Photo by Curtis Adams
One of the best investments you can make in home decor is by purchasing a new wool rug. Not only do they work beautifully with any style of home design, but wools are durable and great heat-insulating materials too. The post-purchase experience of your new wool rug is just the beginning, but maintaining it lasts a lifetime. Wool contains lanolin that organically deters stains and dust mites as a natural, renewable fibre that prevents bacterial growth. However, these fibres have hollows and overlaps that can trap excessive dirt.
Sending out your beloved wool rugs to service it by professional cleaners come in handy. They undoubtedly restore your rug to its finest condition thanks to their years of experience and meticulousness despite the amount of money these carpet cleaners charge. You may not be comfortable with how much more you will need to spend on the cleaning service, especially with materials made from 100% pure wool. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing anything at all about your rug, given the significant amount of time and money spent thinking, researching and comparing prices from other stores before coming to a final decision. Nothing is ever an easy decision to make where it concerns spending quite a fortune off your disposable income. But, to only realise that your prized possession has been reduced to nothing more than just any other used carpets or mats within months, would be somewhat doing a disservice to your wool rugs.
Therefore, to protect your investment, it is important that you should care for it correctly be it a traditional or transitional Persian hand-knotted, flatweave or machine-woven rug. You don’t necessarily have to drain off your pockets anymore if you don’t want to, but devoting a good amount of your own time and energy doing the cleaning is worth every effort earned in the process. Hence, we do care for your rugs just as much as you do, and that is why we provide you with effective ways on how you can clean your wool rugs on your own.
Beat It Out
Before vacuum cleaners were invented, our ancestors from the bygone era had to clean off their rugs by beating it out with a good old fashioned carpet beater. This was, and still is a very effective method that helps loosens the dirt without pulling out the fibres. Homemakers quickly realized the amount of dirt reduced on their rugs every day, which then helped preserve this very traditional method even in today’s tech-dominated world that we live in.
Set up a laundry line or use firm clothes drying rack on your backyard to beat out the rug with a carpet beater if you're looking to invest time over money for a good work out, without the need for a professional cleaner. You could also use a wooden spoon instead as another good alternative too. This method might be tedious and time-consuming, but it is worth the effort saving a good handful of dollars on something else that might be urgently important in your life than waiting days or even weeks for your rugs be sent back from servicing, tossing and turning from sleepiness nights thinking if they’ll ever do a perfect job.
You might be asking yourself why would you spent so much time and money on that very same wool rug only to realize over the next month or so, that your rug has been shedding fibres all over itself. This is normal due to the nature of how wool fibres are woven and the rug won't become bare.
Regular vacuuming is crucial to preserving the loveliness of fibres, and the shedding will eventually fade away if you vacuum at least twice weekly after a month or two from the initial purchase. However, do not be taken in by the regularity too often as over-vacuuming will pull the natural wool fibres out of the rug. Moreover, you need to make sure that the vacuum has a high height, or else the fibres would be affected which can then lead to shrinkage and piling of your wool rug. You would only want to vacuum your rug from twice a week initially to just twice a month in the later stages for long-term care and maintenance.
We also recommend vacuuming the base of your rug every 2 months, and yes, not just on one but both sides of the rug every now and then to ensure that you have gotten rid of all the dirt completely. Do this safely by spreading your rug flat on the floor (make sure it has already been cleaned and mopped prior to placing the rug), or a clean sheet with the bottom side up and vacuum it carefully and delicately well before turning the rug over and vacuum the other side too. You can also use your kitchen floor, garage or any area where humidity will not damage the wool rug.
