All rugs and carpets require specific care in order to keep their appearance and lengthen their lifespan.
There is minor but important differences in caring for machine made and handmade rugs, if done properly you can add considerable life to your rug.
Prevention is better than a cure as the saying goes, so we have compiled a list of ways in which you can prevent your rugs ever getting damaged:
Avoid your rug (and floors) getting dirty by protecting entrances to your home with dedicated barrier mats.
Consider a “no shoes ” policy in your home. This will also protect hard flooring and carpeted areas. (In many countries this is the norm)
If possible rotate your rug periodically to distribute the areas of heavy traffic.
Never place rugs on damp or wet floors
We also recommend the use of a rug underlay to prevent colour transfer onto existing floor coverings and hard floors, rucking problems and tripping hazards on hard flooring.
Some rugs have manufacturers care labels attached when purchased so you should always read and follow the supplier’s guidelines and recommendations.
VACUUMING - BRUSHING
Regularly vacuuming your rug is fundamental in prolonging the life, preventing premature wear and ensuring your rug retains its appearance, in busy areas we recommend daily vacuuming.
With these rugs suction-only type of vacuum should be used. You should never use a beater bar on the surface of these types of rugs.If you are using an upright vacuum with a beater action ensure the brushes are on the highest setting and just skimming the surface of the rug. Extra care is needed at the edges of the rug by using delicate tools or a soft hand brush.
Handknotted rugs should occasionally be placed pile side down,vacuum the back of the rug , turn pile up and re vacuum,this loosens ingrained dirt particles from the base of the pile and will extend the life and appearance of the rug. Fringes can be straightened out by hand with a comb or soft brush or with the use of the vacuum tools using a single motion away from the rug.
For shaggy rugs shake the rug to loosen any grit or loose fibres and by using tools on the lowest setting it will help to minimise the excessive shedding usually associated with these types of rugs, especially the felted wool fibres.
MACHINE MADE RUGS
These types of rugs with a cut pile should be vacuumed with cleaners that have beater bars or brushes. This will keep the pile upright and loosen any grit in the base of the pile.
Periodically, the rug should be turned pile down and the back of the rug should be vacuumed with an upright cleaner. The beater bar set low to loosen any grit in the pile. The rug should then be turned the correct way and vacuumed as above.
Natural Fibre, Sisal and Loop Pile Rugs
For these rugs a ’suction only’ type of vacuum should be used. It is important to never use a beater bar on the surface of these types of rugs.Natural plant fibre rugs react badly with moisure and should never be over wetted ,even clear water can stain these types of rugs.
When delivered your Sheepskin rug may have been tightly packaged so the wool may appear flattened and crushed.Wool fibres are very resilient and will bounce back to their original springy appearance.A vigorous shake will help restore the soft, fluffy appearance of the wool. Any fold marks from packaging will disappear once the skin has been removed from the package for several days.
Should you wish to store your Sheepskin at any time, place it in a cool airy place avoiding direct sunlight. Packaging in plastic bags for an extended period of time is not recommended as the Sheepskin fibres will not breathe and condensation may occur in warm conditions.
Machine or hand wash your sheepskin in warm water(38°C/100°F) using a mild liquid detergent. Spin to remove excess water. Colours should be professionally drycleaned only.
Dry your Sheepskin flat or on a line and stretch to shape while damp. Keep away from direct sunlight and artificial heat. Do not tumble dry your Sheepskin. Take care not to place the Sheepskin on a radiator, steam pipe or in front of a fan heater as this may damage the Sheepskin. Do not iron or bleach the Sheepskin.
After washing, the wool may revert back to its natural curly state. You can help restore the fluffy appearance by brushing the wool while it is wet and again when it is dry. A wire brush or comb is suitable.
SPILLS AND CLEANING TIPS
Firstly, you should NEVER RUB OR OVERWET the surface pile of a rug. The correct way to approach a spillage or mark is to blot the area with a clean, absorbent cloth or white paper towel. Try not to make the spillage area larger.
Secondly, you should scrape up any excess spillage with a blunt knife or spatula.
Before using any cleaning products on your rug, you should always ’spot test’ the rug to ensure the solution you are using will not damage or bleach the fibres of the rug. Washing up liquid, abrasive cleaners or caustic solutions (including some carpet cleaning products) contain bleaching agents and these can damage the pile of your rug, so it’s important to find the correct cleaning solution.
We have used Woolclean products and various solutions used for washing woollen clothes such as sturgene and pre wash sprays such as "De-solv- it " " Dr Beckmans Stainslayer " " Mohawk Carpet Cleaner " successfully and find they give good results and do not harm the fibres.
Always apply the cleaning solution to a plan white cloth or towel rather than spraying directly onto the surface of the rug.
Always brush the pile so the affected area is the same direction as the rest of the rug.
If you are not confident in tackling a spill seek professional advice.
PILE SHEDDING - FLUFFING
It is completely normal for cut pile rugs and carpets to shed excess fibres when new, the loose fibres are created during production when spun yarn is cut for tuft formation. These fibres fall into the pile and appear as "fluff", shedding will eventually subside in time. The time will be dependant on the amount of maintenance and traffic the rug is subjected to. A daily maintenance regime when the rug is new will reduce the amount of fluff on the surface of the pile and also help with long term appearance. Although the amount of fluff removed may seem excessive the fibres are a very small fraction of the total fibre contained in the rug, removal of these loose fibres will not be detrimental to rug in any way. Generally speaking wool will shed more than other fibres, although high quality handknotted rugs tend to shed the least due to the quality of the wool and the washing process used. Shedding is not the same as sprouting, see below for details.
SPROUTING TUFTS - LONG THREADS- HIGH LOOPS
Especially noticeable on hand-tufted rugs, long threads, tufts or high loops may appear above the pile surface, these can be trimmed to the pile height with a sharp pair of scissors without being detrimental to the appearance or wearability of the rug in anyway whatsoever. Occasionally the odd tuft may come loose from the pile surface on hand tufted products this is quite normal when new and will not be detrimental to the appearance or wearability of the rug.
PRESSURE MARKS AND CREASES
On opening your rug for the first time, you may have creases and what appear to be darker or lighter bands running across the rug. If the creases are severe roll the rug with the pile facing outwards and leave in a warm area for a couple of hours, prior to laying on the floor. The creases may take up to a couple of weeks to drop out depending on the temperature of your room, amount of traffic and frequency of vacuuming. Sometimes a single line can be seen at only one edge of the rug where the edge of the rug has distorted the pile, this will disappear with time, accelerated with more frequent vacuuming or brushing.