Abrasion – the wearing a way of a solid surface film by friction.

Absorbency – the ability of one material to take up another material.

Accelerant – A chemical used to speed up chemical or other processes. Accelerants are used in dyeing triacetate and polyester fabrics.

Adhesion – Molecular attraction that holds the surfaces of two substances in contact. The force that holds different materials together at their interface and resist separation into two layers.

Aesthetics – In textiles, properties perceived by touch and sight, such as the hand, color, luster, drape and texture of fabrics and garments.


1. Deterioration of textile or other materials caused by gradual oxidation during storage and/or exposure to light.
2. The oxidation stage of pulp.
3. Originally, a process in which printed fabric was exposed to a hot, fabric in moist steam in the absence of air. Aging is also used for the development of certain colors in dyeing, e.g., aniline black.

Back Stamping – Printing a trade name on the back side of carpet to identify it.

Backing (primary) – In tufting, a woven or nonwoven fabric into which the pile yarn is inserted by the tufting needles. Usually woven or nonwoven polypropylene or woven jute for carpet and often cotton duct for scatter rugs.

Backing (secondary) – Fabric laminated to the back of carpet to reinforce and increase dimensional stability. Usually woven jute or nonwoven polypropylene.

Basic Dyes – A class of positive ion carrying dyes known for their brilliant hues. Basic dyes are composed of large molecule, water soluble salts that have a direct affinity for wool and silk and can be applied to cotton with a mordant. The fastness of basic dyes on these fibers is very poor. Basic dyes are also used on basic-dyeable acrylics, modacrylics, nylons, and polyesters, on which they exhibit reasonably good fastness.

Binding Yarn – Cotton or rayon yarn running lengthwise of the woven fabric, used “to bind” the pile tufts firmly; often called “crimp warp” or “binder warp”.

Bleeding – Removal of color from carpet or other fabrics by a liquid, usually water, and subsequent staining of areas adjacent to the wet area, or of other materials in contact with the wet area.

Broadloom – Any carpet material over 72 inches wide is referred to as a broadloom. The term does not define any particular quality, construction or style.

Burn testing – A method used to identify fibers by observing the resulting flame (color, action, and smoke), odor and ask (color, shape, and hardness). Burn testing may not always be sufficiently accurate for conclusive determination for fiber content.

Carpet backing – A primary backing through which the carpet tufts are inserted is always required for tufted carpets. The backing is usually made of woven jute or nonwoven manufactured fiber fabrics. A secondary backing made of jute or manufactured fibers, is normally added at the latex back coating stage. Carpet backings are an important end use for nonwoven fabrics.

Carpet underlay – A separate fabric which is used to provide cushioning for carpet. Carpet underlay’s are made of hair and jute, sponge rubber, bonded urethane, or foamed urethane.

Chenille – A pile fabric made by sewing rows of surface yarns in a fur or caterpillar form through strong, plain woven cotton backing.

Continuous Dyeing – The process of dyeing carpet on a production line, rather than piece dyeing separate lots. Most often done on continuous dyeing equipment which flows on dyestuffs, as distinguished from submerging carpet in separate dye becks.

Cotton Count – The numbering system based on length and weight, originally used for cotton yarns and now employed for most staple yarns. It is based on a unit length of 840 yard skeins required to weigh one pound. Under this system, the higher the cotton count number, the finer the yarn.

Cut loop carpet – Carpet containing both cut pile and loop pile.

Cut Pile – A carpet pile texture in which the face is composed of cut ends of pile yarn. A fabric, the face of which is composed of cut ends of pile yarn.

Color Matching – The proper co-ordination of color hues and shade dept. Critical to color matching are: the light under which colors are compared; the surface texture of the object being matched (cut pile appears darker than loop pile), and the surface luster of the object being matched (high luster looks lighter than low luster).

Color, Primary and Complementary – Primary colors are the principal colors that make up “white” light. Complementary colors are colors that when combined, produce a neutral color or whitish gray as when orange and blue are combined or mixed. (Primary colors: red, blue, and yellow).

