Wool Rug Cleaning

Wool rug cleaning tips; how to remove household stains from oriental rugs like tea, coffee, wine, blood, ink, ice cream, sugar, chewing gum, chocolate, and pet stains like urine and vomit.

Wool rug cleaning is easier than most people think. The primary solution will consist of A quarter cup of vinegar (white vinegar is preferable), a half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid or liquid laundry detergent, and a couple cups of warm water (not hot. However for specific stains you may need to be more precise, so here is a list of some common spills and how to successfully spot clean oriental wool rug with acid fast dyes:

1. Do Not try to spot clean varnish, lacquer, nail polish, lipstick or most colored makeup products. Candle wax and rust also will require an expert carpet cleaner. There are a few other household spills that can’t be effectively treated at home with spot cleaning solutions, like dry mustard, turmeric and saffron. Take your wool area rugs to a professional or call a carpet cleaning expert because you might cause more harm than good by attempting to do it on your own.

2. Pet stains like urine vomit or other odorous substances, as well as Coke, Pepsi and colored soft drinks, and black tea, coffee and red wine, can all be treated with a similar solution. Create a solution that consists of a tablespoon of detergent (the mildest ones will be dish liquid or liquid fabric cleaners. Hand wash wool liquids are ideal – like woolite, but don’t use the oxygenated ones on Persian or oriental wool rugs. Now add about a third of a cup or vinegar and mix that with two thirds of a cup of warm water. First use a towel or sponge to absorb the spill and remove any solid particles. Next use the above solution and using a toothbrush, fabric brush or even a soft hairbrush, work it into the pile and brush outwards – gently, try not to scrub back and forth, just brush like hair, always upward and out. When the stain is no longer visible, use towels to soak up the wetness. You may want to place something heavy on the towel to absorb as much liquid as possible.

The area must be dried completely within 24 hours or mold or bacteria may grow. If the carpet is small then take it outside and shake and let air dry, if it can’t be moved, try a fan or a hairdryer (SET ON COOL) and get the area as dry as possible as fast as possible. Once dry, vacuum the entire area to restore nap and soft pile texture.

3. Wool rug cleaning solutions for blood are the most difficult if the carpet is a very light color and/or if the blood has been left to dry. The protein stains are grouped together and these include egg, blood, milk and sometimes things like mayonnaise or mayonnaise-based salad dressings that may also have egg, oil and some form of lactose ingredients. Ice cream also falls into this category if it’s made from milk or cream (popsicles and sherbets are another issue because they have colored dyes – try the above method instead). Milk chocolate is also considered a protein type stain, although pure cacao is more treated like coffee or tea.

So, for the protein type stains like egg, milk and blood, use this formula while attempting DIY wool rug cleaning: blend about two tablespoons of ammonia with a tablespoon of liquid detergent and add that to about a cup of warm water. Mix this solution well and then apply to the stain. This may need to be repeated several times, brushing the stain and blotting, applying solution, brushing gently and blotting. Rinse and repeat.

You can also use professional dry-cleaning solution or solvent but be sure that it’s not flammable. If the stain you’re treating is a mix of things that may contain oil be it natural like butter or olive oil or synthetic like tar or some petroleum derivative, you will have to use a solvent, preferably a pro-dry-cleaning solution that will dry quickly.

DO NOT BRUSH HARSHLY or rub or scrub when using solvent – only BLOT. Please ensure that the carpet fibers are dry right down to the backing before 24 hours, same as tip #2 above.

4. Chewing gum is one of those horrible nightmares to remove because it may penetrate the fibers of the carpet. You may not be able to get all of it, but at least as much as you can before going to a professional. The stickiness can be somewhat eliminated by using ice.

The idea is to freeze the gum but not soak the carpet with water, so use an icepacks or cubes wrapped in plastic so as to not get everything wet. You will need lots of ice because the gum must become so cold, frozen, that it turns brittle and can be broken off or chipped from the carpet fibers. The last little bits of gum that cling to the wool rug should be removed with a professional spot removal solution or you can try the vinegar and detergent mix.

5. Removing ink from a pen that’s spilled onto a wool rug is difficult, but can be tackled quite effectively with a little hairspray (try to use one that’s not perfumed). Spray the ink spot and then let it dry. Then spot clean using just vinegar and water and BLOT. Don’t scrub because ink tends to spread, which is why you’ve used the hairspray.

Dry Foam Rug Cleaning And Deodorizing Powders

Let’s talk about using dry foam and foam solutions for cleaning wool rugs. Perhaps the best way to clean any carpet or rug, especially wool ones, is to use the driest method possible. Dry foam isn’t necessarily dry when applied to the stain, but is called dry foam because the stain or dirt can be vacuumed up when the foam dries. The first step will be choosing the foam product or creating your own, then applying it to the stained region. Third, use an absorbent pad or cloth to soak up as much as possible. The last step is the vacuuming.

