Pro's Corner

What Raw Ingredients Provide Water and Oil Repellency?

One pizza company used the effective branding statement, “Better Ingredients Makes Better Pizza”. This statement holds true to making better cleaning solutions. Just like there are grades of cheese, pepperoni, sauce, etc., there are grades of raw materials used in making cleaning solutions.

The different grades of d’limonene are among the more obvious to the cleaner. Distillates, technical grade, and food grade are distinguished by the consistency of the fragrance. The odor of a poor distillate will not easily be forgotten.

The amount of the ingredient used in any formula matters. However, we need to go beyond the quality and amount of the ingredient and also find special ingredients with core performance features that improve cleaning results. It is important to properly select ingredients that highlight a core feature that creates unique cleaning solutions and provides consistent results.

Each blog in this series will focus on a different feature brought about by a distinctive raw material based on performance and not cost. We will show pictures and/or short videos that visually illustrate performance from adding this raw material that by itself is uniquely responsible for that aspect of the result. The art of the formulator is in the selection of these quality, innovative raws with features that produce reliable results for each application.

It starts and ends with the science of cleaning….

Water and Oil Repellency


Water and oil repellency is a common trait of water-based fluorochemical carpet treatments without acid dye resistors. The addition of acid dye resistors alters the surface tension and only repels at the fiber level.

All others that we have tested repel oil and water at the surface level for all carpet types. Some will work better on oil repellency than water repellency and vice versa. Recently silicones have found their way back into the industry as water repellents, but the surface tension of silicones (even with high solids) will never repel oil. In most cases, you can say that water repellants do no immediate harm, but do little good on carpet fibers as most fluorochemical protectors repel water longer.



Oil resistance 1


Oil Resistance 2


Water repellency is useful for easier removal of spills, but olefin, polyester, and triexta carpet fibers are considered inherently stain-resistant because they do not absorb liquids. Upholstery fabrics are blends of many materials, with some of them subject to staining.

Based on my experience in the industry, extreme soiling bonded to oils is the most difficult issue to effectively solve in these types of fibers. If soils bonded to oils are the primary concern, then we need to use a protector which best limits the bonding of oil to the fibers. For protecting olefin, polyester, and triexta carpet, along with upholstery fabrics, one easily can argue that oil resistance demonstrated by repellency would be the primary feature desired in this type of protector.

The following video shows how nylon carpets treated with fluorochemical protectors and one untreated respond to water and oil. You can see how quickly the water and oil penetrate the surface of the untreated fiber and are repelled by the treated fiber.

There are several fluorochemicals in our arsenal that we put into our soft surface protectors. We use one with our acid dye resistors, two for our water surface repellents (one for carpet and one for upholstery), and one for our solvent surface repellents.


Key Takeaways

  • Oil resistance is important because the oils on our skin frequently come into contact with fibers.
  • Extreme soiling bonded to oils is the most difficult issue. Use a protector to limit the bonding of oil to the fibers.
  • Pick the right protector based on what you’re trying to repel. If you have any questions, we can help.

Take your education beyond our blog

Carpet Cleaning Technician   Aramsco/ Interlink Supply Training Schedule (        (Upholstery and Fabric Technician)



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