Area rug cleaning is a topic with very little accurate information readily available on the web. Below are just a few of the questions we see regarding rugs.
• Can my rugs be spot cleaned the same as my installed carpet?
• Can I use the same products and procedures to maintain my rugs as my installed carpet?
• Can urine and stains be removed from area rugs?
• Can my rugs be cleaned in home?
• What does it cost to clean my area rug?
• What should I look for when buying an area rug?
First, let’s break rugs into 2 general categories – synthetic and natural fiber (including blends).
One of the most common synthetic fiber used in rugs today is polypropylene. Nylon and polyester are also common synthetics. Many of the rugs from a Home Depot, Lowe’s and other big box stores are manufactured with one of these fibers. We can perform burn tests with a sample fiber to confirm, but start with the manufacturers tag typically located on one of the corners on the rug backing to identify fiber type. Most synthetic rugs can be cleaned with the same chemistry, temperature and technology as a residential installed, nylon, polyester or olefin. Care must be taken with edges and fringe, but spot removal and cleaning is typically accomplished through hot water extraction (steam cleaning) and can be performed in home. While more expensive than cleaning installed carpet, synthetic area rugs are relatively inexpensive to clean. Lifespan and characteristics are the same as synthetic installed carpets.
Wool, silk and cotton are some of the more common natural fibers used in rug manufacturing for 100’s of years. Hand-knotted, Machine Woven and Hand-Tufted rugs are the most common. There are some semi-synthetics that must be treated as natural fibers as well that are outside the scope of this article. Dense natural fiber rugs, unlike synthetic, have the ability to hold pounds of dry soil while looking clean. Natural fiber rugs are also more prone to dye bleed and color loss when subjected to heat or alkalinity and sometimes moisture. These characteristics affect how these rugs are cleaned. See more detail about our “Rug Spa” cleaning process here towards the bottom of the poage. This means only wool safe products should be used on wool fiber rugs. Most grocery store spotters should NOT be used on your natural fiber rugs. Risk of color loss, dye bleed and fiber damage are real considerations. While maintaining these rugs is more complicated and more expensive, this is because they can last a lifetime. Wool is naturally fire-retardant, wear resistant and simply a different caliber of textile. It is more of an investment than a polypropylene rug. Unfortunately, the manufacturing process of these rugs is not regulated or restricted, so low quality copies have sprung up in import stores everywhere. While the look may be similar to a high end rug, cleaning can be a real challenge and should be left to the experts. A $500 Pottery Barn Rug may be more challenging and risky to clean than a 50 year old antique rug worth $10,000. Purchase cost does not dictate clean cost. A relatively inexpensive wool tufted rug may cost close to replacement value to clean because of what’s involved, but remember you likely spend more dry cleaning your dress shirt over it’s lifetime than the shirt cost, without thinking twice. If it’s an inexpensive rug that you’re not particularly crazy about, you may choose to treat is as disposable. But if you value the time you spent hunting for that perfect color mix and pattern for your decor, it may make sense to bite the bullet and have it professionally cleaned to avoid the hassles of disposal and replacement. PLEASE don’t have your wool rugs steam cleaned. Professional cleaning can range from $3-6++ per square foot and should only be trusted to a company that knows how to handle your investment properly.
ALL RUGS should be vacuumed frequently. If you’re curious how much dry soil your natural fiber rug is hiding, flip it face down and vacuum the back. You will be amazed at what that minor vibration from the beater bar will shake out of your rug. This means it’s time for a professional clean! Synthetics show their soil much more readily. Spot cleaning for any type of carpet is difficult unless the carpet or rug has just been cleaned. Too often, after the rug dries, customers see a nice clean spot where the spot was removed and a full clean is needed. It’s also important to rotate your rugs to vary the traffic pattern and exposure to sunlight to balance the wear. A quality felt rug pad will extend the life of your rug and provide a more “quality” feel. We can treat most stains and odor including urine if you don’t wait too long. When selecting a rug, keep in mind that synthetics are cheaper to maintain and more stain resistant, but have a much more limited lifespan and lower quality feel. Kids rooms and patios are more suited for synthetics. Natural fiber rugs can compliment a decor like a piece of fine furniture without breaking the bank. From $200-$20,000+, these rugs can vary in quality and craftsmanship but will typically outlast a synthetic fiber when properly maintained. It’s not uncommon to see a hand-knotted wool rug passed through 3-4 generations.
Give us a call for a free estimate on any of your rug cleaning needs. We can also offer advice on what type of rug to purchase for various uses. 817-56CLEAN (25326)