There are two products that have amazing customer reviews, both are Woolite products. Everyone says they work marvelously to remove stains, even wine, blood, pet urine and excrement, including the toughest stains and odors. The first product is the Woolite Heavy Traffic spray-on foam, which dries and can be vacuumed afterwards. The second is also called Heavy Traffic Rug Stick, which has a brush applicator. The only negative remarks by users of this product are that the chemical smell is persistent, and people sensitive to chemicals should refrain from using it. When using this intense carpet cleaning solution, maintain the room well ventilated, and wait for the smell to ease (although some people claim the chemical smell persists for up to 2 weeks). However, if you have a spill or pet accident, the Woolite products are a very affordable and effective means to remove stains from both Persian and oriental carpets and contemporary wool area rug flooring that may otherwise be ruined.

Three Cautionary Tips:

  1. First, we must address the issue of the latest Oxy (or oxygenated) cleaners. These types of foam products or spot cleaners should never be used on genuine wool rugs. The reason is that oxy cleaners are an alkaline solution and should not be applied to wool silk rug blends or pure 100 wool rug carpets. Please be aware that most say they are safe for wool, but please test a small area or a fringe before ruining your rug if you must use an oxygenated cleaner.
  2. The second issue is about the powders that are sold as cleaners and sometimes as deodorizers, especially those that are suppose to reduce tobacco and pet odors. While they may work on low pile carpets, they are never a good idea on fine wool area rugs or carpets because they leave residue within the fiber. It is not easy to remove once it’s ingrained in the carpet and can cause matted areas or what’s known as pilling.
  3. The third point pertains to never using hot water or extreme heat when cleaning wool. Wool area rugs can be hand washed, tossed in a bathtub and rinsed, put through a delicate cycle in the washing machine or even hosed down outdoors, but they should always be washed with cool to warm water, never hot, and they must be quickly and thoroughly dried immediately after. Even sheepskins can be washed, submerged in water, just that they must be shaken and dried rapidly thereafter, especially ensure they are dry on the underside before bringing them indoors and placing on the floor.

Wool is not as delicate as people assume, but it reacts adversely to four things:

  1. any alkaline solutions such as cleaning products that contain chlorine
  2. any extreme heat may cause felting, matting or damage the fibers
  3. excessive rubbing or agitating makes fibers break down and retain dirt
  4. wool must not remain wet longer than 24 hours as this may cause mold

Vacuuming A New Zealand Wool Rug With Thick Pile Vs a Loosely Woven Hand Tufted Persian Carpet

How you vacuum a hand tufted wool rug, a shaggy wool rug, a silk wool rug blend and a 100% New Zealand wool pile carpet, will not be exactly the same.

Pile and hand-tufted carpets that are of high quality ( are knotted well) and have quality wool fibers that are similar in length, will react very well to being vacuumed regularly with a machine that has a beater bar, which will help to lift dirt from the bottom of the fibers. Pills, which are formed by tangled little areas of loosened fibers can be cut away and therefore the carpet can be kept smooth and new-looking. However, vacuuming a shag wool rug, a sheepskin, a natural hand-tufted rug with a low knot count or oriental rugs that are not of high quality and loose a lot fibers, requires much more care, perhaps a vacuum without rotary brushes any pounding, just good suction with a gentle wand or light brush. Although fussy surfaces and some shedding is natural for all wool rugs, the shag styles and the long haired natural sheepskins may loose too much hair if vacuumed too intensely, too often. In fact, it’s better to shake small rugs vigorously and even wash more frequently than it is to vacuum the long hair or shag designs.

That is true about long hair, natural wool rug designs and sheepskins, however the opposite is the case when it comes to well knotted, closely woven and fine Persian carpets and oriental rugs that are cut pile or even medium thick pile. These wool area rugs and carpets should be vacuumed and the top layers of fuzz lifted. This will not damage the rug, as it is very natural for them to become fuzzy on the surface and this is perfectly okay to vacuum away two or three times per week. Just vacuum in different directions to get as much dirt as possible and to avoid a matted look.

Should Persian Carpets and Oriental Rugs Be Steam Cleaned

This will depend by whom, how often and using what products. If your Persian rugs or oriental carpets are heirlooms, naturally you’ll take them to be professionally cleaned. However, all good quality wool rug design, be they small or large, should be professionally cleaned because steam cleaning at home (if your rugs are 100% wool), and you’re using a rented unit that will heat water and cause steam that may damage the rugs and/or saturate the fibers with water that may not dry properly and cause mildew and mold to grow, or may use alkaline detergents or cleaning solutions that may deteriorate the fibers, simply isn’t worth it. Steam cleaning carpets in the DIY way, using rental machines or home carpet cleaners, is fine for synthetic fibers but not recommended for wool. Call the professionals.

