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Rug Care Guide
Prevention is better than cure – try to keep as much dirt off your rug as possible in order to prolong the life of the rug. Bring in a no shoes rule or place durable door mats or rubber mats at all entries
Frequent vacuuming is the best way to keep dirt from embedding in your rug. If possible use a vacuum with rotating brushes that will loosen dirt on the surface. Look for a vacuum with strong suction to penetrate right through the pile removing all particles. Keep vacuum brushes clean and inspect the heads for rough edges that might damage the rug pile. If there is one section of the rug that gets more traffic then rotate the rug regularly
If using a strong cleaning agent remove furniture which is in contact with the rug or wrap cling film around the legs of tables and chairs to prevent damage
Ensure that you use the cleaning solution strength recommended as increasing the strength can cause accelerated staining
Rinse all detergent thoroughly from the rug to prevent fibre damage
Do not over wet the rug as this may cause separation of the backing or the edging, discolouration, shrinkage and odour problems
For expensive rugs or rugs that are very dirty then professional cleaning is the best option
The information below offers an outline for cleaning and restoring your rug, however many rugs come with cleaning guidance on the label and it is the advice of the manufacturers that should be followed as a priority
Stain Removal Process
Remove any loose dry particles by hand or with a rounded spoon
Blot - Vigorous rubbing of a stain does much more damage than good as it spreads the stain out and pushes it deeper into the rug. It is best to cover the area with a clean towel or thick pad of paper towels, press down on the stain with the heel of your hand. Repeat this step using dry towels until the liquid is absorbed.
Soapy Water - Mix your own spot cleaning solution by diluting a few drops of clear hand or dishwashing liquid in water. Mild carpet cleaner or mild shampoo is also very effective. Laundry detergent or creamy hand washes are too alkaline and may leave a sticky residue. Apply mixture to the stain sparingly and gently wipe from the outside of the stain inwards to the centre so as not to spread the stain.
Rinse - To remove coloured spills or cleaning solutions, either mist the area with clean warm water or blot it with a wet towel, then blot the area with a dry towel. Repeat this step as necessary until the stain is gone and the cleaning solution is completely removed. Do not rub!
NOTE – Test any new cleaning solution on a small spot on the rug to make sure it will not damage the pile.
Care by Material
Synthetic – Regular vacuuming using the beater brush attachment is the most effective method of keeping your rug clean. For liquid spills, clean promptly using the blotting process described above. The majority of mild cleaning solutions available on the market along with mild shampoos and detergents should be fine for use on synthetic rugs as they will likely have been treated with a stain resistant coating. Vigorous scrubbing may however damage this coating and the rug pile.
Wool – Regular vacuuming as described above is the most effective method – avoid using a beater brush n a loop pile however as it may fuzz. Liquid spills should be treated using the blotting process as described above. Never use ammonia or other highly alkaline or bleach based cleaners which can damage wool. Wool fibres absorb more water than synthetic fibres and so over-wetting a wool pile may cause damage that is difficult to correct. Quick drying is very important to avoid discolouration.
Plant (Jute/Sisal) – Regular vacuuming using a beater brush is the most effective way to reduce wear. Plant fibres are less stain resistant than synthetics or wool and so immediate action for liquid spills is necessary. Use the blotting process described above but to speed up the drying process it might be best to use a fan or hairdryer on a low heat setting.
Silk – Silk fibres are very easily damaged by high temperatures, high PH levels and excessive sunlight. Silk fibres also become weakened when wet. It is best to call in the professionals to clean silk rugs.
Bathmats – Most can be machine washed at 30-40°C using a mild detergent and tumble dried on the lowest possible setting. Rubber or latex backed rugs should never be dried over a radiator as this can damage the backing – dry flat!
Doormats – Doormats help keep other rugs and carpet in your home clean; to get the full benefit of your doormat, soil and dirt should be removed regularly through vacuuming or shaking out. You can wash a doormat using a mild detergent but be sure to let it dry out completely before walking on.
