Woman finds mysterious marks on carpet

October 1, 2008 7:49:36 PM PDT
7 On Your Side unravels a mystery about strange markings that have been appearing on people's carpets.

This is one of those strange occurrences -- kind of like the crop circles that appeared in England. But these marks are showing up on carpets and no one seems to know why.

Nobody knew why, so we decided to find out.

Kathy Bolton and her family loved their new plush carpet until it developed some mysterious marks.

"All of a sudden you get this unusual patterning that looks like water marks throughout the whole house and you can't get rid of it," said Bolton.

Nothing had spilled and nothing had leaked, but it appeared like a river running through their home.

"It was a patterning throughout the house that looked as if the house had been flooded. There were dark shadows and light shadows," said Bolton.

Kathy tried vacuuming it out. It didn't help.

"There was nothing we could do to make it go away," said Bolton.

Kathy wasn't the only one. 7 On Your Side has received several reports and photos from consumers showing the same kind of strange markings on their rugs.

"The condition actually has a name to it called carpet pooling or pile reversal," said Bolton. "On one of the websites it said it was like the Bermuda Triangle, completely unexplainable."

So what causes this? We asked carpet expert Mark McGuinness of San Francisco's Interior Design Services.

"It looks like there's been a pool of water that spilled on the carpet but it really isn't a water marking it has nothing to do with water," said McGuinness.

He says it tends to happen with expensive plush carpet like Kathy's. Once you step on the carpet, the yarn bends and that sets off a domino effect.

"One piece of yarn pushes the next piece of yarn, pushes the next piece of yarn pushes the next until there's no more energy to push the yarn over," said McGuinness.

That makes the carpet look different. But Mark says it doesn't really change color, it's an optical illusion.

"It just has to do with the refraction of light or the reflection of light. You're either looking at the side of the yarn or the end of the yarn," said McGuinness.

Mark says it's nothing new and it's not because of any defect.

"That is a visual phenomenon there' s nothing wrong with the carpet," said McGuinness.

But Kathy says it looks terrible.

"It's a painful reality if you have this very expensive carpet and it looks bad," said Bolton.

Nobody can figure out how to reverse the effect either.

"It's a mystery and there's no way it can be fixed," said McGuinness.

Though it's not considered a defect, Kathy's carpet retailer, Floors Plus of Modesto, agreed to refund her money saying it wanted her to be happy with her purchase.

"I just don't know what kind of carpet to buy from now on because I'm thinking what is the right kind to buy," said Bolton.

Mark suggests testing a sample before you buy. If the rug changes color when you rub it, it might end up with that pooling effect. If it doesn't change color, it probably won't.

Still, Mark says pooling the mark of a good carpet -- deep, plush and expensive.

"This is just a phenomenon that happens and sorry that's the way it is and when it happens, you should just say look at that elegant carpet," said McGuinness.

So as it turns out, this isn't really so unlike those crop circles, which were eventually blamed on bending of wheat and barley. With carpet, it's the bending of yarn.

Related links:

  • Carpet pooling information


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