Why does my carpet/rug look water stained?

Michael Mckenzie
November 3, 2023
5 mins read
Social Media
Why does my carpet/rug look water stained?

Does your carpet look like it is water stained, but you haven't had a spill or a leak? The reason may not be what you think, it may be Pile Reversal, also known as Shading or Pooling. Pile reversal is a phenomenon that can occur in any cut pile carpet. Although carpet manufacturers have invested serious amounts in research, the true cause is an unknown.

A cut pile carpet that has shading will show areas that are lighter or darker than the surrounding carpet, depending on which direction you view the carpet from. This variation is caused by the reflection of light from pile tufts which come to lay in different directions in different areas.

Think of it like this, when you mow your lawn with the lines by cutting in opposite directions, the grass looks darker and lighter. However, the grass is the same colour, just lying in a different direction.

What is known about Permanent Pile Reversal?

Despite extensive research, the effects of pile reversal are not predictable.

However, what experts believe about Permanent Pile Reversal is that:

  • It can occur in any cut pile carpet (or rug) including hand-knotted, tufted and woven.
  • All carpet fibre types can be affected (e.g. nylon, wool, acrylic, polyester, polypropylene, and their blends)
  • Pile reversal will not lead to premature wear of the carpet.
  • It has not been linked to installation methods.

Can pile reversal be fixed?

Unfortunately, pile reversal is permanent. However, it has no adverse effect on the carpet and the carpet will perform and last just as long as one without pile reversal. The only downside is the appearance, fortunately not too dissimilar to general wear and tear.

Michael Mckenzie
Owner, Paramount Cleaning Company
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.