Washing Your Wool Rug At Home

Small wool rugs can be cleaned at home without much fuss. Vacuum the rugs front and back. Take them outside and beat them if you must, but get as much of the loose dirt out while they’re dry as you possibly can. When nothing more comes out of the rug after beating, shaking and vacuuming, then you can use a mild wool rug shampoo, some ammonia and start washing. Rugs can be brushed, but try to do so with the nap not against it. Don’t scrub, brush it like hair. Rinse and repeat as much as necessary.

Natural Wool Rug Cleaning Secrets – It’s about Getting Them Dry, Dry, Dry

The secret to the success of wool rug cleaning will be in the drying. So, try to squeeze as much of the water out as possible and shake if you can, if it’s not too heavy. Lay it on a flat surface in the sunshine to air dry. Turn it over so the back dries also. When it is TOTALLY DRY, it may feel crisp or crunchy. Don’t worry, this is normal. Bring it inside and vacuum or brush it until it’s as soft as before.

Stop Those Colors From Running

By the way, if you have a Persian rug that is very colorful, or any wool rug that you don’t know how colorfast the dyes may be, try a small area first and see what happens using a vinegar and water solution first. You can stop most dyes from running by using vinegar. The same is true for spot cleaning colorful patterned wool area rugs. Use white vinegar and a teeny bit of liquid detergent and water. This should do the trick, even on pet stains.

The Professionals

Cleaning a flokati or shag rug can be done by hand in bathtub, but having a large Persian wool rug cleaned by hand should be done in a place that specializes in washing oriental carpets. Such places will do the washing by hand but they also have presses that squeeze the water from the rugs so that they dry quickly and the end results will be better than getting someone to come into the home.

Whether you have a contemporary wool area rug or lots of genuine handmade wool rugs from Persia, getting them cleaned at a professional center will help them to last longer. Dirt eats away at the wool fibers and carpets wear out faster when left over long periods of time unattended. Most large cities across the US have professional carpet cleaning services that come and pick-up your rugs and return them when they’ve been cleaned. This is not a cheap undertaking, with prices starting around $125 and going up to about $170, but expert carpet care service is worth paying for. Try to get a Scotchguard treatment done also to protect the rug from quickly getting soiled again. Remember that almost all carpets and area rugs are ore to getting dirty after a cleaning than they were when new. An anti-stain or anti-soiling treatment is advisable for all carpets that will placed in high traffic areas.

Protecting Wool Flooring

Here is some useful informa tion about the patented Scotchgard Protector Advanced formula that helps to repel liquids and stains from penetrating carpet fibers.

  1. The latest Scotchgard Protector Advanced Repel Technology is designed to protect the fibers not just on the surface but all the way to the backing. It acts a repelleant so that stains will not form so quickly, in other words if there’s spill the liquid will float on top and not penetrate the fibers to create a nasty stain. It’s therefore easier to quickly blot or wipe up the spill without a trace.
  2. Once the treatment has been applied, the carpets have a 10 year warranty that is good against most common household stains.
  3. It’s easier to vacuum carpets and area rugs that have been treated because the items that normally stick to the fibers are protected, so dirt and small items that might normally require more aggressive cleaning methods can be sucked up with regular vacuuming.
  4. The protection is applied with the professional pump and electric sprayers that the professionals use. It is safe to apply to wool rug designs that are large and small.
  5. When there’s a spill, the liquid will create beads and remain on the surface. Wipe away the spills easily, spot clean without scrubbing or brushing, and most importantly, without needing to saturate the carpets with water.

Keep your Persian or oriental hand tufted wool rug heirlooms, and your heavy traffic wool rug runners, protected and clean so they last the way they should.

For more information regarding buying high quality New Zealand Wool Rug designs, braided wool rugs and even specialty Tibetan and Chinese Rug creations that are unique, please browse related posts.

We offer advice and buying guides on antique and contemporary wool rug masterpieces as well as discount wool rugs from online shops that specialize in affordable flooring solutions.

We also offer suggestions of buying Carpet Underlay, especially in the UK, and also offer unique information on Stair Rods that are both ornate and practical. Although we love to help you decorate indoors, we’ve also researched how to make your patio, porch or deck more cozy with Outdoor Rugs that are weather-proof and durable against the elements.

If your looking for unique wool area rugs, shag rugs, flokati and sheepskins, we’ve got lots of recommendations for you, and if you need an elusive Iranian carpet, we show you where the best markets in the world are located and offer a description of Persian carpet motifs and weaves and even how they’re knotted, how to choose them and test them for quality, in the post entitled Contemporary and Classic Wool Area Rugs – Oriental & Persian Rugs.

For a guide to Kids rugs, we offer a selection of unusual ideas, especially for large round educational designs that are one of a kind in the post entitled Discount Kids Floor Rugs. And should you need a zebra rug, even a purple one, we know where to find them. We shop the world for you, so you can relax, snuggle up with a good book or stretch out in front of a fireplace on your very own carpet or area rug.

Categories: Uncategorized
Comments Off on Wool Rug Cleaning