Fibre Guard is easy to use, wool-friendly and features high beading water repellency, red dye blockers, and water and oil based stain prevention.
Fine misting applicator
Spray trigger and bottle, hand held pump up sprayer or electric sprayer.
PPE - Personal protection equipment
• Shoe covers.
• Carpet rake
• Upholstery brush
• Stain removal kit
• Upholstery cleaning extraction machine
• Air mover and/or dehumidifier
2. Introduction to fabric protection.
Fabric protection is an important part of maintaining and extending the life of your carpets and upholstery. In this guide we will answer many of the questions you and your clients might be asking, like...
• How does a fabric protector work?
• When should I protect my carpets and upholstery?
• What will a fabric protector do for my carpets and upholstery?
• How will a fibre protector benefit my family or clients?
• When can a fabric protector be used?
• Why should professionals offer fabric protection services?
• How much can you earn by applying fabric protectors?
• How to sell the service of fabric protection?
• What about warranties?
and the big question... how to use a fabric protector?
3. How does a fabric protector work?
When applied correctly, a fabric protector does two basic things...
a. Increases Surface Tension
That means that any liquid spilt on a fibre will have difficulty penetrating the surface of the fibre. When spills can not penetrate the fibre, clean up becomes easier and staining is avoided.
b. Provides a Coating Mechanism
A fabric protector's fluorochemical polymer stain shield penetrates and coats the fibre. The strength of bonding and length of protection may vary from product to product. Correct application is important to ensure the entire fibre, from the top to the bottom, has been treated in order to deliver the maximum benefits.
Regardless of warranties or marketing claims, no fibre protector is 100% bulletproof. If spills are not cleaned up immediately or at least within a reasonable time frame, stubborn stains may occur.
4. When should carpets and upholstery be protected with a fabric protector?
The very best time to have a carpet and upholstery protector applied is directly after cleaning by a professional carpet cleaning technician or directly after purchasing new carpet, rugs or upholstery.
Some carpets have a protector applied when they are manufactured. This protective coating may be worn away with foot traffic, abrasive soils, wear & tear or even just regular cleaning. If this is the case a full protection service can be applied or alternatively a top up application can be applied in the high traffic areas.
It is recommended to use Fibre Guard after every second cleaning for the best protection.
5. What are the benefits of using a fabric protector on carpets and upholstery?
Fibres last longer
Fabric protectors help in releasing abrasive soils which damage fibres enabling them to be effectively vacuumed from your carpet. This means carpets and upholstery will not have to be replaced before they should. Replacing carpets is very expensive, that's why fabric protection will save you money in the long run.
Fibres stay cleaner for longer and look newer
When soils can't penetrate or bond to the fibre, your carpets and upholstery will naturally look cleaner and newer for longer.
Cleaning becomes easier
On carpets and upholstery where a fabric protector has been applied correctly, regular vacuuming can become 50%-70% more effective. This also means carpet wear is reduced significantly.
Protects against spills, stains and resoiling
Fibre protectors will give you time to clean up spills and stains before they become a problem.
Fabric protection could easily become the most profitable service you offer.
6. How will my facility, family or clients benefit from fabric protection?
Creates a healthy indoor environment
The microfilm formed by the fibre protector repels dust mites and allergens, releasing them for effective removal by regular vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Most of the popular fibre protectors will not change the feel or appearance of your carpet and upholstery, nor will they emit chemicals into the air. Many fibre protectors even claim they can help prevent dust mite infestations.
The microfilm formed on the fibre that has been protected is inert and is not a known cause of any skin or respiratory irritation to adults, children or pets.
Safe and easy to apply
It is best to choose a fabric protector like Fibre Guard that is odourless and formulated using ultra vapour technology. This will ensure no toxic vapours are emitted during the application process.
People, pet and environment friendly
Most of the popular fabric protectors used today like Fibre Guard are environmentally friendly, water based and will not harm people or pets.
