Rug Care Guide

 

  • Most rugs today are treated in order to make them stain resistant however regular cleaning and maintenance of your rug will enhance the appearance and extend the life of your rug
  • 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
  • Remove loose soil and dirt while it is sitting on top of the rug surface before it is walked into the pile
  • Regular vacuuming is the best way to keep your rug looking at its best, 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
  • Take care with fringes and edging when vacuuming as they can be easily damaged
  • Allowing excessive dirt to build up on your rug will make cleaning much harder and shorten the useful life of your rug

Cleaning Tips

  • 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
  • Allow the rug to completely dry before walking on it

Synthetic Fibres

(Polypropylene, nylon & viscose)

  • Follow manufacturers guidelines
  • When selecting cleaning agents look for ones made specifically for carpet/rug cleaning
  • Never use laundry or dishwasher detergent, soap or any strong household cleaning products intended for use on hard surfaces as these can damage rug fibres
  • For the best results when removing stains from your rug:
    • Vacuum the soiled area first
    • Apply a pre-conditioning solution to begin breaking down the stain, leave for 8-10 minutes (See chart below for cleaning solutions)

Natural Fibres

Always follow the manufacturer's instructions as some natural fibres may require specialised cleaning by a professional.

Wool - Avoid excessive scrubbing and heat which might break the fibres. Alkaline and bleach based products can also damage wool rugs. Neutral cleaning agents (pH of 5-8) should be used to clean wool and make sure to dry the rug quickly to avoid yellowing of the fibres.

Silk - Silk can be damaged by high temperatures, high pH (9+) and excessive sunlight, silk fibres will also become weakened when wet. It is best to dry clean silk rugs or call in the professionals.

Sisal, Jute & Coir - Very hard to clean yourself, use a carpet cleaning professional or contact the manufacturer.

Bath Mats and Small Rugs

  • Most bath mats manufactured today can be machine washed. All rugs should be washed in warm water (30°C-40°C) using a mild neutral detergent followed by a thorough rinse
  • Washable rugs can be tumble dried on the lowest heat setting
  • NEVER dry rubber/latex backed rugs over a radiator as this can damage the backing
  • Larger bathroom rugs and washable mats should be dried flat in a shaded area and brushed lightly to facilitate drying

Doormats

  • Doormats are invaluable for stopping dirt entering your home or business. To get the full benefit out of your doormat remove soil and dirt regularly from the mat to stop it from becoming a source for additional dirt
  • To remove dirt from entry mats vacuum regularly
  • Remove embedded soil weekly by striking the mat with a brush or by shaking vigorously
  • For a thorough cleaning wash the mat with a brush and a mild detergent - make sure to rinse the mat carefully. Allow the mat to dry completely before vacuuming or walking on

Stain Removal

  • The most important thing when it comes to stain removal is to ACT QUICKLY - most stains can be removed if immediate action is taken
  • No rug is completely stain proof, the complete removal of a stain may require the repeated use of a solution or the combination of several solutions
  • Stained areas which appear after stain removal are most often the result of inadequate removal of cleaning agents

Stain Removal Steps

  1. REMOVE any loose dry particles by hand or with a rounded spoon
  2. BLOT liquids with a dry white absorbent cloth or kitchen towels
  3. DO NOT SCRUB the stained area as this can cause fibre damage and pile distortion. Continue DABBING the stain with a dry cloth until the area is completely dry
  4. LOCATE the stain substance on the stain removal chart and follow the directions carefully
  5. PRE-TEST any cleaning agent on an inconspicuous area of the rug to ensure it will not damage the rug fibre. Hold a white cloth on the stained area for 10-20 seconds; examine the cloth for colour transfer or fibre damage. If either if these occur, select a different cleaning agent
  6. After testing, APPLY a small amount of the cleaning agent to a white cloth and allow the cloth to sit on the stained areas for 10 minutes and work in gently. Work inwards from the edges of the stain to prevent spreading - DO NOT SCRUB - blot continuously until the stain begins to transfer to the cloth.
  7. REPEAT this step until most/all of the stain substance is removed
  8. AFTER the spill has been removed rinse the area thoroughly with COLD water and blot with a dry cloth until the cleaning agent has been removed. Weight dry paper towels on top of the affected area to ensure it dries as cleaning agent can cause damage to rug fibres if allowed to remain on the pile

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
Cleaning AgentDescription
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
Detergent Solution 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
Ammonia Solution Mix 1 cup of household ammonia with 1 cup of water. TEST the solution first as ammonia can cause discolouration
Readymade Stain Removal Agent 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
Vacuuming 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

