Wool rugs are incredible heirlooms, woven in their original state to be preserved and provide comfort and beauty for hundreds of years. In the rug industry today, they are not considered to be true antiques unless they were woven before 1900- well over a hundred years ago! They are truly made to last, and when properly maintained and cared for, they can do just that. But if a rug is left in the wrong conditions, it can take less than a year for that heirloom to become tatters. What are the wrong conditions, and how can you prevent them? Keep reading to find out!
The worst damage that occurs to rugs generally takes place while they are in storage. Of course, this makes sense- bugs enjoy dark, quiet, undisturbed places to settle in and munch on some rug fibers. Rugs need to be regularly examined to make sure that there isn’t an infestation of bugs, but the signs of damage are fairly easy to spot- white patches where the fibers are worn away to the foundation. Before storing your rugs, make sure they are completely cleaned, which will help prevent bugs, and also that they are never wrapped in plastic. They should also be treated with a protective treatment in addition to the cleaning.
Rugs in use
While rugs are being used, the damage will likely be formed underneath large pieces of furniture- couches, bookshelves, armchairs- because this also creates a dark environment for bugs to congregate and makes it difficult to clean when the rug is difficult to access. Again, check for white patches where the top layer has been eaten away, or ‘bald spots’ where areas of bare white foundation show through. You should also look for sticky webbing that may indicate cocoons or insect larvae.
Bugs not known for eating fabric and carpets (moths or silkworms) can be attracted to rugs by spilled food, drink, or other debris in the carpet they find tempting to eat. Silverfish, termites, and other insects will eat the rug just to get at whatever is in the fibers, which is why it is so important to clean up any spills or crumbs as soon as possible. For this reason, rugs should also be professionally cleaned every 1-3 years, depending on how often (and effectively!) you vacuum, how much traffic the rug gets, and the quality of the fibers in the rug itself. Another substance that heavily attracts bugs is pet urine, so even if you have cleaned up an ‘accident’ area well, it may still be time to bump up the date of your next cleaning.
So, what can you do in a nutshell to keep your rugs in tip-top shape?
- Vacuum your rugs well and often to clean up and crumbs or debris that could attract insects
- Have your rugs professionally cleaned every 1-3 years, increasing the frequency for large amounts of foot traffic, spills, or urine
- Make sure you treat pet urine stains well to prevent discoloration
- Store rugs properly by keeping them clean and dry, treating them before storage, and avoiding using plastic to wrap them
At All-star chemdry, we are here to help you keep your home in excellent shape, and that includes your rugs! If you need a professional cleaning, treatment for pet urine, or anything else to keep them clean and beautiful for years to come, give us a call and let us help you out!