Deep Dyeing Variants – Polymers that have been chemically modified to increase their dyeability. Fibers and fabrics made therefrom can be dyed to a very heavy dept.

Delustered Fibers – Synthetic fibers in which brightness or reflectivity is reduced, usually by incorporation of a fraction of a percent of white pigment such as titanium dioxide. Fiber producers’ designations include dull, semi-dull and semi-bright, whereas right fibers are non-delustered.

Density – The weight of pile yarn in a unit volume of carpet. U.S. government FHA density (D), expressed in ounces per cubic yard, is given by the formula:
D = W x 36 divided by T; in which D is Density, W is pile yarn weight in ounces per square yard, and T is pile thickness or height in inches.

Dyes – Substances that add color to textiles. They are incorporated into the fiber by chemical reaction, absorption, or dispersion. Dyes differ in their resistance to sunlight, perspiration, washing, gas, alkalies, and other agents; their affinity for different fibers; their reaction to cleaning agents and methods and their solubility and method of application.

Embossed – 1. A pattern formed when thick, twisted yarns are used on a ground of lower, lighter yarns to create an engraved appearance. Both yarns are usually the same color.
2. In carpet, the type of pattern formed when heavy twisted tufts are used in a ground of straight yarns to create an engraved appearance. Both the straight and twisted yarns are often of the same color.

Embossed Carpet – Patterns using high and low pile. Usually a Wilton weave in which the high pile is cut and the low is loop. In Axminster carpet the effect is obtained by using a pull down yarn that shrinks to a lower level with steam.

Face to Face Carpet – Pile carpet made on a loom or bonding unit which produces simultaneously, face to face, two backings, or substrates joined by the pile yarn. Two cut pile carpets are made by cutting the pile yarns between two backings.

Felt/Felted – An inexpensive rug, usually woven in plain colors (or stenciled or printed), in plain flat weaves and felted.

Fiber Rugs – Rugs made of specially prepared paper yarns in combination with cotton and wool yarn. Fiber rugs are reversible, come in plain or twill weaves, and are often sized.

Freize Yarn – 1.Velvety pile carpet composed of short fibers embedded on an adhesive coated backing.
2. A hard twisted yarn used in plain fabrics to effect a rough, knotty, textured appearance in the surface pile.

Grass – Rugs made of certain long jointless grasses, twisted with cotton threads into yarns. Grass rugs are usually reversible and come in plain weave and color.

Grass Carpet – A styling term used to describe pile designs made of cut pile, slit film, yarns that simulate grass.

Ground Color – The background color against which the top colors create the pattern or figure in the design.

Heavy Traffic – A term used to describe commercial environments where directional, non-directional, some rolling traffic, tracked in dirt, and spills occur at a consistently high level. Heavy traffic is greater than 800,000 walk-ons, up to 2,000,000 total traffics, for the life of the carpet.

High Low – Multilevel carpet style combining high-loop and low-loop pile areas or high-cut pile and low-loop areas. The latter is also called a cut and loop style.

High Low Pile – A pile construction characterized by the presence of two or more pile heights, sometimes combining looped or cut surface yarns.

High PH Finish – A finish, basic in nature rather than acid or neutral, that is applied to yarn or fiber.

Ingrain Carpet – A double faced pileless carpet using colored filling yarns to make the design. The fabric is reversible and the designs and colors on the face and back will also be in reverse positions. This type was also call Scotch or Kidderminster.

Installation – The technique for affixing a carpet to a flooring surface.

Jacquard – An apparatus on carpet weaving loom that produces patterns from colored yarns. The pattern information is contained on perforated cards. The holes in the cards activate the mechanism that selects the color to be raised to the pile surface. Wilton looms have jacquard pattern devices.

Jute Backing – A natural fiber derived from a plant in the Far East that is spun into yarn. It is used as the backing yarn for many woven carpets and woven into a backing fabric for tufted carpets. its use in tufted carpeting has rapidly diminished in recent years.

