All rugs need some measure of care to maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan. Attention to a few simple details will help you to ensure that you get the best value and continuing pleasure from your rug. Carpets are generally cared for using the same basic principals as rugs, so you can use this advice on maintenance where you feel necessary.
- Use a good quality rug underlay. This will not only minimise possible injury from tripping or slippage, but will also protect your rug from impact and abrasion damage. It will also prevent colour transfer to underlying surfaces in damp or humid conditions.
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause fading and bleaching of colours, particularly in rugs where natural dyes have been used. If it is not possible to protect your rugs from sunlight you could try moving them around or rotating them periodically to even-out fading effects.
- Where the level of traffic over parts of a rug varies, rotating the rug periodically will also help to distribute the wear and maintain uniformity in the rug’s appearance.
- After cleaning hard flooring, always ensure that the surface is completely dry before replacing rugs.
- Use barrier mats at external doorways to prevent excessive dirt being carried onto decorative rugs.
- Wear slippers or slipper-socks indoors as these will help prevent soiling and softer soles will cause less abrasion damage to rug fibres.
- Remove any loose soil or dirt from the surface of the rug as quickly as possible, do not allow it to be walked, or crushed into the pile, which makes cleaning more difficult and shortens rug life.
Regular vacuuming is essential in maintaining your rug’s good looks and lifespan as ingrained dirt and grit can seriously damage rug fibres in addition to affecting colours and general appearance.
- Use a vacuum with strong suction to penetrate the pile and remove particles
- Vacuums with beater bars are not recommended for shaggy rugs, handmade rugs or rugs with fringes.
- Cyclonic vacuums should be used with caution on some wool rugs, please ask if in doubt.
- Keep vacuum brushes clean and look out for rough edges on the equipment which might damage the pile.
- Wool rugs should be vacuumed at least three times per week. N.B. All new wool rugs shed some fibres for several months, this is normal and will eventually stabilise overtime.
Handmade rugs should be vacuumed using a suction-only cleaner. Turn hand-knotted rugs face down and vacuum the back surface to loosen dirt at the base of the pile, then turn the rug face up and vacuum again. Fringes are less likely to be damaged by using a nozzle attachment and vacuuming away from the rug.
Loop pile rugs
Loop pile rugs should be vacuumed with a suction-only cleaner. Vacuum cleaners with a beater bar should never be used. Loop pile rugs should not be brushed as this may damage fibres in the loops.
Machine Made Rugs
Clean machine made rugs with a cut pile, by turning the rug face-down and vacuuming with a cleaner with beater bars set at the lowest setting to dislodge dirt at the base of the pile. Turn face-up and vacuum again using the beater bar machine.
Shaggy rugs benefit from a good shaking outdoors to loosen dirt and grit before vacuuming, although this is not feasible with larger sizes. Vacuum with a suction-only cleaner, brushes and beater bars can cause fibre damage and pulling and unravelling of the yarn with significant consequences for the appearance and life-span of the rug. Keep changing direction as you vacuum as moving the pile around helps dislodge dirt and grit.
CLEANING AND STAIN REMOVAL
Commercial cleaning materials may contain bleaches, caustic, or abrasive materials which may damage the colour or fibres of a rug. For this reason it is advisable to contact the manufacturer of your rug for advice before attempting to clean severe extensive soiling or staining.
Prior to using any cleaning materials, spot-test them on an inconspicuous part of the rug to ensure that there is no risk of irreversible damage.
Tips for dealing with everyday soiling and spillage
- Scrape up any solids or semi-solids with a plastic spatula.
- Never rub the surface of a rug and avoid spreading the soiling or stain.
- Absorb liquids by blotting with kitchen towel, toilet paper or a clean dry cloth.
- Dampen the stain with clean warm water and blot dry.
- If staining persists try mixing a little non-biological, bleach-free laundry detergent with warm water, sponge this gently onto the stain without rubbing and leave for 5-7 minutes. Rinse three to four times with clean warm water, blotting after each application to ensure that all residue is removed.
- Vacuum in the normal manner when the rug or carpet is completely dried.