Traffic Lane Graying
Most carpets are made of synthetic fibers such as: nylon, olefin, polyester, and some acrylic. These synthetic fibers rarely wear out (except on stairs), instead they ugly out. What we mean by that is, the fibers crush, or mat down, or flatten out. They also abrade or become scratched. You see, your carpets are made up of thousands upon thousands of very small thread-like fibers that are twisted together. These fibers are basically translucent pieces of plastic. That means that light can pass through them, like a colored Plexiglas. You know how Plexiglas looks after it gets scratched dull and dirty. Well improperly cared for carpet can
look the same. What scratches carpet is gritty soil and sand that is left in the carpet and when it is walked on it rubs against the fibers and scratches them. After so much of this scratching, you can clean the soil and sand out but the damage already done is irreversible and you get is what we call in the carpet cleaning industry ... traffic lane gray. This is where the fibers are clean, but since they are so scratched up they do not reflect the light back to the eyes and now take on a dull appearance, which is commonly mistaken for soiled
carpets. This usually happens first in the heavily walked on areas or traffic lanes.