Olefin Carpet Fiber FAQ’S

Spin finish is a detergent that serves as a lubricant, placed on yarns to facilitate passage through various phases of the carpet manufacturing process. If not completely removed during scouring, spin finish may contribute oil lines or rapid soiling of the carpet.

Because Olefin has the lowest melting temperature of all fibers, spin finish and/or lubricants are applied as a coolant to keep fiber from disintegrating due to friction during manufacturing. On occasion, the spin finish does not get removed before the carpet is tufted and shipped, and the end user gets a new carpet that rapidly soils. This problem is correctable a through steam cleaning that involves specialized detergents.

There are two test methods to determine if spin finish and/or lubricants are present, ASTM D2257 and AATCC 20A. A result of more than 2 percent could indicate that the carpet is defective beyond repair. However, in most cases, the carpet is salvageable.

It is important to note some of the advantages and disadvantages of olefin.


1. It is naturally resistant to dye stains such as Kool-Aid and the stain resistance will not be diminished with cleaning and use.
2. It is chemically resistant to mild bleaching solutions. Chlorine bleach will dissolve wool and will cause color loss in nylon.
3. It dries faster than all fibers after cleaning because it is the least absorbent of water.

1. It is the least resilient of all carpet fibers. Its lack of resiliency is often confused with wear because it is an aesthetic issue. Once it is crushed, aggressive cleaning will not restore the surface pile to an upright position. Therefore, olefin’s attractiveness is often short lived unless the face yarn density is high enough to resist crushing.
2. It is lipophilic, meaning that oily soil and oily stains can be difficult to remove. This problem can be controlled with repeated applications of soil protectants such as Teflon®.
3. It often turns brown after steam cleaning due to a process called wicking. Wicking is the migration of soil to the tips of the yarns during the drying process. It is easy to correct, but it can be prevented by extra thorough pre-vacuuming prior to the extraction process.
4. Because it is the most heat sensitive of all yarns dragging heavy furniture across the carpet can cause friction burns, standing an upright vacuum with rotating beater bar on the steps can cause burns, laying or dropping a hot object such as a clothes iron or large Christmas tree lights will cause burns to the surface yarn.