7. Where can a fabric protector be used?
Fabric protection is suitable for domestic and commercial carpet, upholstery, rugs and other fibres. This includes nylon, polypropylene and wool fibres. Some popular areas where fabric protection is most used includes homes, offices, hotel rooms, nursing homes, restaurants, clubs, cinemas, conference centres, car seats and more.
In terms of fabric suitability, the basic rule is that if the fabric is “Water Cleanable” then it is safe to protect with a water based fabric protector.
Where fabrics are “Dry Clean Only” then it is usually best to use a solvent based protector. This applies to various cottons, delicate fibres, etc. If you are unsure, either do a thorough test in an inconspicuous area or don't do the job at all.
Some suppliers may not supply solvent based fabric protectors due to their hazardous nature and potential dangers for applicators and clients.
“Seeing is believing. Doing a quick demonstration is the best way to show the benefits and value of fabric protection.”
8. Why is it a good idea for cleaning and maintenance professionals to offer fabric protection services?
People want it.
Over many years, 3M and DuPont have invested millions of dollars into marketing fibre protection. Everyone knows about it and wishes they had it but rarely are they motivated to go out and get it. In many ways fabric protection is a huge sleeping market and requires a good carpet cleaning technician to ask the right questions and explain the benefits and cost savings that the application provides.
Part of a complete carpet cleaning and maintenance service.
Fibre protection is considered internationally as being an important part of a complete carpet cleaning and maintenance service. It is also an integral part of the business model highly successful carpet cleaning technicians use worldwide.
Makes happier customers.
When carpets stay cleaner for longer, look better and don't stain as easily, your clients appreciate you more. That's good for business, word of mouth and client referrals.
Attractive profit margins.
Fibre protection could easily become the most profitable service you offer. Not only that, fibre protection is not hard work and does not take much time to do properly.
Easy to demonstrate.
Seeing is believing. You can do a fibre protection demo on site. You could also have a pre-treated demo so you can show what fabric protection can do.
A fibre protection service is not hard work and does not take very long to do either.
9. How to use a water based fibre protector...
We will be basing this 'how to' section on the use of water based fabric protectors like Fibre Guard.
For information on how to use solvent based fabric protectors please follow the manufacturer's instructions.
The instructions for using fabric protectors will vary from product to product however to give you a guide the following example relates to the specific use of a water based, super concentrated fabric protector called Fibre Guard.
Always do these things...
• Test on a small inconspicuous area first to ensure suitability of this product on the surface.
• Ensure the surface has been thoroughly cleaned using the extraction cleaning method prior to application. Use a carpet rinse and softener in your solution water to be sure no chemical residue remains. Extract as much moisture as you can and try to leave the carpet as dry as possible
• Brand new carpet and upholstery may not need to be pre-cleaned before application.
• Use fresh mixed solutions only. Discard diluted/mixed solutions that are more than 24 hours old.
Understand the different dilution rates for damp or dry fibres
Fibre Guard can be applied to damp or dry, carpet and upholstery. Add water to Fibre Guard, do not add Fibre Guard to water.
• Damp Clean Fibres. Dilute at 2:1 (67% Fibre Guard / 33% Water). Apply 340ml (shorter pile) to 510ml (longer pile) per 5Mt².
• Dry Clean Fibres. Dilute at 4:1 (80% Fibre Guard / 20% Water). Apply 575ml (shorter pile) to 850ml (longer pile) per 5Mt².
How to apply a fabric protector
1. Mix the amount of Fibre Guard you require at the recommended dilution rate.
2. Spray Fibre Guard from 25cm-50cm away with smooth overlapping passes. Apply across (left/right) and then down (up/down). Overlap strokes to ensure no area is missed.
3. Wet the surface thoroughly with Fibre Guard, but do not overwet to the point of dripping.
4. Use a carpet rake/groom (for carpet) or soft brush (for upholstery) to work Fibre Guard into the surface and distribute it evenly.
5. Allow to dry before opening the area to traffic.
6. Good ventilation, air movers and air conditioners will assist in drying.
7. Clean your spraying equipment immediately after use with clean water.
High Traffic Areas
For the ultimate protection in high traffic areas. Apply one coat of Fibre Guard first to these areas before application to the entire area. This will give you added protection.
