What Is Stainmaster?
Stainmaster by Dupont and 3M’s Scotchguard are two of the most popular types of stain protection applied to carpet today. While both provide protection from spills and stains, the difference between the two products is significant. One of the main differences being that some types of Scotchguard must be re-applied to carpet after steam cleaning while Stainmaster will remain for the carpet’s life without further applications.
When color is applied to carpet in the form of color dyes, it is absorbed into the actual carpet fibers through minuscule areas within the fibers called “dye sites.” These dye sites are essentially microscopic areas containing positive charges which allow negatively charged acid based dyes to “stick” to the carpet fibers. When the negatively charged dye sticks to a positively charged “dye site” the charge is neutralized which stops the fibers from accepting further dyes. This is the process through which carpet is given its wide range of colors today.
Unfortunately, even after applying color dyes to carpet there are still “dye sites” within the carpet that have not been neutralized which allows the carpet to accept further staining. This is how carpet becomes stained from spills. When you spill something acidic like Gator Aide onto a carpet, negatively charged acid from the drink can bond with an “open” dye site leading to a glaring stain on your nice new carpet.
This is where DuPont Stainmaster comes into play. Stainmaster is a clear coating which when applied after color dyeing, neutralizes any remaining “dye sites” within a carpet. By neutralizing the “dye sites” further color staining is prohibited from taking place. While not perfect as no carpet is truly stain proof, this coating greatly reduces the chance of permanent stains taking hold.
One significant benefit of having DuPont Stainmaster applied to your carpet is that it does not need to be re-applied after steam cleaning. Scotchguard on the other hand is a surface treatment that does need to be re-applied occasionally after steam cleaning (some forms of Scotchguard will last 10 years before needing to be re-applied). Scotchguard is more like car wax in that it is not a permanent application. Like car wax, Scotchguard keeps a substance upon the surface, giving you time to remove it before it sets into a stain.
To summarize, Scotchguard is more of a surface barrier that keeps a stain from entering a carpet’s fibers. Scotchguard must be re-applied occasionally after a carpet is steam cleaned. Stainmaster on the other hand is a deep fiber treatment that remains with the carpet for its lifespan. It affects the carpet at the molecular level in essence “sealing” the carpet from stains. If you can afford it, we highly recommend that you purchase a carpet with Stainmaster.