When we are cleaning a carpet, we will ask if the homeowner would like the carpets protected with Scotchgard. Often we are asked in return, "Is Scotchgard really worth it? Does it really work?" Those are a good questions. The simple answer to both questions is YES. But let me explain why.
First, how does Scotchgard work? Scotchgard is a name brand. It is part of a large group of protectors called flurorochemicals. By far Scotchgard is the most well known of these (One study showed a 97% name recognition!). The treatments all work on the same principles. By reducing surface tension they make fabrics less absorbent. When applied either at the mill or after a cleaning they coat the fibers giving them somewhat of a non-stick surface. Dirt, water, and even oil do not stick to the fabric, allowing it to be removed more easily. On certain carpets you may even see the liquid 'bead' up and sit on top of the carpet. Even if it does not have that dramatic of a result, the effect is the same - easier cleanup.
We have to be reasonable, though, about what is expected from Scotchgard. Some have been led to believe that once you have this protection either built into the carpet or applied after a cleaning, the carpets are invincible; nothing can stain it. Although that would be nice, it just isn't so. Scotchgard has limitations. If a red liquid is spilled on treated carpet and left it will stain. Think about it; even concrete can stain if you leave something on it. Scotchgard gives you more time and a better opportunity to clean things, but you still have to clean it. Another key factor is regular vacuuming. Scotchgard has the same effect on dry soil as on wet. But again, if regular vacuuming is not happening you probably will think the Scotchgard is not working.
Is it worth the investment? Yes, even if your carpets have a stain resistance built into it. Now, there is no doubt that the treatment put on at the factory is superior. It is done under controlled conditions and on new, never touched, material. Think, though, of what your carpets goes through over the year: kids, pets, parties, spills, accidents, constant wear in high traffic areas, cleaning. Each one of these can definitely have an effect on the carpets and on the protection. But, after a deep cleaning, you can restore this protection by applying Scotchgard. Is your carpet going to fall apart if you choose not to apply the protection. Absolutely not. But, think of Scotchgard like the wax on your car. You don't have to wax your car, but if you do, it will look better and last longer. Same with your carpet.