How To Care For Rugs
The best way to keep a rug clean is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place.
A key component of dirt is silica. Silica is abrasive and can cut fibers in the same way that little pieces of broken glass would.
Removing outdoor shoes when entering the house, (as people do in most rug-weaving countries), is a great way to keep not just your area rugs, but your entire house, much cleaner.
Bare-foot or sock-foot traffic is much gentler to a rug than a hard outdoor-shoe sole (or spike heel), and leaving your outdoor shoes at the entrance to the house tracks in much less dirt.
It’s important to have your rug cleaned by a certified professional when it needs it. (Our technicians are certified by Wools of New Zealand as Wool Care Specialists). A thorough cleaning will remove the abrasive dirt from your rug and stop abrasive wear in it’s tracks.
For rugs in heavier-trafficked areas this may mean a yearly cleaning. Rugs in other lightly trafficked areas can sometimes go several years without needing professional cleaning.
How Dirty Is Your Rug?
To judge how dirty a rug is, try this 3-step test:
- Pick up a corner of the rug and while holding it about waist-high, kick the back of the rug sharply. If a cloud of dirt flies out of the pile, the rug is dirty and needs cleaning. NOTE: some dust and wool fibers are normal! (It’s ideal to do this test in bright sunlight)
- Kneel down on the rug and rub the pile vigorously with your hand in a short arc for 5 to 10 seconds. Look at your fingers and palm: if your hand is dirty, the rug needs cleaning.
- With the pile facing UP fold part of the rug back upon itself so that the pile opens along a line of knots. Look down into the base of the pile at the foundation of the rug. If the warp and weft look dirty, (these are the foundation of the rug) there is dirt deep in the pile where a home vacuum cleaner cannot reach it. Your rug needs cleaning.
Rug First Aid….
Always work on the spill from the outside in, so as not to increase the area of the spill. Blot the spill… don’t rub!
The Problem With URINE!
A very common issue, urine presents the most severe problem. It can cause severe color run in the rug, and the odor can be very hard to remove or disguise. Urine salts can also chemically damage the structure of a rug by making the foundation hard and less supple, and the presence of urine in a rug can help attract moths.
One of the biggest problems with urine on area rugs, is that most animals have an instinct to ‘re-mark’ their territory. Even if you could get the rug to the point where there was no detectable odor, a dog’s nose is about 200 times more sensitive than ours… they will still be able to smell it, and will most likely ‘re-mark’ the spot!
Repeated ‘markings’ can cause the foundation of the rug to loose structural strength to the point where the rug cracks and literally breaks when rolled or folded. Many a rug has been ruined, not by the odor, which can often be corrected, but by physical damage to the fibers.
What Should You Do If You Have Pet Urine On Your Rug?
The single best thing you can do, is to remove as much of the urine as possible BEFORE it dries. Blot up as much liquid as possible with paper towels or a clean, white cloth. Be sure to work from the outside of the spot to the center, so you don’t spread the spot.
We Don’t Recommend Using Spotters On Rugs, And Here’s Why:
If you look at our Cleaning Steps page, you’ll see that the very first thing we do is to thoroughly test the rug BEFORE we do anything! And we’re working in a very controlled environment with all sorts of various chemical ‘tools’ at our disposal. In addition, we’ve had years of training, and are qualified to correct bleeding dyes, shrinkage, etc.
Rugs can bleed, shrink, discolor… you just never know how they were dyed or how colorfast they are. If you have a problem, you won’t have the tools or the know-how to correct it!
In addition, many home-type spotters contain bleaching agents, which can sometimes bleach out color on nylon carpets… On area rugs they can cause permanent, irreversible damage!
There are just too many variables for us to recommend using any products on your rugs. It’s much safer if we bring your rug in to our controlled rug-washing environment, and correct the problem with our trained staff. You’ll get a Carerkling clean rug, with no odor… and there won’t be any unsightly damage.
If you must use something on your rug at home, we’d recommend using 2 cups of cool water, with 1/8 cup of vinegar in it. Don’t over-wet the rug. And even with this mixture, color loss and bleeding CAN happen. If you use this mixture, do so at your own risk.
WARNING: If this is an expensive rug and or has sentimental value, you may want to consult Khachederian Rug Care before treating it yourself. Our trained professionals know how to avoid causing additional damage through improper treatment. 303-674-4442
Next, dry the area using a fan. It’s best if you can get air circulating on BOTH sides of the rug.
Pet stool, regurgitation
If a pet regurgitates on a rug, you are faced with removing a complex mixture of foodstuffs, saliva, and stomach acids. Depending on the foods involved, this mixture can actually work as a dilute dye to stain the pile a different hue.
If a pet regurgitates or defecates on a rug, clean the area immediately by picking up as much material as possible with paper towels or with a clean, white cloth. Work from the outside in…
If necessary, use a tablespoon to scrape up all the foreign material. Blot the area dry and immediately sponge several times with the cleaning solution listed above. Don’t scrub hard–too much manipulation of the pile can spread the stain, and may distort the fibers and change the appearance of the nap. Use sponge lightly in the direction of the nap.
Finally, sponge the area with cool, clean water to finish. Use absorbent towels or a firm, non-shedding sponge. Don’t use a brush so stiff that it pulls fibers from the pile. Don’t scrub hard at the pile. Use sponge lightly in the direction of the nap. Place towels under the spot to keep floor or pad from getting wet. Dry thoroughly. When the nap feels dry, check the back of the rug to be sure the area is completely dry.
Download our free consumer guide to area rugs. This report contains valuable information every rug owner should have.