Should My Rugs Be Cleaned In-Situ?

Should My Rugs Be Cleaned In-Situ?

 

During our twenty six years experience in the textile cleaning industry, we have realised that our customers form an emotional attachment with their beloved rugs.  Fitted carpets do not generate the same sentimental feelings.  Handmade rugs can take months to weave and the finished product should be thought of as a work of art.  Many designs can provide clues as to where the rug was constructed.  Typical designs have been passed down through generations, and some patterns are woven from memory, without following any guides.  The dyes in rugs are derived from many sources, including plants and insects, and they can be constructed with many different fibres including, wool, silk, cotton and viscose.

When considering all of the above it must be assumed, therefore, that rugs should not be cleaned in the same way as a fitted carpet.  Cleaning a rug in the home can cause irreversible damage to the face fibres, colours, fringe and foundation materials, while leaving much of the soil behind.

Potential Problems

Dusting

Dust Removed From Rug

Dust Removed From Rug

Rugs can hold pounds of dry soil before they begin to look dirty.  The biggest drawback to having rugs cleaned in your home is the lack of thorough dusting.  The rug dusting process requires the use of specialist equipment.  If not removed prior to cleaning then the soil will become wet and create mud at the base of the pile.  This will not be removed during the cleaning process and will cause drying times to be extended.  Mould and bacteria can also form, causing bad odours during drying.  Over time this could cause weakness within the rug's foundation and occasionally lead to dry rot.

No Dye Testing

Rug Colour Bleed Test

Rug Colour Bleed Test

Having rugs cleaned in-situ means there will not be enough time to perform a thorough colour bleed test.  We carry out a 24 hour bleed test at our facility - the results of which determines what chemistry and cleaning techniques will be implemented to best care for each rug.  Every rug is different and requires an individual, tailored for service depending on the problems associated with it.  Alkaline cleaning products can cause the acid dyes to become unstable, and in turn cause the dyes to migrate.  There is not usually anywhere appropriate to facilitate effective drying, therefore colours can also bleed on to carpeted or wooden surfaces underneath.

Hot Water

Colour Bleed In Rug Fringe

Colour Bleed In Rug Fringe

Carpet cleaning machines will generally use hot water to clean carpets.  Woollen rugs should ONLY be cleaned using cold water.  Hot water can damage the fibres and will increase the risk of colour bleed.

The rug in the picture was cleaned by a carpet cleaning company using hot water.  The colour did not run into the fringe immediately, but by the following morning the fringe had turned red.  Luckily we were able to resolve the problem, but it is not always possible to do so.

Fringe Cleaning

Rug Fringe Clean

Rug Fringe Clean

It is not possible to effectively treat fringes in-situ.  Most fringes are made with cotton and is the first area of the rug to look noticeably dirty.  After cleaning they will need to be suspended and exposed to forced air movement in a humidity controlled environment to achieve rapid drying.  If the cotton fringe takes too long to dry, then cellulosic browning can become an issue.

 

 

 

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