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Slow Drying Carpets – Your Customer’s #1 Concern…

Water Based Protectors Make This a Huge Problem For Carpet Cleaners

Now, There Is An Answer : Soil-Blocker Protector

As with many things in our industry, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about Fabric Protection.  What It is.  What It Really Should Do.  And, The Basic Differences In Products. 

Throughout this discussion, I will be making numerous references to the similarity between fabric protection, and the use of floor finishes, or waxes as they are commonly called. 

(A brief side note: floor finish and fabric protector shares the same chemistry when you are talking about Polymers.  Polymers simply are the links that make the protection bond together – AND – with the surface being coated.  72 hour cure time for polymers – floor finish or fabric protector.)

What Is Fabric Protection? 

Fabric protection is the act of applying a product to any fabric to make it resistant to many things, but mainly water, oil, and soil. 

Individual fabric protectors may work in one, two, or all of these areas.  For instance, Silicone based protectors’ work extremely well for water resistance, but poorly for oil or soil resistance. 

That’s why silicones are generally used for water repellency.  They are less expensive in price because they are not as complex in nature, and do not offer the range of protection. 

The major complaint with Silicones is that they may cause “yellowing” of the carpet over an extended time frame, and/or become sticky.

Coating or Penetrating?

Another major difference in fabric protectors is whether in their application they are coating the fiber, or penetrating into the fiber and literally becoming a part of the fiber. 

Rather than get into a VERY technical mode, let’s simply say that the “carrier” used to take the active ingredient to the fiber generally makes the difference here. 

Water-based protectors generally are coaters of the fabric.  Solvent-based protectors are generally penetrators of the fabric.

Percentage of Solids

The carrying agent (water or solvent) also plays a part in how much “solid” content the individual formula can carry.  “Solids” are the part left on the fabric to perform the protecting AFTER the carrying agent has evaporated away. 

Solvent-based carriers are almost always able to “carry” more solids that water based carriers.  And in so doing, are generally considered to be a superior protector. 

A comparison to floor finish is appropriate at this point. 

Most of you who have used floor finishes know that the higher the “solids” content (i.e. 24%) the fewer number of coats that you will have to put on the floor tile to get the best protection.  In many cases 2 coats of a “high solids” floor finish will accomplish the same as 3 costs of a “low solids” finish, even if they are the same product. 

The same holds true for fabric protectors.  The higher the “solid” content, the less product you have to put on a designated area.  This is extremely important in the case of water based products where by having to apply an appropriate amount of protective coverage, you may re-wet the carpet more so than when you cleaned it in the first place. 

So if we can make a protector with a higher solids – that is still easily applied – YOU will get more coverage with less total product as long as the product maintains its concentration (i.e. is NOT diluted). 

But, you say, I can get 5 Gallons of protector out of 1 Gallon of concentrate – and so I am not paying as much as for a ready-to-use (RTU) formula. 

Not necessarily true…

Remember, in our discussion of solids, we said that you got better coverage with high solids – AS LONG AS IT WASN’T DILUTED. 


What I’m saying here is that a diluted product will not “lay down” as much solids as a concentrate will – so you will have to actually use MORE diluted product to correctly protect a given square foot area.  And that area is always less than you could cover with a higher concentrated (more solids) product.

This can be true, even with the exact same product.  Gleam and Shine floor finish comes in 3 solids concentrations of 16%, 20%, and 24%.  It takes 4 applications of 16% to coat a floor, 3 coats of 20%, or 2 coats of 24% to coat 1000 SF.

So, your COST has to become the COST of the total coverage of ALL the dilutions – the coverage of the dilutions being LESS than the coverage ability of a concentrate – AND subject to the percentage of solids.

We have found a unique, new formula of fluorochemical fabric protection, Soil-Blocker, which is a RTU high solids, and flows on easily and freely. 

Soil-Blocker costs you only 1.3 cents per square foot applied – YET gives you the protection equal to – or better than our competitors. 

 The manufacturers of our fluorochemicals are NOT DuPont™ or 3M™, and for that we are grateful. 


About Fluorochemicals

Fluorochemical formulated protectors are easily the product of choice for most carpet technicians.  However, there is a great deal of misinformation regarding fluorochemicals that I need to bring to your attention.  Not with the actual fluorochemicals themselves, but the production of fluorochemicals. 

For some reason, there is a wrong belief that DuPont and 3M are the ONLY companies who make fluorochemicals for fabric application. 

I don’t know where this has come from.  It is totally and completely wrong! 

