The Consumer’s Guide To Rug Cleaning (And Why Your Rugs Shouldn’t Be Cleaned In Your Home)
People have been beating, cleaning and washing their rugs for centuries.
Although a high quality rug is a beautiful addition to any home, they are also dirt magnets and require regular maintenance and cleaning in order to preserve their condition and look their very best.
There are various methods of cleaning a rug. Some carpet cleaners may use the same equipment as they do to clean your carpets and suggest cleaning your rug in situ. After all, it’s convenient – and likely to be cheaper than taking away your rug to clean off-site.
But in most cases this isn’t the best approach to cleaning a high quality rug (or indeed any rug).
In this post, I’ll attempt to explain how you can maintain and improve the appearance and the value of your rugs, while discussing our preferred method of rug cleaning.
How to care for your rugs
The most important thing you can do to preserve the condition of your rugs is to vacuum them regularly – at least once per week.
This will help prevent abrasive dust working its way down to the base, causing the wool to wear to down over time (the photo below shows the debris beaten out of a long pile rug we cleaned!)
Another important point, is to remember to turn your rug over on a clean surface and vacuum the back of the rug. You’ll often find that this will release a lot of dust from the backing.
To remove the dust, simply pull the rug away from the cleaning area and sweep or vacuum up the debris, before repeating the process, often several times – until no more soil is being released from the rug.
If you regularly vacuum your rugs, you’ll prevent fiber damage and they’re going to last much longer.
Should you remove spillages and stains yourself?
Well, there are some common stains that may be present on cheaper polypropylene rugs that can be successfully removed if you have some basic stain removal knowledge…
But we generally recommend (at the very least) that you consult a professional rug cleaning company for advice before adding any chemicals to your rugs (and definitely DO NOT use cheap supermarket stain removal products!)
The common problems with getting your rugs cleaned at home by your local carpet cleaner
It can be tempting to get your rug cleaned by your local carpet cleaning company while they are already in your home cleaning your carpets.
And if your large lounge carpet is only costing £x to clean, then doesn’t it stand to reason that a quick whip over your small rug with a carpet cleaning wand will only cost a small fraction of that amount?
Well, if that’s how they’re going to clean it, then it probably will only cost you a fraction of a large lounge carpet clean – and granted, there may be some occasions when this basic method is all that’s required (ie if your rug has been recently cleaned off site and there are just a couple of simple fresh stains to remove…)
But most rugs benefit enormously from being cleaned off site because it enables them to be dusted (or “beaten”), vacuumed, wet-cleaned and dried far more effectively.
If your local carpet cleaner is simply vacuuming, spraying and hot water extracting, then your rug will not be thoroughly cleaned, and may take an excessive amount of time to dry.
The most effective way to clean rugs
We believe most rugs should be cleaned out of the home – and that valuable / wool rugs should NEVER be cleaned in the home. Doing so compromises results while lengthening drying time significantly (potentially causing structural and odor issues).
Here’s how we believe most rugs should be professionally cleaned:
Rug inspection & testing
Before any cleaning takes place, your rug should be assessed to check there is no structural damage to the rug or its fringes.
The dyes of your rugs should then be tested for colorfastness. This will determine the ideal cleaning process to use, along with the most suitable cleaning solutions.
Upon inspection, a rug may have several types of stain that need specialist treatment. This requires the knowledge of a professional who is used to treating and removing stains safely.
Correctly identifying the cause of a stain is important because it means that there is a better chance of removal, while also helping to avoid “setting” the stain, thereby making it permanent.
The first rule of any good rug cleaning technician should be to cause no damage to your rugs.
Dusting & vacuuming:
Rugs should always be thoroughly dusted to remove ingrained dust and debris.
There are many methods of achieving this.
A good beater bar vacuum cleaner will do a nice (if somewhat time consuming) job…
Some carpet cleaning companies may operate expensive dusting machines that vibrate and that are moved across the surface of the rug.
Or there’s simply the good old fashioned method of rug dusting:
No matter the method, all dry soil must be extracted from the surface and base of your rugs – via dusting and vacuuming – before they are to be wet cleaned.
Cleaning & rinsing
Once your rug has been dusted and any individual stains identified and treated, it is ready for water to be introduced and for it to be pre-sprayed / submerged with a specialist rug cleaning solution that helps break down soiling and prevent colours from running.
This process requires the use of a wet floor area or rug cleaning pit and cannot be performed in your home (unless you’re happy to have inches of water running over your flooring!)
In most cases, the rug will then be agitated and washed with a rotary with specific rug brushes attached or a rug cleaning machine that removes dirt and grime.
Here’s a great example of this process in action:
Once the rug has been thoroughly cleaned, is then rinsed and flushed with clean water, before special attention is paid to cleaning and grooming the delicate fringes.
Extraction & drying
There are various tools that can be used to extract moisture from rugs before the final drying process.
A good carpet cleaning machine with a wand attachment can be suitable for carrying out this process; as can a water claw or centrifuge drying machine.
The most important thing is that as much moisture as possible is removed before the rug is laid or hung to dry.
Some rugs benefit from being laid flat to dry, while others are able to be hung on racks using piping that prevents marking or creasing your rugs.
In almost all cases, the drying time should be minimized by utilizing powerful air movers and dehumidifiers.
Final rug inspection & packing
Once your rug has been cleaned and dried, it is time for it to be given another careful inspection.
Has the rug retained its structural integrity?
Are there any remaining stains that should have been removed during the cleaning process..?
Indeed, some stubborn stains may require additional treatment.
Once your rug cleaning technician is happy that your rug has been thoroughly cleaned and dried, it is important to protect it from any contamination and dust in the atmosphere.
Your rug should be rolled and wrapped in clean plastic, or other protective packaging, ready for delivery or pick-up.
I really hope you’ve learned a little something about rug cleaning from this post, and why you might benefit from having your rugs professionally cleaned outside of your home.
For a free quotation for rug cleaning in Cardiff and throughout South Wales, call us today on 0800 028 2788 0r 07530 532208