Attend to spots and spills as soon as possible. Fresh spots are significantly easier to remove. Stains that are left too long or treated with the wrong chemical can still become permanent on fibres applied with a fabric protector.
The ideal application pressure is 30-50psi. A low pressure sprayer or electric sprayer with an 8004 (80º spray angle / 04 solution flow) or similar is ideal for the application of Fibre Guard.
For ultimate results and performance, it is recommended that Fibre Guard be applied after every second clean.
If you were to clean the surface once a year, the life expectancy for Fibre Guard would be 2 years. If the surface is cleaned every 6 months, the life expectancy of Fibre Guard would be 1 year.
In high traffic areas, in particular on carpeted areas, regular vacuuming will extend the life of the protector as it is dirt and traffic that breaks down and reduce the life of protectors.
• Do not use any product before reading and understanding the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and Training Information Guide (TIG).
• Always wear personal protection equipment eg. gloves, mask (refer to SDS.)
• Always pre-test in an inconspicuous area to ensure suitability before using any product.
• Do not mix a fabric protector with any other chemicals.
• Fibre protectors do not guarantee against all staining. Good maintenance procedures must be followed and all spills and stains removed immediately for the best result. Fibre protectors are designed to make cleaning easier and offer an improved level of water and oil based stain repellency.
Fabric protection gives peace of mind and value to your clients.
10. How much can you earn by applying fabric protectors?
The best way to show you the potential earnings of fabric protection is to give you an example...
a. Carpet Fibre Protection Earnings Example.
Product Name: XO2® Fibre Guard
Job Type: Protection of damp long pile carpet after cleaning.
Product Cost: $1.29/Mt²
On Sell Price: $4-$6/Mt² (average $5/Mt²)
Coverage: 50/Mt² per 15 minutes (200Mt² per hour)
Hourly Rate: $350-$600 per Hour
Grooming: Use a carpet groomer / rake in both direction after use.
What's your cost? 5Lt Super Concentrate = $194.15 inc GST
Potential Profit? This 5Lt will cover 150Mt² of long pile damp carpet (that has just been cleaned) @ $4/Mt² = $600 - $194.15 (Cost) = $405.85 profit per 5 Litre for 45-60 minutes work.
Not bad hey?
Quick Real Life Examples...
• Lounge, Dining & Hallway Approximately 30Mt²: Under 15 minutes = $120 income
• 2 Bedroom Unit Approximately 45Mt²: 15 minutes = $180 income
• 3 Bedroom House Approximately 70Mt²: Under 25 minutes = $280 income
• 4 Bedroom House Approximately 80Mt²: Under 30 minutes = $320 income
• Offer a special discount if you clean the carpets first.
• Offer fabric protection for the high traffic or problem areas only as an option.
• If the customer has only $100 to spend, you could offer to mix up that amount of product and cover as much area as possible.
• Most technicians will charge more for protecting a new carpet that they didn't clean.
• Don't cut corners, this is very profitable for you so you can afford to be generous with your product use.
b. Upholstery Fibre Protection Earnings Example.
Product Name: XO2® Fibre Guard
Job Type: Protection of damp upholstery after cleaning.
Product Cost: $4.31 per Seating Position
Product Usage: approx. 330ml of diluted product per Seating Position (1.65Lt per 5 seater lounge)
On Sell Price: $25-$35 per seat
Coverage: 5 seater lounge in 15 minutes
Hourly Rate: $350-$500 per Hour
Grooming: Brush in both directions with a soft brush.
What's your cost? 5Lt Super Concentrate = $194.15 incl.GST
Potential Profit? This 5Lt will cover approx. 45 damp upholstery seat positions (that have just been cleaned) @ $25/Seat = $1125 - $194.15 (Cost) = $930.85 profit per 5 Litre for about 2½ hours work.
c. Sell a carpet spotter like Houdini stain remover wipes for extra profit.
On selling a good spotter is a good idea when you do fabric protection. You might even offer it as a special deal with the fabric protection service or as a condition of a warranty.
