Wick Back

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Tony Williams

New Cleantalker
Can someone please help me, and tell me what wick back is. I hear so much about it, but I dont know what it is. I know to some of u it may sound like a stupid question, but I am new to c/c. Thank u all. :smile:

Nick Robertson-Vousden

Solution World of Clean
Hi Tony

Most people assume when a carpet is cleaned that the backing dries first, its actually the opposite, the surface dries first, which means that when you clean a heavily soiled carpet you can wash some of the soil into the carpet, as the carpet dries the soil is drawn to the surface, then the fibre dries completely once emptied (or dry) of cleaning solution just like a wick in a paraffin lamp, hence the term wicking.

Hope this helps.

Best regards Nick

Ken Harris

Actually, the surface (tips of the face fibers) actually DO dry last. That is why soil is left at the tip of each individual strand bundle to dry after nearly all the water/soil mix has been brought up from the carpet back by a process called capillary action, which occurs on the surface of each carpet strand. Natually, some water does remain trapped in the carpet backing due to the fact that the plastic back on most carpet inhibites water migration. Wool carpet on the other hand, has a jute backing to it, which holds great quantities of water compared to the amount plastic back carpets can hold, so extends the wicking time period even more. The advantage of knowing that the soil is only on the tips of the face fibers when the carpet is dry, is that it is easily removed with either a rotary pad machine for larger areas by application of an acid rinsing agent sprayed lightly, or the same agent applied lightly to a cotton towel and brushed lightly by hand for smaller areas.

Ian nichols

Cleantalk Member
Disclaimer for axeminster

I have an axminster carpet to clean tomorrow along with a soot coated carpet. the thing is i have never cleaned an axminster before. i am not sure what the pile is as yet as i have not done the burn test. I do know that you must not over wet them as this could cause shrinkage. The question i have is do any of you chaps get the customer to sign a disclaimer to the fact that it could shrink. I will proceed if colours do not bleed and be very careful with the water and i will be extra careful if it is polypropolene pile.


Matthew Jones

Cleantalk Member
Hi ian,
I did my first axminster carpet about a month ago and was abit worried for the same reasons as you. But all was fine, make sure the pile is wool though, don't know if i would risk cleaning a wooven carpet with hwe if the pile was synthetic not worth the risk in my opinion but wool holds alot of water so not much should get to the backing. I did have a brown pants moment though quite funny really, but wasn't at the time. I started cleaning this nice ladies axminster carpet all was going well i was keeping a close eye on things and trying not to wet it to much, as this room was a very wide lounge the carpet was fitted in 2 sections and joined obviously i did not know this till i started clean this joined area. Few moments later i could see what looked like the carpet trying to tear itself in half i thought what the hell is going on here stopped cleaning immediatly grabbed my terry towels and air blowing and was trying to try this area as quick as poss. panick was setting in at this stage, i really didn't know what to do. Anyway with all this going on the customer keeped popping in to see how it was going, i was like yeah everything is fine. In the end i confesed to her that i might of ruined her carpet and she said "what do you mean" I told her to come and have a look she said if thats what your worried about then don't let that stop you, that is where the carpet fitters had to join it together, god was i relieved lol. Then she said if you think that is bad come and have a look in the hallway (same problem there but worst, fitters had done a crap job) anyway finished off the job and customer was delighted.

John Bolton

Cleantalker Veteran
In case there is any confusion by an apparent discrepancy between two of the answers above ........

In the late stage of drying, after the wand has made its last pass, the remaining water leaves the carpet by way of evaporation. This occurs from the upper level of the carpet.

As the pile becomes drier it 'wicks' any excess water up from lower levels of the carpet. For this reason a carpet that is wet though its structure will, at this stage, be drier at the top than it is at the bottom.

This process continues to a point where the lower part of the pile might be considered to be dry and the remaining mobile moisture has wicked up to the pile tip. So, though through much of the evaporative drying process the carpet can be wetter at lower levels at the very last stage the wettest part of the pile will be the upper tip. (Though the lowest level of the carpet may still be the wettest part of the whole carpet/pad structure).

The extent to which this occurs will vary with the carpet structure and composition and the amount of water left behind by the cleaning process.

Steve Poole

What's copyright symbol appearing on your signature?? Is that do with people copying and pasting between forums.?


See - I read every last symbol / word / letter :wink:

John Bolton

Cleantalker Veteran

You guessed it - I am fed up with reading my posts under other names. The fact that someone posts on a forum does not mean that they have any less rights than the author of a novel. It is generally accepted that the cross-quoting of posts within the same 'publication' (Bulletin Board) is an acceptable practice provided that the reader also has access to the orriginal. Quoting between publications without prior consent is another matter entirely.

Derek Bolton

Cleantalk Member
Someone did mention that as the Axminster carpet in question was Wool rich it was alright to put down plenty of water.

A traditional axminster carpet is a woven carpet whereby the tufts are in direct contact with the primary backing, often jute...putting down plenty of water can cause shrinkage.

Fortunately with the powerful modern machines shrinkage is far less common these days but it does happen...care still needs to be taken
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