I had just that type of phone call. It lasted almost 15 minutes and boy did she get a lot of information about wool area rugs and repairs.
The simple question of, "Do we dry clean wool rugs?" lead to fringe replacement and then onto hand repairs. I love shocking people when I tell them that we can wet wash a wool rug. Almost daily I encounter a client that still believes that wool area rugs should not only never be cleaned, but should never be wet washed.
Here are some myths and truths about getting a wool area rug cleaned:
- Wool rugs will shrink-----only when cleaned improperly. After a wool rug is made it is placed in a pool of water and scrubbed. Wool rugs are made to withstand cleaning.
- Wool rug will felt up like a sweater when washed-----since the wool on a rug doesn't rub against itself like a sweater in the wash it doesn't felt and tangle up. Cleaned correctly a wool rug looks the same after cleaning just with a lot less dirt.
- Beating out the dirt like grandma did is all a rug needs----that is one step, but what about the oily dirt that sticks to the bottom of the wool fibers? This is harder to remove by just a good whacking with a broom. FYI: Luv-A-Rug's first step in cleaning is turning a rug upside down and vibrating the rug to remove the loose insoluble dirt before we even touch the rug with water.
- Cleaning a wool rug will wear away the fibers-------not true at all, it is the dirt that sits at the bottom of the fibers that wears away the rug. Getting your rug professionally cleaned helps your rug last longer.
- Wool rugs only need to be cleaned when they look dirty or when it gets a stain---waiting years or decades to clean your rug is doing more damage than cleaning ever would. The loose dirt your rug collects every day rubs against the fibers and cuts them away making your rug look older than it is.
- Wool rugs should never be vacuumed----not only should they be vacuumed often to remove the loose dirt they should also be turned upside down and vacuumed. Using a rotating/beater bar vacuum on the back of your rug loosens the deep dirt and you get out so much more dirt. For the top of the wool rug use suction only as the rotating/beater bar pulls the small wool fibers and wears away the rug faster.
- Wool rug is the same as synthetic carpet and can be cleaned the same way-----NO! wool rugs are completely different and need to be treated as such. Using many stain removers or cleaners from a hardware//grocery store can ruin a wool rug. Most of the stain and carpet cleaning products are made for synthetic only. If the label does not say wool safe IT IS NOT FOR WOOL.
- Wool rugs can be cleaned in home along with my carpet------Again NO! If a wool rug isn't cleaned and dried properly it can damage your floor, cause mold/mildew to grow, cause your rug to rot, colours to bleed, the rug to shrink or smell bad. Professional cleaners know that to fully clean an area rug it must be done in a rug cleaning facility NEVER in your home.
I recently read that there isn't a science to cleaning a wool rug, but there is a soap science. Professional cleaners have the knowledge to know the boundaries of wool and what can be used to clean it.
Don't be afraid to ask the questions about how the company such as: how they cleans rugs and more specifically wool rugs, how long has the company has been cleaning area rugs (not carpet, but specifically area rugs), how the company treats specific trouble problems (pet urine, red wine, moth damage, flood damage).
You invested a lot into your rug make sure the company who cleans it has invested a lot into knowledge and training about area rugs.
Thanks for reading, RugloverMary