Rugs are an investment so taking care of them to ensure their longevity is important. Here are some things you should keep in mind. Dirt, dust, and other debris rubs against the fibers of a wool rug and can actually damage them. It’s very important to use a quality vacuum to remove this debris on a regular basis at least one or twice a week. Your vacuum is sometimes all you need to keep your rug looking fresh. In the first few years of a rug’s life, it will shed the excess wool fibers left over from the weaving process. These fibers leave a fuzzy appearance all over the rug and should be vacuumed a few times each week. Ok so this might make some of you crazy at the thought, but at least you know its a natural fibre and its a small price to pay for such a beautiful rug.
HOW SHOULD I VACUUM MY RUG?
The vacuum’s height should be set to 'high' so that the rotating brush does not create excessive agitation on the rug. Too much agitation will damage the wool fibers which could lead to pilling. For the greatest suction, the vacuum bag or canister should be kept less than half full. The vacuum should be moved in a ‘V’ path instead of back and forth in straight lines. Alternating the direction of the vacuum’s path prevents the fibres from being crushed. Wool rugs can be turned upside down and the underside can be vacuumed as well.
WHEN SHOULD I 'PROFESSIONAL CLEAN' MY RUG?
About once a year, wool rugs should get a thorough cleaning to remove general grime that a vacuum can’t touch. This will brighten the rug, giving it an almost new appearance, and extend its life. Wool fibres can be tricky to clean and work with, which is why professional cleaning is usually the best option. Wool absorbs much more water than synthetic fibres do, which makes them hard to dry and (for area rugs) heavy and difficult to maneuver. In addition, many available carpet cleaners these days are simply too alkaline for wool fibres. Keep in mind that while carpet manufacturers generally recommend professional cleaning of wool carpets every 12 to 18 months, there are several circumstances that may warrant more frequent cleanings. This includes if you have indoor pets, have young children with a tendency to spill sticky substances on the carpet, or tend to see oily dirt tracked into the home.
HOW DO I DEAL WITH STAINS ON MY RUG?
Stains should be cleaned up immediately to prevent setting in permanently. A clean white towel should be used to absorb as much of the spill as possible. (Coloured towels can transfer their dyes to the wool rug and should never be used.) Due to potential damage or shrinkage of fibers, stains should not be scrubbed only blotted and pressed. If a large amount of a more solid matter has been dropped onto the rug, a spoon can be used to gently scoop the matter up.
Dry foam cleaning products make an efficient and safe way to clean up stains on wool area rugs. These products don’t use much water, which means the rug will dry quickly without the risk of developing mildew. The label directions should be followed carefully and usually include working the foam into the rug fibers, allowing it to dry, and then vacuuming up the remaining residue. Water and vinegar can also be used to dab on stains as a natural cleaner.
WHAT CLEANERS SHOULD I AVOID?
- Dry Powder cleaners – These can leave a residue that is virtually impossible to remove.
- Some cleaners can severely damage a wool rug and should be avoided.
- Oxygen-based “Oxy” cleaners or hydrogen peroxide.
- Alkaline cleaners.
IN A NUTSHELL:
- Do not pull loose threads or pop ups as we sometimes call them. Instead clip with scissors.
- Remove spills immediately. If liquid is spilt blot with a clean white cloth by pressing around the spill.
- Light vacuum using a high brush setting regularly, one or twice a week. Don’t allow dust and dirt to settle into the fibres.
- Exposure to direct sunlight may result in colour fading. Rugs placed in direct sunlight areas should be turned often.
- Pile shedding is a normal characteristic of a textured rug and should settle after 6-12 months.
- Occasional professional rug cleaning is recommend to ensure the longevity of your rug. Do not dry clean a wool rug.