Knitting – A method of fabricating a carpet in one operation, as in weaving. Surface and backing yarns are looped together with a stitching yarn on machines with three sets of needles.

Loop Pile – Carpet style having a pile surface consisting of uncut loops. May be woven or tufted. Also called “round wire” in woven carpet terminology.

Looped Pile – Pile surface in which looped yarns are left uncut. In woven carpets, sometimes referred to as “round wire”.

Matting – Severe pile crush combined with entanglement of fibers and tufts.

Mohair – Natural. From angora goats.

Needlepunching – Layers or batts of loose fiber are needled into a core, or scrim, fabric to form a felted or flat textured material. A needlepunched fabric can be embossed, printed, laminated to a cushion, or otherwise finished.

Non-Woven – A fabric made up of a web of fibers held together by a chemical or fibrous bonding agent.

Open-End Spinning – The production of yarns directly from sliver or roving by opening the sliver or roving and then reassembling it in a spinning element to form the yarn in a single continuous operation.

Padding – Also called cushion, underlay, or lining. Separate material serving as a cushion under a carpet or rug.

Pattern – Artistic decorative design on the surface of carpet. It may be printed, woven or tufted with colored yarns, or sculptured in multiple pile heights.

Pile – The upright ends of yarn, whether cut or looped, that form the wearing surface of carpets or rugs.

Post Dyeing Methods (Batch Dyeing) – In batch dyeing in becks, the carpet is moved in and out of the dye bath by a motorized reel, usually in “rope” form. Pumps circulate the dye liquor. The two processes provide maximum color uniformity, or “level dyeing” in dyer’s jargon. Rinsing and drying follows.

Quarter Turn – Turning the carpet pile pile direction 90 degrees, and usually joining at a carpet seam. While this practice is acceptable on stairs, a color difference will develop at flat seams.

Resilience – The ability of a carpet fabric or padding to spring back to its original shape or thickness after being crushed or walked upon.

Runner – A textile or hard surface flooring material used along the length and width of a traffic area to prevent carpet soiling. Runners are typically found in hallways, entry ways, stairways, and outside of a building to limit soil from penetrating the structure.

Self-Tone – A pattern of two or more shades of the same color. When two shades are used in a pattern or design, it is called “two-tone”.

Stitches – stitches per inch. Number of yarn tufts per running inch of a single tuft row in tufted carpet.

Stock Dyed Yarn – Colored spun yarn produced from fibers dyed in staple form.

Swatch – A small carpet sample. Carpet specifiers should retain swatches to verify color, texture, weight and other quality factors when carpet is delivered.

Tone on Tone – A carpet pattern made by using two or more shades of the same hue.

Top Colors – Colors of the yarn used to form the design, as distinguished from ground color.

Tufted Carpet – Carpet manufactured by the tufting process which comprises insertion of pile tufts by a row of eyed needles which penetrate a primary backing fabric, thus forming tufts from the yarn threaded through the eyes of the tufting needles. More than ninety percent (90%) of all carpet sold in the United states is tufted.

Unitary Backing – A heavy application of latex is applied to the back of the carpet, and a secondary scrim is not used.

Vinyl-back – A synthetic carpet back which may be applied in either a “hard” or cushioned form. Usually used in commercial applications only. This backing typically prevents moisture from penetrating through the backing to the subfloor.

Warp – In woven carpet, yarns running lengthwise.

Weaving – Surface and backing yarns are interlaced, or woven together, in one operation.

Weft – In woven carpet, yarn running crosswise between warp yarns.

Wool – Natural, animal fiber. Versatile, easy to dye, lightweight, soft, warm or cool hand, wrinkle resistant, absorbent, and luxurious.

Worsted Yarn – Made of long staple carpet fiber and combed to parallel the fiber and remove the extremely short fibers.

Woven Backing – Backing produced by a weaving process using natural fiber, such as jute, cotton, ducking or synthetic yarns.

Woven Carpet – A rug or carpet that is made by a weaving process. In woven carpet, the face and back are formed at the same time, by interweaving warp, weft, and other yarns.