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When is Solution Dyed Nylon Right for My Organization?

Posted on Jan 18, 2016, by Michael Eckert

Today I’m helping you understand the benefits of solution dyed nylon (SDN), to help you decide if SDN is the best carpet fiber choice for your organization.

Weighing up whether to use SDN carpet in your office(s)?

Click here to learn how to choose tiles that retain their appearance

What is Solution Dyed Nylon?

Solution dyed nylon is one of the most popular carpet fiber choices, with many people believing that SDN outperforms other carpet types in terms of durability and appearance retention. This is largely because of SDN’s innate bleach resistance, allowing organizations to clean their carpets using bleach solutions.

This bleach resistance occurs because the solution dyeing process uses pigment to color yarn as it’s extruded, melting the pigment directly into the nylon fiber as it’s being made. Pigment is inherently more bleach-resistant than other types of dye, and by directly coloring the yarn in this way, SDN carpets are able to achieve greater bleach resistance than other types of carpet - resisting bleach solutions of up to a 10% dilution.

Learn more about carpet dye technologies: How Carpet Dye Technologies Impact Design Flexibility.

SDN and Design Flexibility

Solution dyed nylon is a pre-dyeing process, meaning that the nylon is dyed before the fiber is turned into carpets, and then carpet colors and designs are created by tufting colored SDN fibers into a backing material. Though widely used, this process can actually limit design flexibility:

  1. Manufacturers have to hold a wide-stock of SDN colors in inventory. Though most manufacturers hold a large inventory of standard colors, custom colors can delay lead times, as stock is brought in from outside suppliers.
  2. As a pre-dyed process, SDN designs are limited by the mechanical process of tufting yarn. Patterns are created by alternating layers of different colored fiber, and changing which of the colors is visible. This means that colors can be changed only where the fibers allow.

The Importance of Bleach Resistance

Solution Dyed Nylon is able to resist bleach solutions of up to a 10% dilution, meaning the bleach won’t damage the carpet fibers or cause color fading. Bleach resistance is unique to SDN, as post-dyed fibers (including carpets made with Digital Dye Infusion and Continuous Dyeing processes) have a different chemical make-up that makes them more susceptible to bleach. However, these carpet types can be made to resist the same concentration of bleach through the application of special post-dye treatments (like Milliken’s ColorSeal).

Outside of a healthcare environment, most organizations (like schools and offices) rarely use bleach cleaning any more. Bleach has become less common in cleaning products due to its associated health concerns, meaning that many organizations opt for a less harmful alternative. So if your organization doesn’t use bleach to clean, you don’t need to limit yourself to choosing only SDN carpets.

If your organization does clean with bleach, there’s an important caveat to consider. Often custodial staff will be inexact with their bleach dilution, meaning that bleach solutions will be made up to higher than a 10% dilution. This can damage SDN just like any other carpet.

To learn more about bleach resistance, and the types of cleaning regimens required for each type of carpet, ask your manufacturer the questions outlined in the free tip sheet below.

Free Tip Sheet: 25 Questions to Ask Your Carpet Tile Manufacturer

How to Tell if SDN is Right for Your Organization

SDN products are extremely popular, offering a wide range of attractive, durable flooring solutions – and if your organization needs to clean with bleach – for example you’re in a healthcare setting – then SDN carpet tiles are likely to be the best choice for you.

If you’re not, check which products your custodial staff use for cleaning. It may be that ten years ago they used bleach, but cleaning products and techniques have changed a lot since then. Other carpet types,  have made massive advances in recent years (and in some cases, offer even greater flexibility than SDN) – so it’s important to make sure you’re not limiting your carpet choices based on outdated assumptions.

Discover how to choose long-lasting carpet tiles for your organization, and download our whitepaper below.

how to choose carpet tiles that last [free whitepaper]


Topics: Performance

Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert