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Light Fastness Explained

Light fastness is the term used to describe how resistant to fading an item is when exposed to light. Light striking a surface can alter or break the chemical bonds of the pigment, causing the colours to bleach or change, in a process known as photo degradation.

Almost every carpet or any textile will lighten in colour or fade over a period of time. The extent of damage depends on a number of factors; colour, dye method, the location, exposure and intensity of light, amongst other factors.

A solution-dyed fibre is least susceptible to sun fading. The pigment colours are added to the polymer while in its liquid state before forming the fibres, therefore locking in the colour. Many of our carpets are solution dyed including the Equinox Collection and the ECONOMIX range.

Our carpets undertake a light fastness test where samples are exposed to an intense artificial light generated by a Xenon arc lamp. The light passes through a series of filters to ensure that its spectrum (wavelength make-up) closely matches that of natural daylight through glass. The humidity and temperature of the test atmosphere are also controlled.

The Equinox Collection and the ECONOMIX range both have a lightfast rating of  minimum 5 which is describe as Best or Excellent as there is no change in the carpets appearance during the testing process.

How to keep fading at bay

The best method of keeping fading at bay consists of purchasing blinds or drapes for the windows and doors overlooking the carpet during the moments when sunlight reaches its peak (midday). Replacing the windows with UV resistant glass is also an option, although it will still let sunshine through to a certain extent.

Furthermore a damaged fibre is unable to maintain the pigment. Fibre damage occurs not only from UV exposure, but also from traffic. If you constantly step on the same spots of the carpet, you will eventually weaken its integrity, rendering it susceptible to fading. Try regularly relocating furniture to create different walkways in order to avoid subjecting a single area to intense traffic.

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