5 Things to Know About Rug Cleaning
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#1 – What Is My Rug Made Of?
#2 – How Is My Rug Constructed?
#3 – Does My Rug Have Any Preexisting Conditions?
#4 – There’s A Huge Difference Between Carpet Cleaning and Area Rug Cleaning
#5 – Cleaning Area Rugs In The Home Is Not Recommended
#1 - What Is My Rug Made Of?
Is your rug a natural fiber like wool, cotton, silk, jute, or sisal? Or a synthetic fiber like nylon, polyester, polypropylene, olefin, viscose or acrylic? The type of fiber will determine what kind of cleaning solution should be used. Using the incorrect cleaning solution on a natural fiber rug may damage it.
Often there will be a label on the back which lists the fiber content. If there’s no label, the fibers can still be identified by a veteran rug cleaner.
#2 - How Is My Rug Constructed?
Rugs are typically either woven, tufted or action backed. Using the wrong cleaning method can damage the backing.
Looking at the back of a rug will tell you the type of construction. If you can see the face pattern or knots on the back, it’s woven. If there’s a solid canvas-like material on the back of the rug which hides the face pattern, it’s tufted. If there’s a stiff, waffle pattern it’s action backed.
Woven rugs are the strongest and can generally withstand the most aggressive cleaning. Tufted and action backed rugs are more delicate and require a less aggressive cleaning method.
#3 - Does My Rug Have Any Preexisting Conditions?
It’s Important to know what kind of physical shape your rug is in. There’s a myriad of problems that can affect the way it’s cleaned. Backing materials can deteriorate and an improper cleaning can worsen the problem. Fiber dyes can deteriorate from time, sun exposure, pet accidents or chemical exposure. Pet accidents need to be brought to the attention of the rug cleaner. Most pet stains or odors are not removed by a regular cleaning. Special cleaning techniques, deodorizers and stain removers need to be used to eliminate these problems.
#4 - There’s A Huge Difference Between Carpet Cleaning and Area Rug Cleaning
You have several choices when having your area rugs cleaned. You could call a professional carpet cleaner, you could drop them off at your local dry cleaner, you could try to clean them yourself or you could call a professional rug cleaner.
Let’s examine the choices:
• Professional carpet cleaner: Every carpet cleaner will tell you he cleans area rugs, but how many of them really know what they’re doing, especially with natural fiber rugs? Some do, but most just clean your rug like it’s a regular carpet and that can be a costly mistake. I see carpet cleaners post all the time on Facebook and Internet groups for professional cleaners something along the lines of, “Help! I picked this rug up from my client and I have no idea how to clean it”! Or even worse, “I cleaned this rug and look how I damaged it! Can anyone tell me how to fix it?” Most of the time the answer is “Get your checkbook out. You just bought that rug, it’s not fixable”! Not very reassuring, is it? The knowledge required to navigate the tricky world of rug cleaning is far greater than just regular carpet cleaning. It’s very hard to damage a typical wall to wall carpet. It’s very easy to damage an area rug!
• Drycleaners: This can be a good choice or a very bad one, depending on the drycleaner. Some drycleaners will send their rugs to a professional rug cleaner, where they will be cleaned properly. The problem is you must bring the rug to the drycleaner, which can be difficult if the rug is large. Some drycleaners try to clean the rugs themselves, and that’s bad. Very few drycleaners have the knowledge or equipment to properly clean most rugs. I’ve personally seen several drycleaners try to clean rugs themselves and I just shake my head in disbelief. They’re doing their customers a disservice. Not only are they doing an inferior cleaning job, in some cases they’re damaging the rugs by using improper cleaning solutions and methods.
• Cleaning yourself: This is usually a bad idea. Unless your rug is a very inexpensive indoor/outdoor type of rug that is virtually bulletproof, there’s a chance you’ll do some damage to your rug.
• A professional rug cleaner: This is obviously the best choice. They will have the proper equipment and knowledge to clean a rug safely and thoroughly.
#5 - Cleaning Area Rugs In The Home Is Not Recommended
There are several problems with cleaning a rug in the home.
Natural fiber area rugs need to be cleaned with special cleaning solutions that will safely and gently clean the fibers. Most cleaning solutions for regular carpet are too harsh for natural fibers and can damage them. Few carpet cleaners will carry these special solutions on their truck.
Natural fibers can hold a tremendous amount of soil without looking particularly dirty. That’s why the first step in rug cleaning is a process called “dusting” the rugs. The rugs are placed upside down over a raised grid and mechanically vibrated to allow much of the heavy, dry soil to fall out. Then the rug is placed right side up and compressed air is forced through the rug, which blows away the fine dust. Now the subsequent washing of the rug will be more effective because most of the dry soil is removed. None off the above processes can take place in the home. Steam cleaning a rug in the home will never remove all the soil buried deep in the base of the carpet. That soil will prematurely wear the rug out by grinding away at the fibers like tiny bits of sandpaper.
After dusting the rugs, the best way to remove the remaining soil is to flush the rug with large amounts of water, which obviously can’t be done in the home. Many rugs absorb much more moisture than wall to wall carpet and consequently will take much longer to dry. Slow drying can cause rugs to look blotchy and fringe to darken. A professional rug cleaner will have the proper equipment in his cleaning plant to dry rugs quickly.
A dirty little secret that the average carpet cleaner doesn’t want you to know is that even if he takes your rug away for a “proper” cleaning, most of them will just take the rug back to their home or office and steam clean it there! You’re expecting a thorough, deep cleaning and you’re receiving a surface cleaning, which leaves most of the soil still buried deep in the base of your carpet.
To sum up, it’s important to use due diligence when selecting a rug cleaner. You want to use a company that has the knowledge, experience, training and equipment to clean your rug thoroughly and safely.
Lukashik Rug Cleaning
Main Office 815-464-7892 Cell 708-935-0149
Pricing: All prices are per square foot
How To Determine Square Feet: Measure the length and the width of the rug in inches, multiply the two numbers and divide by 144 to get the square feet. For example: the rug measures 66 inches wide by 84 inches long. 66 x 84 = 5,544 divided by 144 = 38.5 sq. ft. If the rug is a machine woven natural fiber like wool it would cost 38.5 x $2.60 = $100 to clean.