The actual facts are that fluorochemicals are manufactured by dozens of different companies worldwide.  One of the largest of these companies is located in Great Britain. 

And, to further set the record straight, there is GOOD reason to believe that even the “Big Guys” may not be producing and packaging their own private labeled products. 

The company that we do business with is one of the leading producers of new technology fluorochemical protection.  The reason that they occupy this position is because they are a small company – and they have to do better than the “Big Guys” in order to sell their products. 

They are one of the leading manufacturers of fluorochemical protection for new carpet production, and we are extremely pleased that they are doing business with us. 

The point that I am trying to make here is that to think that Teflon™ and Scotchguard™ are superior products because of who makes them – is flawed thinking.  The actual production of quality fluorochemicals is done by many different companies – not just these two alone.

Concentrates & Dilutions

While we are on the path of misconceptions, there is another one, which needs to be addressed.  And that is: “a concentrate is a better and less expensive product to use”. 

First, the better, or quality issue…

The facts are that in its original state, the concentrated product is fine.  However, as you allow this concentrate to go into many different hands – here is what happens:

·        Everyone’s water is different.

·        Everyone measures differently or doesn’t measure at all.

·        There is NO control by the manufacturer as to HOW the product is prepared for application.

As manufacturers, we believe that it is important for us to control the quality of our product until the very last moment. 

The water used when mixing concentrated fabric protector should be the same – even when being used in multiple geographic locations. 

We use a special refined water to make absolutely certain that the water itself does not become a negative factor in the performance of the protector. 

This way, EVERY customer receives the optimum chemical possible – in the purest form that we as manufacturers can provide. 

Also by providing you a RTU product, there is NO MIXING, which is the second potential problem area when using concentrates. 

Everyone does it differently! 

There is no way that a concerned manufacturer can be pleased with the way their product is mishandled in the mixing process.  This is just one more way for the functioning of the product to be impaired. 

Most concentrates, when diluted DO NOT have big square foot coverage – or can they.  You have to apply far more product to a given area than you do with a concentrate.  So you end up back at the original problem – re-wetting the carpet – and from the customer’s point of view – slow drying carpet.

I can’t end this discussion without showing you in graph form the differences in quantity of water put back on the carpet during application.  And, the difference of comparable costs when the cost is the actual use cost of the applied products. 

First let’s look at how much water you will put back on the carpet when you apply any of these products.

Scotchguard™ Stain Release     5.0 Gal Water / 1000 SF

3M™ Carpet Protector                6.8 Gal Water / 1000 SF

Teflon™ MF Concentrate            2.5 Gal Water / 1000 SF

ProChem Four Guard™              2.5 Gal Water / 1000 SF

Matrix™ (Jon-Don)                     3.0 Gal Water / 1000 SF

Soil-Blocker              0.67 Gal Water / 1000 SF

Next, let’s take a look at cost per square foot of individual protectors WHEN applied according to manufacturer’s directions.

Scotchguard™ Stain Release                 6.7¢ SF

3M™ Carpet Protector                            3.2¢ SF

Teflon™ MF Concentrate                        2.8¢ SF

ProChem Four Guard™                          1.4¢ SF

Matrix™ (Jon-Don)                                 2.2¢ SF

Soil-Blocker              Now     1¢ SF

Is it any wonder that Hard Ball Chemical Company is proud of their product? 

Once again, we are doing our very best to bring to you – the customer – outstanding performing products – at a fair price. 

And, we’re always attempting to keep you from having the problem in the first place – rather than having to help you solve it after it happens. 

There is NO reason for this mis-information to be going on in our industry – considering the technological age that we live in.

And for anyone to tell you otherwise…

President Harry Truman was a feisty man with a very large ego.  He loved to give speeches.  One day, he was on an Indian reservation and asked to give a speech. 

The Indian Chiefs agreed, and Truman started in.  He proceeded to tell the gathered Indians that he understood their problems better than anyone, and that HE had some great things to offer them – as President.

I’ll get you all of your land back!

I’ll have all of you riding new ponies!

I’ll get you into houses instead of teepees!

I’ll see that you have electricity!

I’ll see that you have running water!

And on and on…

As Truman spoke, the Indians began to punctuate each of his points by shouting “WAHOO” “WAHOO”.

The more they shouted, the more things Truman promised to them. 

Finally he was finished. 

The assembled Chiefs asked him if he would like to tour their grounds. 

Truman readily agreed, and off they went. 

As they passed through the cattle and the horse barns, the head Chief warned President Truman to be careful and not step in the “WAHOO”. 

Our industry is full of B.S.  Be careful and don’t step in it!

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