Why is My Carpet Rippled After It’s Been Cleaned?

A very common concern many people have after their carpet has been cleaned is a “rippled” effect, where the carpet has wrinkles and appears to be looser than it was before the cleaning.  A customer sees this and panics, and calls the carpet cleaning company they hired to report that their carpet has been stretched out! Rest assured, this is not the case, and this effect has nothing to do with the cleaning itself.  See below for information regarding why your carpet is doing this and what you can do to prevent it.

Why is My Carpet Rippled.
Rippled carpet.

The issues that led to this “stretched” carpet appearance started long before you had your carpets cleaned, unfortunately.  The most likely culprit is improper installation of the carpet in the first place.  If a carpet is not stretched properly using a stretching machine, it will be loose. This matters because when your carpets are cleaned, the fibers absorb moisture and become enlarged.  An already too-big carpet will start to sag as a result, and appear stretched out.  The good news is, if this is the issue your carpet will go back to its normal look after the carpet dries and the moisture causing enlarged fibers is gone.  However, take this as a sign that you may need your carpet properly stretched and re-installed, as the more often it happens the looser it will become.

Improperly installed carpet can also increase the likelihood of damage to your carpet itself; a loose carpet’s backing is more likely to pull away, and rolling or dragging heavy items (think office chairs) across it will contribute to structural weakness between the layers themselves. 

All this to say, since this situation is always a possibility, be extra certain that you have hired a reputable company to clean your carpets.  Poorly trained technicians who over-wet the carpet and do not extract excess moisture from it properly increase the likelihood that the resulting ripples will be larger, and may not disappear completely when the carpet eventually dries. This will lead to the need for professional re-stretching sooner than you may have hoped.

Why is My Carpet Rippled. Carpet being stretched.

A professional carpet cleaner should be able to see signs of an improperly installed carpet before they begin to clean it, allowing them to take precautions not to damage it or make the problem worse. At the very least, they can let the customer know what to expect and avoid those panicked phone calls mentioned earlier.

Why is My Carpet Rippled. Carpet being cleaned.

At AmSteam, we employ technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).  You can therefore be confident that when you hire AmSteam, any loose carpeting or installation issues will be recognized and communicated to you, and precautions will be taken not to make the situation worse.  To find out more or to book an appointment you can visit our website.  

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