Stain Removal Chart
- Find the stain substance on the chart below
- In numerical order use the cleaning solutions listed (see chart below for directions on how to use the cleaning agent)
- Continue using solution #1 providing there is improvement in removing the spot
- If there is no improvement using the first cleaning solution move on to solution #2, solution #3 etc., until the stain is removed
|Stain||Dry Cleaning||Nail Polish Remover||Detergent Solution||Warm Water Rinse||White Vinegar Solution||Ammonia Solution||Stain Removal Agent||Call a Professional||Vaccumning|
|Blood (use cold water)||2||3||1||4||5|
|Lip Gloss/ Lip Stick||2||1||3||6||5||4||7||8|
|Markers (felt tip)||2||1||3||4||5|
|Paint (oil based)||2||1||3||5||4||6||7|
|Paint (water colour)||1||3||2||4||5|
|Shoe Polish (liquid)||2||1||3||5||4||6||7|
|Shoe Polish (wax)||1||2||3||4|
Spot Removal Agents
- ALWAYS use the cleaning agent concentration recommended - stronger solutions may damage the rug
- Look for spot removal agents without bleach or optical brighteners as these will damage rug fibres
Dry Cleaning Fluid
Look for dry cleaning fluids with non-flammable and non-bleaching ingredients. Transfer the fluid with a dry white cloth. DO NOT POUR the fluid directly onto the rug as this may destroy the backing
Nail Polish Remover
Look for a nail polish remover without conditioners and apply with care
Mix ¼ teaspoon of a clear non-bleach dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of warm water. Place the solution on the stain for 10-15 minutes to remove the substance. Rinse with warm water as often as necessary to remove the solution. DO NOT use laundry or dishwasher detergent which contains bleaching or brightening agent that will cause discolouration to the rug
Warm Water Rinse
The safe bet for the removal of most minor stains and a starting point for most major ones
White Vinegar Solution
Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water for a homemade cleaning agent
Mix 1 cup of household ammonia with 1 cup of water. TEST the solution first as ammonia can cause discolouration
Readymade supermarket solutions are a good choice for most stains but check for one without bleaching properties, brighteners and with a low pH so as to avoid fibre damage and discolouration. Some readymade cleaners may contain a detergent which will leave a residue if not rinsed thoroughly
Call a Professional
Look for a reputable rug cleaning professional (try calling your local carpet/rug supplier). Get a quote in writing and details of the cleaning work to be carried out before agreeing to any contracts. Find out if they offer any guarantees should anything happen to your rug while in their care
All DRY SPILLS should be scraped with a blunt object and the loose particles vacuumed. Do not pour liquid on to a dry stain as this can exasperate the problem
|Pile Crushing||Pile crush is the loss of pile thickness due to continuous foot traffic. Regular vacuuming can help reduce pile crushing. Vigorous vacuuming may reduce already crushed piles|
|Pile Depression||Indentations are caused by the weight of heavy pieces of furniture resting on a rug. Furniture glides or castor cups placed under the legs of furniture or the regular moving of furniture a few inches can prevent indentations. If depressions occur, spray the indentation with water and hold a hair dryer, set on medium, a few inches above the depression. While the area is drying gently work the pile upright in the opposite direction with your fingers|
|Fading and Colour Loss||Like any fabrics a rug is at risk of fading from sunlight and excessive lighting. Keep rugs out of prolonged direct sunlight or excessive lighting or alternatively rotate the rug regularly to ensure the rug fades evenly prolonging the life of the rug|
|Fluffing and Shedding||The shedding of rug fibres is very common in the first few weeks as the rug settles and the loose fibres left on the rug move to the top of the pile. Regular vacuuming will remove these loose pieces. It may take longer for wool, sheepskin and shaggy rugs to stop shedding. If shedding persists for longer than 6 weeks contact the supplier/manufacturer as there may be a fault with the rug|
|Wear in Heavy Use Areas||Rugs in front of sofas, armchairs, in hallways, doorways and under dinging tables receive the most wear. Look for good quality rugs that will stand this wear or alternatively look for a cheaper range of rugs so that you can change your rug more often. Placing a small cheap rug on top of a more expensive rug in front of a chair/sofa will delay wear or alternatively move furniture around regularly to change the flow of traffic and help spread the effects of ware|
|Matting||Usually caused by concentrated foot traffic and/or inadequate maintenance. Matting is very hard to correct but can be prevented by carrying out some of the preventative measures listed above|
|Moth Control||Synthetic fibres are resistant to moths and beetles and many wool rugs are now treated to be moth resistant. Check the label on the rug|
|Odour||It is likely that there will be a slight odour from your new rug for the first few weeks as a result of the manufacturing process. This odour should disappear quickly with adequate ventilation|
|Soiling||Excessive soiling can damage the fibres on your rug, dulling the colour and lessening the integrity of the fibres. Regular vacuuming and restorative cleaning as documented above should be carried out to prevent excessive soiling|
|Sprouting||Occasionally a tuft of yarn will appear above the rest of the pile, this is nothing to worry about, just snip the tuft to the level of the other tufts. DO NOT PULL THE TUFT OUT|
|Yellowing||Yellowing of rug pile can be caused by pollutants, heating fuels or poor air flow around the room. Some yellowing can be difficult to remove but a white vinegar or citrus acid solution is often successful in eliminating the effects of yellowing|