A wool rug is very resilient and very easy to live with, with just a few basic maintenance techniques, you can easily keep your new rug looking beautiful.
Vacuum your rug regularly.
A regular, thorough vacuuming will reduce soil build up and lengthen the life and beauty of your area rug but make sure you are using the proper vacuum and vacuum setting. A vacuum cleaner's rotating brush (power head) is an area rug's worse nightmare. The rotating brush head (also known as a beater bar) pulls viciously at the fibers in your area rug and will often cause damage at the sides and ends of your rug. Getting the right vacuum and putting it on the right setting is key to keeping your rug beautiful.
A canister vacuum, in which you can change the suction head for use on various surfaces, is ideal. Use only the hard surface head (no rotating brush). Avoid using up-right vacuums, they were designed for use on wall-to-wall carpeting and are especially hard on area rugs.
If you are using a vacuum with a rotating brush head adjust the height so that the brush barely touches the face of the carpet. Do not use a vacuum that automatically adjusts.
Always test a vacuum and vacuuming technique first. It is impossible to know how every area rug will react to every vacuum and every vacuuming technique. Vacuums that cause excess fuzzing or sprouting of the rug fibers should not be used.
A chewed up corner is the most common damage caused by vacuum cleaners.
Spot Clean: Clean up spills and pet accidents as soon as possible.
The longer a spill or accident sits on the rug the more likely it is to stain. Wool has natural stain resisting qualities. For a period of time after something is spilled, it will just sit on the surface of the fibers, over time the spill will absorb into the fibers, once absorbed it becomes more difficult to remove.
Use the Proper Cleaning Supplies and Methods - avoid internet "cleaning hacks."
The best thing you can use to clean a wool rug is lukewarm water and a clean white towel (nothing with dyes that will bleed color). If you have a spill that needs something a little stronger try either white vinegar, seltzer water, or a drop of clear dish soap in a cup of water. For pet accidents try the enzymatic cleaner Bac-out. Blot, don't rub - rubbing will change the texture of the wool and make it appear as though there is a stain. Check out these step by step instructions on how to spot clean.
If you are uncertain whether you have a wool rug or not (if you can't find any tag on the back of the rug) call the retail establishment that you purchased the rug from - they'll have purchase records and can tell you what it is made of.
DO NOT USE: baking soda, oxy-clean, bottled spray cleaners, bleach, colored cloths (they may bleed color when wetted), DW-40. All of these things will potentially change the color of your rug and/or leave a permanent stain. Avoid internet "cleaning hacks," if you are getting cleaning information online, verify that it is from a well established area rug retailer (like us) or a professional area rug cleaner who has experience cleaning wool.
Pitfalls to avoid
There are four major issues that can drastically shorten the life of your hand made wool rug: dry rot, vacuum cleaners (discussed above), moths and pet urine.
- Avoid placing potted plants directly on area rugs. They are the #1 cause of dry rot. Even potted plants placed near area rugs, when frequently over watered, can overflow and cause a nearby rug to get dry rot.
- Keeping your rug regularly cleaned and vacuumed is the best method for preventing moth issues. For more information on moth prevention and what to do if you have moths check out our Protect your Rugs from Moths Blog HERE.
- Getting a puppy? Have an elderly dog or cat? Sometimes the best thing to do is clean your rug and then roll it up and store it (for proper storage instructions check out An Area Rug's Worst Enemies) until the threat of pets accidents has passed. If that's not possible make sure to clean up pet accidents as quickly and thoroughly as possible (see spot cleaning instructions above).
As with most things, preventative measures and early detection are your best defense in keeping your rug looking good for a long time. Read the Blog post An Area Rug's Worst Enemies for more details.
Rotate your rug
Every 6 -12 months rotate your rug to help insure that it gets even wear, and to keep any fading more evenly distributed. Every rug fades, the best thing you can do to combat fading is rotate it so that all parts of the rug get exposed to the sun and will then fade more evenly. When one corner of the rug gets more traffic than all the others it tends to show wear more quickly. If you rotate your rug the wear will be more evenly distributed.
If your rug does show signs of wear, such a fraying ends, separating edges or pile loss it's good to get ahead of the damage and have it repaired sooner rather than later. For more information on our repair services visit Repairs and Restoration.
Have it professionally cleaned.
When your rug starts to look dirty overall, that's a sign that it's time to get it professionally cleaned. Depending on where a rug is located and how much traffic it gets, it may require professional cleaning every year (kitchen rug) or once every 10 years (bedroom rug). DO NOT use steam cleaners on wool rugs, they can damage the rug and negatively effect the appearance of the surface of the rug. Bring your rug to a professional cleaner who can help you determine if your rug needs to be surface cleaned or hand washed. Bradford's Rug Gallery offers cleaning services and can help you determine when to have your rug professionally cleaned and which cleaning method is best.
Enjoy your rug!
Once you have your first spill, and clean it up successfully, you'll feel more confident about keeping your wool rug looking beautiful. It's not as difficult as you might think!
Questions? Please contact us!