“Without a confidence and belief in the fabric protection service you offer, success is unlikely.
11. How to sell the service of fabric protection...
Believe in it... are you confident fibre protection really works?
To successfully offer fabric protection services to your clients you must believe that it works and that the benefits are real. If you don't you will not be motivated to talk to your clients about it. Before you convince your clients, you must be completely convinced yourself.
Perhaps you have experienced a poor fabric protection product, ineffective application techniques or unrealistic customer expectations. These can all cause a loss of confidence. So before you start, do your own carpets and build your belief so that you are confident when you stand in front of a client. Or perhaps only do half your carpets and then you will see the difference.
Ask questions like...
• "When was the last time you had your carpet/upholstery protected?" (This is a great question if a customer is saying there carpets are getting dirty very quickly after professional cleaning)
• "Would you allow me to demonstrate how fabric protection can make your life easier?"
• "Hey Mr Smith, Have you ever seen how fabric protection works?"
Do a demo every time
Fabric protection is commonly classed as preventative maintenance. This type of maintenance is best sold by demonstration. Showing your customer how to avoid future pain and cost is the key. As they say... "seeing is believing".
• Fabric protection demos can be done on cushions, a piece of paper, facial tissue, fabric, cardboard cards, cotton cloth strips or on many other surfaces.
• Only demonstrate the fibre protector on half the surface. That way you can show a treated and untreated result.
• You can use water, but a popular liquid to demonstrate with is red cordial.
• Practice your demo before you do it with a customer.
• Demonstrate in a cup, on a tray or somewhere you can easily clean up spills if they happen.
• Leaving the demo piece with your customer if they want to think about your service can be a good idea and a great excuse to visit again if the job is worthwhile.
Offer fabric protection to every customer
Don't be shy. You are doing your clients a favour by offering them fabric protection. It will save them money, their carpets will look cleaner for longer and they'll last longer too.
Make an offer
Give your clients a reason to buy... speak to them or use silent salesman on the kitchen bench...
• 50% off fabric protection today. See a free demo now.
• 2 for 1: Get 2 seats protected for the price of one. See a demo today.
• Carpets stay cleaner for longer with fabric protection. Like a demo?
• Give your carpets a break. Protect them and save $$$. See a 2 minute demo.
• No obligation fabric protection demo. Protect your carpet investment.
• Free carpet spotter. Value $25 with any fabric protection service over $50.
• 12 Month Fabric Protection Warranty
Bundle your services
Package your add-ons and give your clients extra savings they will love you for. Think about mattress sanitisation, upholstery cleaning, sanitisation, specialty odour control and leather cleaning services you could package together with your fabric protection services.
A warranty means nothing unless you understand the fine print. Most warranties are more about marketing than protecting the client.
12. What about warranties?
Warranties make clients more comfortable purchasing from you. By taking the risk away you will find more people will say yes to fabric protection. Of course when you read most warranties they are not worth the paper they are written on, however, you can offer your client a warranty of value and not lose out.
Manufacturers can't offer warranties unless they control the application and the way fabric protection is sold because fabric protectors are not 100% bulletproof. Being such a highly profitable service, carpet cleaning companies can quite comfortably absorb the need that might arise to revisit a job or re-apply if application was insufficient. Warranty calls are great for PR too and often times other work will come from being willing to support your clients and backup your warranty. Average call back rates are usually below 5%. Do the maths, warranties work in your favour and your clients will love it.
You can also link your warranty to a condition which requires the client to only use a stain remover that you sell for $25 or $35. It's an add on sale and you then know the client isn't using anything crazy on the fibres that will adversely affect the protection work you have done. Or your warranty might specify, that to keep your warranty valid, a regular 6 monthly clean or a yearly fabric protection top-up might be required.
Most warranties that technicians offer for fabric protection are for 12 months. Some do offer longer warranties of 2 years, 5 years and sometimes more but that's when more small print and conditions are included that tend to make a warranty worthless.
Congratulations... you have completed this training.
For more info on how you can properly protect your fabric, get in touch with us today or browse our complete range of super-effective cleaning supplies online today.