My Carpet Is Turning Yellow!

My Carpet Is Turning Yellow!

Phenolic yellowing… Does this sound familiar to you? Probably not. Well, if you initially thought that this is some weird and rare disease that will turn your skin into a horrid, disgusting yellowish colour, you are not really that far off. Discarding the part that it is some rare human disease, it is indeed a weird phenomenon that turns something into a yellowish shade of colour – but not your skin, it’s your carpets!

My Carpet Is Turning Yellow!So, what is it?

Phenolic yellowing is that strange occurrence that commonly happens beneath your carpets (or rugs). They start to accumulate particles that turn their natural colour into a yellowish hue. A more technical definition of its cause is that these chemical compounds called phenols – compounds that exist on different textiles, collide with the nitrogen oxides present in alkaline materials, which then trigger a chemical reaction producing that yellowing you see beneath your carpet.

A simple explanation is that this happens when there is a chemical reaction between phenols used during the manufacturing of your carpet and the carpet fibres. When your carpet is covered by rug or furniture, the phenols could not “breathe” and they get trapped beneath the fibres causing a yellowish shade to appear on your carpet.

Can this be treated?

Sadly, no. It is permanent. But there are things that you can do to prevent your carpet from yellowing.

How can this be prevented from happening?

  • When shopping for carpets, ask the retailer if a preservative like “butylhydroxytoluene” (BHT) was used during the creation of the carpet. If the answer is yes, then be aware that the carpet is prone to yellowing.
  • Move large furniture, area rugs or mats to check for signs of yellowing. Consider placing them in another location when you start seeing shades of yellow on the carpet. Remember, lack of ventilation is a huge factor in yellowing.
  • When you begin to see slight shades of yellowing on your carpet or suspect any problem, it is best to call a professional so they can be treated right away to prevent further damage. Our team of professionals has expertise in residential carpet cleaning and can assure you of a spotless and clean carpet!


CC Image Courtesy of Paul Lim on Flickr