Shake Off the Dirt
If the thought of vacuuming is too daunting a task to handle, then it is time to remove the rug pad and give your rug a good wobble on your backyard. Shaking off the dirt from your rug is a great substitute over vacuuming. So give it a good shake outside and do also clean the flooring under the rug after shaking it, regardless of the rug pad supporting under it. Ask a friend or family member to help you out if your wool rug is extra-large i.e. 300 x 400cm. Just shake it out for 30 seconds to a minute and all the dirt will come off seamlessly. If you like to go one better after shaking it, leave your rug outside for a few hours to air it out depending on the weather forecast. You can go a step further than that by spraying a little Febreze before leaving it outside. What’s better than to have your wool rug smelling fresh off the laundry line before transferring that very same scent to liven up the ambience of your home.
Be careful not to let it get soaked and wet
It would be nearly impossible to dry the rug on your own once the wool is wet. The top layer of each individual wool fibre is water repellent or hydrophobic, however, the bottom layer attracts and retains water (hydrophilic). Your wool rug will produce an irreversible mould and mildew when it does not become bone dry quickly. One of the most important things to note is to avoid applying coloured soap for cleaning your wool rug, as the dye in the soap could stain light patterns on the rug. Instead, you should be using clear soap with a mix of gentle detergent solution. Simply do this by:
Step 1: Filling in a large bucket of cool water and add a tablespoon or two of a gentle detergent like Woolite or any form of homemade wool and wash and mix well. Then, fill a second bucket with clean and fresh cool water before dipping in with the sponge and gently scrub the rug by starting from one end.
Step 2: Afterwards, Dip the sponge into the detergent and water solution bucket. Work in a grid of about three feet by three feet and sponge on the cleaning solution using gentle pressure. Rinse out the sponge frequently as the soil is transferred from the rug. Do not over-wet the fibres. Wool is very absorbent and can take a long time to dry.
Step 3: Dip the clean sponge into the cool water bucket to rinse off from the area you've cleaned. Do not skip this step because any detergent left in the fibres will attract more soil. Blot the cleaned area with old towels to absorb any excessive moisture. Move to a new section and repeat the steps until the entire surface of the rug has been cleaned.
Step 4: Allow the rug to dry completely before placing it back on the rug pad. To speed drying time, hang the rug or elevate it to improve air circulation.
Get Rid of the Stains
Prompt treatment is the best thing you can do to protect your wool rug from inevitable spills and muddy footprints, especially when it is situated in high traffic areas. How you remove stains depends on what caused the problem. There are certain guidelines which you can follow for specific stains. On the other hand, there are three tips which can be useful in preventing stains on your rug.
Tip 1: Rubbing off fresh stain is a big no-no. It only pushes the stain deeper into the fibres, although mud is an exception as It may be easier to remove the stains after the mud has dried. Regardless, it is always better being safe than sorry and lift away any solids immediately with a dull edge like a spoon or spatula and blot up liquids with plenty of paper towels.
Tip 2: Avoid pouring any type of stain remover directly onto your wool rugs. Instead, place a dab of the cleaner on a white cloth and test it to make sure that it does not cause the colours to drain. This also helps avoid excess soapy residue left in the wool fibres.
Tip 3: Always adhere to strong recommendations from experts when using a stain remover for wool rugs with a gentle cleanser like Woolite, or even simple dishwashing liquid and lukewarm water. Add a few droplets of white distilled vinegar to help neutralize pet odours. Always avoid applying chlorine bleach, ammonia or even oxygen-bleach to a wool rug as such chemicals can damage the wool and cause draining of colours.
Rotating your rugs once every six months on a seasonal basis will help prevent discolouration and excessive wear patterns, matting from frequent foot traffic, excessive dirt in a particular area of spot and uneven fading from sunlight. This will help the rug last longer and develop an even patina overall. When a rug is partially covered by a couch, desk, or ottoman, the covered part will inevitably stay cleaner than the exposed portion of the rug.
Treat it like an additional member of your extended familyThere are many different styles and colours out there but nothing beats the uniquely artistic displays of wool rugs. These are one of a kind precious gems that are of great importance to be properly handled with care in longevity, to the point of transcending them into an inheritance that can be passed down from generation to generation