Stain Removal Chart

  • Find the stain substance on the chart below
  • In numerical order use the cleaning solutions listed (see chart above 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
StainDry Cleaning FluidNail Polish RemoverDetergent SolutionWarm Water RinseWhite Vinegar SolutionAmmonia SolutionStain Removal AgentCall a ProfessionalVacuuming
Acid       2   1   3  
Adhesive 1 2 3 5   4   6  
Aftershave/Perfume     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Alcohol (spirits)     1 4 3 2   5  
Animal Stains     1 4 3 2   5  
Asphalt 1   2         3  
Banana 1   2 3       4  
Beans 1   2 5 4 3 6 7  
Beer     1 2     3 4  
Beetroot     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Berries     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Bleach     1 3 2     4  
Blood (use cold water)     2 3   1 4 5  
Butter 1 2 3 6 5 4   7  
Calamine Lotion 1   2 5 4 3   6  
Cement/Concrete 1   2 3       4  
Charcoal     2         3 1
Chewing Gum 1             2  
Chocolate 1   2 5 4 3   6  
Cigarette Burn     1 2       3  
Clay 1   2 4 3     5  
Coffee     1 3 2   4 5  
Coke     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Cooking Fat 1 2 3 5   4   6  
Cosmetics 2 1 3 6 5 4 7 8  
Crayon 1   2         3  
Cream 1   2 3       4  
Dirt     3 4   2   5 1
Drinks     1 2       3  
Dye 4   1 3   2   5  
Faeces     1 5 4 2 3 6  
Food     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Food (greasy) 1   2 5 4 3 6 7  
Furniture Polish 3   1 2   4 5 6  
Furniture Wax 1   2         3  
Glue 1   2 3     4 5  
Grass 2 1 3 6 5 4 7 8  
Gravy 2 1 3 6 5 4   7  
Grease (vehicle) 2 1 3 4     5 6  
Hair Dye     1 3 2   4 5  
Hair Spray 3   1 2       4  
Ice Cream 1   2 5 4 3   6  
Ink 2 1 3 5   4   6  
Ink (permanent)     3 4 2     1  
Jam, Jelly     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Lip Gloss/ Lip Stick 2 1 3 6 5 4 7 8  
Makeup 3   1 2       4  
Markers (felt tip) 2 1 3 4       5  
Mascara 1   2 3     4 5  
Metal Polish 2 1           3  
Mildew     1 3   2 4 5  
Milk 1   2 5 4 3   6  
Mouthwash     1 3 2   4 5  
Nail Polish 2 1 3 4       5  
Newsprint 1   2 3       4  
Oil (car/paint) 2 1 3 5   4   6  
Oven Cleaner     2 3 1     4  
Paint (acrylic) 2 1   4 3     5  
Paint (enamel) 1   3 2       4  
Paint (oil based) 2 1 3 5   4 6 7  
Paint (water colour)     1 3 2   4 5  
Paint Cleaner 2 1 3 5   4   6  
Pencil 1     2   3   4  
Petrol 1   2 4 3   5 6  
Rust     2 3 1   4 5  
Sauces 1   2 5 4 3 6 7  
Shampoo     1 2       3  
Shoe Polish (liquid) 2 1 3 5   4 6 7  
Shoe Polish (wax) 1   2 3       4  
Skin Ointments 2   1 4     3 5  
Smoke 1     3   2   4  
Soap       1 2     3  
Soot               2 1
Suntan Lotion 1   2 3       4  
Tea     1 3 2   4 5  
Tobacco     2 3       4 1
Tomatoes/Sauce     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Toner               2 1
Toothpaste     1 4 2 3   5  
Urine (dry)     1 2 3 4   5  
Urine (wet)     1 4 3 2   5  
Varnish 2 1 3 5   4 6 7  
Vomit     1 4 3 2 5 6  
Wax 1   2 4 3   5 6  
Wine     1 4 2 3 5 6  

Stubborn Stains

Stain SubstanceStain Removal Guide
Acid Substances Removal of acid requires immediate action to prevent irreparable damage. First of all flush the stained area with water, using an absorbent cloth blot the excess liquid and repeat this step until the acid is diluted. Blot the stained area with a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and ¼ of warm water, rinse the area again and dry the rug as quickly and thoroughly as possible
Blood Use only cool cleaning solutions to prevent staining.
Burns Burn damage can only be remedied by re-tufting or re-sectioning the affected area. You can improve the appearance of a charred rug by clipping off the blackened ends using small sharp scissors; you may need to do a trim the surrounding pile
Chewing Gum or Candle Wax Freeze the gum on the rug by placing ice in a metal plan and setting it on top of the wax or gum for around 10 minutes. Break up the gum/wax with a blunt object and vacuum up the loose pieces. Use alcohol or a dry cleaning solution to blot the stained area to dissolve the remaining residue
Ink Apply running alcohol (90% isopropyl) with a clean dry cloth or towel and rinse the affected area thoroughly. Do not pour solution directly onto the rug as this may damage fibres
Rust Using one part water and one part white vinegar, dab the affected area with a dry cloth. Dry immediately with a clean cloth or towel. Repeat the process until the rust is removed

Troubleshooting

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 turn the rug upside down during the day
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