I walked into a home. Their carpet took my breath away but not in a good way. I do carpet cleaning in Portland, Oregon. My job brings me into contact with a good many carpets. I’ve seen some bad ones, but this one made even my head ache and shake a little. The customer, a new one, started off with a statement of the obvious.

“The carpet’s pretty bad huh.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty bad.” I looked at the discoloration from bleach or oxy cleaners in nearly every square foot. What had happened here?

“I just bought this place—got a good price, but the carpet is awful. Do you think that I could dye it or something. I can’t replace it right now.”

I occasionally get questions about carpet dyeing. Should I dye my carpet? Will it cover stains? Will dying help me avoid the cost of replacing my carpet? Carpet dyeing is special science. I wouldn’t recommend that you do it yourself. You’ll probably end up with a mess. Don’t believe me? I would like you to take a look at an article about color in carpet entitled the History of Color Systems. 

This erudite and complex article explains the history of color through the centuries and shows how our knowledge of color affects an industry like the carpet industry. Many different disciplines of science have weighed in on the color question including astronomers, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, and psychologists, and that’s on top of artists and leaders in industry.

Looking at our grade school watercolor box, it doesn’t seem that complex does it? But color has many facets which we continue to discover. Historians trace discussions and research about color clear back to 1611 in Finland where astronomer, Aron Forsius, developed the first color circle. Since that time industry and artists have depended on a number of variations of the basic color wheel.

However, color is far more complex than a half dozen colors on a circle. Chemists have known for a number of years that we can identify compounds by the color they display when burnt. They developed color charts that correspond to the elements within a mixture. Color plays a role in astronomy. Bodies in space display colors. Physicists can break white light into its components with a simple prism which means that we can describe color by wavelength and math.

Color theory is interesting and valuable but industry which includes aftermarket carpet dyers needs more than theory to make a carpet look good. They need practical ways to view, manufacturer, mix, and match color. Through the years we have discovered some commonality within the sciences. We know that the way we make color and view color makes a difference in the way color appears to the eyes.

Carpet dyers break color into three categories; (1) opaque color or solid color (2) transparent color—the domain of dyes (3) and light color—the color in which you view your carpet. All three categories of color come into play when dyeing a carpet. The carpet industry has developed a new age color wheel that incorporates all three types of light to create thousands of color combinations.

Bottom line: Throwing dye on a carpet will not necessarily make it look better or remove stains. You need technology on your side.

Hope this information is helpful. Until next time….Sean!