A clean patch of Mohawk SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona carpet is designed to show the stain-fighting properties of the product, which was lived on by a rhinoceros for two weeks.


After more than two weeks, the battle between Mohawk SmartStrand carpet made using DuPont Sorona polymer and Ricko the Rhino, a 2,800 black rhinoceros at the Birmingham Zoo, is over. Since mid-August, Ricko has been living in an enclosure featuring the SmartStrand carpet as part of the SmartStrand Rhino Challenge. The promotional event is aimed at showcasing the stain-fighting benefits and durability of the carpet.

However, even after two weeks of punishment, the carpeting featuring triexta came clean. “I never had a doubt,” said David Duncan, Mohawk's vp marketing. “SmartStrand’s stain resistance and durability is no match for any stain-maker, whether it’s a rhinoceros or your own pets.”

After more than 14 days, the light-colored carpet showed some severe staining. Especially after a tropical storm passed through the Birmingham area, forcing the very muddy rhinoceros into spend an extended amount of time in his enclosure for safety reasons.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it to come so clean,” said Billy Cochran, a zookeeper who helps care for Ricko. Billy witnessed the cleaning by a crew from Issis & Sons Carpet, a Mohawk Floorscapes retailer from nearby Pelham, Ala. “This carpet was really a mess but now the cleaned sections look like new,” Cochran said.

Using only hot-water extraction and Mohawk FloorCare Essentials Carpet Stain Remover, the dingy, dirty spots washed away. Time-lapse video from the cleaning will be provided later this week in updates on SmartStrandChallenge.com and YouTube.com/MohawkFloors.

“We tried to choose areas where you could see a distinct muddy footprint,” said Bart Rich, Mohawk’s Director of Brand Management. “It will be the same piece of carpet, just half of it cleaned and the other half not so you can see the distinct difference.”

During the two-week experiment, four webcams broadcast the adventures of Ricko the Rhino living on carpeting live at SmartStrandChallenge.com. During that time, tens of thousands of visitors witnessed every stain and stomp by the Rhino. A highlight video from thousands of hours of webcam footage will be assembled for posting along with a wrap-up showing the entire project.