More mills offering odor eaters, bacteria killers

Home Categories Carpet More mills offering odor eaters, bacteria killers

Some years back, a survey done by Better Homes and Gardens found consumers would be willing to pay more for carpet that has built-in odor protection. As a matter of fact, the report showed built-in odor protection for broadloom was an important enough feature that 47% of those polled said they would pay slightly more for it.

More recently, carpet mills have found that in addition to performance, style and color, many consumers—a large percentage of which have children and/or pets—are interested in a product that helps keep itself clean. Soft fibers, attractive patterns and different textures may be nice, but some end users are looking for more.

One company that leads the way in this arena is Beaulieu of America. At the forefront of odor-eating, bacteria-beating innovation, the mill introduced its Magic Fresh odor reducing carpet treatment in 2004, saying it was the first and so far the only mill to build in an odor-reducing treatment into select carpet styles. Beaulieu estimates that since its introduction, it has sold enough Magic Fresh-treated carpet to circle the globe.

In its Bliss residential line, introduced in 2008, Beaulieu made Magic Fresh and Silver Release antimicrobial technology key components of its successful Healthy Home collection. This year, the company launched an exclusive Magic Fresh Collection as well as a super-soft HealthyTouch collection incorporating the odor-reducing feature. Both collections are showcased in a new display complete with a built-in Magic Fresh tester area so customers can smell for themselves the effectiveness of the feature.

“A clean-smelling home is important to her,” stated Patricia Flavin, senior vice president of marketing. “Several billion dollars are spent each year on air fresheners, deodorizers and scented candles. Our Magic Fresh-treated carpet takes care of that.”

The all-natural Magic Fresh formula is applied to the carpet during the manufacturing process and lasts for the life of the carpet, she noted. As odor molecules settle out of the air from pets, cooking or smoking, Magic Fresh breaks them down into harmless, odorless carbon dioxide. The whole process requires nothing on the part of the home- owner.

Beaulieu executives noted the popularity of its Magic Fresh continues to grow.

“With property managers of apartment communities, we have found Magic Fresh answers a real need in maintaining the desirability of rental units, particularly with pet-friendly properties,” said Jeff Meadows, executive marketing officer of Beaulieu.

Flavin added, “We receive testimonials on a regular basis about how our Magic Fresh carpet has even removed fumes in freshly painted rooms or even gasoline fumes from spilled gas cans in car trunks after a carpet sample is thrown in. It’s probably one of the most remarkable carpet features ever invented.”

When Beaulieu was developing its Bliss carpet line, extensive consumer research was conducted to learn what was important to carpet-buying consumers. A clean, fresh-feeling home was a common desire among respondents. So, it’s no surprise Beaulieu launched its Bliss Healthy Home collection with a treatment it calls Silver Release.

Silver Release is a combination of silver, zinc and/or copper ions embedded in the carpet fibers during the manufacturing process. These all-natural metallic ions “deactivate” odor and stain-causing bacteria, molds and mildews when they come in contact and the effectiveness of Silver Release continues for the life of the carpet.

The principle of Silver Release is actually centuries old, Flavin noted. Silver spoons were placed in the mouths of sick children and silver was often used to help purify water. “Today, silver ion technology has been used in a number of industries—from laundry equipment to bandages and surgical masks.” However, Beaulieu is quick to point out that Silver Release is built into the carpet to protect only the carpet from stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew and that the antimicrobial characteristics do not extend to people or animals and in no way affect or improve health.

The cushion story

For Mohawk, it’s all about the cushion. The mill uses antimicrobial treatments in its broadloom cushion, noted Dee Cooper, carpet cushion product manager, and offers products in two categories and several styles with this protection:

Category No. 1: Basic rebond—value priced cushions, which provide a good foundation for carpet. Cushions in this group meet or exceed fiber manufacturers warranty requirements. Within this category Mohawk offers a group of products called Fresh Solutions—basic rebond cushions with added features.

Fresh Advantage, Fresh Comfort and Fresh Touch cushions feature antimicrobial additives to inhibit odor causing mold, mildew and fungus.

The mill’s Fresh Defense, Fresh Shield and Fresh Protector cushions feature moisture guard film with antimicrobial additives offering protection against spills and stains, along with antimicrobial protection against mold, mildew and fungus.

Category No. 2: Premium ViscoElastic Memory foam rebond—premium cushions made from ViscoElastic memory foam and other premium urethane. These cushions offer the ultimate in soft luxurious comfort and durability, Cooper said.

’s Guardian Fresh cushions feature an antimicrobial additive to inhibit odor causing mold, mildew and fungus, which is applied directly to the cushion, and provides lasting protection.

Guardian Block cushions offer the same ViscoElastic Memory foam for comfort, plus a moisture guard layer with antimicrobial protection. The moisture guard layer prevents spills from penetrating the cushion, trapping them and making them easier to clean. The antimicrobial additives inhibit the growth of odor causing mold, mildew and fungus.

SmartCushion is the mill’s premier brand specifically engineered to enhance the feel and extend the performance of carpet. SmartCushion is made from a combination of ViscoElastic Memory foam and premium white urethane foam to produce a cushion as soft as it is durable.

All Mohawk cushion products contain 90% recycled material, she said, as well as meet Federal Housing Authority requirements and are CRI Green Label certified for air quality assurance. “All our products give retailers the opportunity to boost sales and improve margins, as consumers look for both better comfort and better protection.”

According to George Davies, Shaw’s assistant director of marketing communications, the mill’s testing conclusively demonstrated the following:

  • Nylon carpets naturally reduce odors more effectively than carpets of other fibers.
  • Nylon carpets treated with a stain/soil treatment are more effective in reducing odors than untreated nylon carpets.
  • Nylon carpets treated with the mill’s R2X technology are more effective in reducing odors than untreated carpets or carpets protected with other stain resistance treatments.

“Carpet samples were ex- posed to odor-causing elements and measured at different intervals for odor levels,” he explained. “The R2X samples performed consistently better than every other carpet sample tested, including those treated with an odor-reducing chemical additive.”

At InterfaceFLOR, while the company may not have an ‘odor eating’ innovation, it does have a patented ‘bacterial inhibitor’ it has used for many years—under the trademark Intersept—in its modular carpet tile products.

InterfaceFLOR’s Steve Arbaugh, vice president of brand alignment and experience, Interface Americas, noted several key facts about Intersept:

  • It inhibits the growth of a broad spectrum of microorganisms, such as molds, mildew and bacteria
  • Meets certification standards for the most recognized indoor environmental quality testing protocols
  • Available only from InterfaceFLOR, Intercept is registered by the EPA for use in carpeting and other products
  • Guaranteed to maintain antimicrobial preservative effectiveness for the 15-year warranted life of a properly maintained floor covering
  • Proven to be effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi, including molds and mildews that often lead to staining, odors and carpet degradation
  • Meets the requirements of the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus and California’s CHPS test protocols and showed no mold or bacterial growth when tested per the ASTM E2471 standard method
  • Low in toxicity and contains no arsenic, heavy metals, phenols or formaldehyde.

The other side of the coin

Gulistan has also extensively researched both odor-eating and bacteria-beating technologies, surveying a number of its carpet retailer partners, and have chosen to bypass odor-eating additives. “Based on that research, we’re having a tough time justifying the rationale of this sort of additive to carpet,” said Tony Prespetino, vice president of sales and marketing. “What is driving consumers purchase decisions today are real values such as performance, style, color and availability.

“Consumers have available a variety of products that give them the ability to eliminate or reduce odors by spraying the product directly on the source of the odor,” he explained. “They have shown with their purchases they desire this active control over eliminating odors. They’re not looking to a product like carpet to passively attack odors. In ordinary situations, consumers don’t believe they have a generalized odor problem in their homes. Fewer people smoke in their homes today and there are products to filter the air and reduce or eliminate smoke odors in fabrics or carpet. If there is a spill, consumers want to clean the spill and can apply odor control product directly on the area. If there is a major spill, she should get the carpet professionally cleaned.”

As for bacteria-beating technology, he noted, the mill’s carpets are completely synthetic, “hence it is tough to get any bacteria to grow. With regular cleaning and proper maintenance, bacterial growth in carpet is a non-issue.”

-Louis Iannaco

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