Archive for April 2012

Wool Rugs For Your Home

Finding a qualified cleaner to handle professional cleaning of Oriental rugs, Persian rugs and wool carpets can be tricky. Here’s how to do it.

If you have wool, silk or other natural fiber rugs down on the floors they need to be serviced more often than you may think.  These rugs and carpets are made out of colored “yarns’ and either hand-knotted or woven into the final product, which is a rug or carpet.

The Woolsafe organization recommends regular cleaning in order to maintain a beautiful appearance for many years.  Most people get this cleaning only when the piece or room looks dirty.  Actually the fibers need professional maintenance more often, because soils that won’t vacuum off will adhere to yarns and permanently stain them, as those particles act as a vegetable dye on the fibers. Whether a machine-made area rug or a fine hand-knotted Persian or other Oriental rug, caring for it is a worthy investment.

But that begs the question “who should I hire?” and “what method should be used?”

It’s well worth looking into the Woolsafe organization, who trains and approves companies, technicians, and cleaning products for safe and effective cleaning of wool rugs, carpet or upholstered furniture.  First of all, a Woolsafe certified rug and carpet cleaner is the best choice. These are called “approved fabric care specialists,” and the companies who are certified are called “Certified Operators.” To qualify for the Woolsafe instruction, testing and certification, the following criteria must be met:

  • A  company owner must have been in the carpet and upholstery cleaning business for at least five years.
  • Must be currently certified by the Clean Trust (formerly IICRC)
  • Must have current business license and liability insurance and workman’s comp for employees.
  • Must exclusively use Woolsafe approved and pretested products in cleaning operations when cleaning wool
  • Must ensure the highest technical and business practice standards in carpet and upholstery cleaning

As to the question of the cleaning methods, several have been approved by the organization. For Oriental rugs or wool rugs with no secondary backing, when appropriate, the most thorough method is the “full water immersion” method. This is where the rug is “dusted” to shake our most of the dust, then vacuumed, then shampooed in an approved detergent, then completely rinsed in a large fresh-water bath.  Next comes water extraction, forced-drying and grooming.

Of course with this method, a huge amount of training knowledge and skill must first be acquired by the cleaning operator. Several other less invasive methods are also approved by Woolsafe , such as hot water extraction.

In conclusion, finding a reputable wool rug and carpet cleaner is much easier when you know the right resources to go through.

Getting Area Rugs Repaired

Oriental rugs, Persian rugs and other natural-fiber area rugs are popular for decorating floors and even walls around the world. By the way, the definition of an Oriental rug is: any area rug which is 100% natural fiber and 100% hand-made.  Because of foot traffic and environmental circumstances, these rugs invariably become worn on surfaces, edges, and corners. Fringes, the foundation “warp” yarns that true Oriental rugs have hanging out of  the two  ends, become frayed and wear down to the nubs.

Can you repair them yourself? If you are good with needle and thread, it’s possible to do some minor repairs in some cases, such as repairing “over-casting,” the wrapping around the edge cords. You will need to find the right color of thread made out of the same materials, usually wool.

However, in most cases, a qualified Oriental and area rug cleaning facility is your best choice for having these rugs repaired. Minor to moderate repairs can include corner repair, edge over-casting, fringe stop-knot installation to prevent unraveling, and repair of small holes.

In more severe cases of damaged fibers or missing areas of material, a company who offers re-weaving may be necessary, and the repair could be quite time-consuming and costly.  A common problem is pet damage, such as dogs taking a bite out of the edge.  That particular problem is quite costly to have repaired, because there is nothing left, the entire section has to be totally re-knotted by the artisan, weaving in the correct pattern.

How can these rugs last longer without needing these costly repairs as frequently? Repair can be prevented by purchasing a custom-cut, cushioned pad made specifically for Oriental or other natural-fiber rugs. Your professional rug cleaning facility is your best bet for purchasing this product. Also, beware of clothes moths. They lay eggs and the hatched larvae eat holes in the back and front surfaces of the rugs.

To prevent moth infestation or minor moth “munching,” there are a few tips: first, don’t put your rug under your sofa, moths love the shade, but they hate light. They will lay their eggs in the shade. If you have a coffee table on your rug, move the table and vacuum at least once a week. Also, don’t  store your rugs in  garage or storage facility if you can help it. Moths often get into the rug, whether or not it has been wrapped, and lay eggs, causing infestation. At my company, we have seen rugs opened up after a few months of storage, and to the owner’s horror the thing is filled with these maggots and the rug is pretty much destroyed. One more tip to prevent moth damage: have your rugs cleaned at least every two years by a qualified local company who truly specializes in cleaning natural fiber rugs. For Oriental rugs, the full water immersion method is far superior because it washes out imbedded insect eggs.

Finally, keep an eye on your rugs, rotate them annually and for rug repair, choose a repair specialist with great credentials when needed.