All rugs and carpets require specific care in order to keep their appearance and lengthen their lifespan. There are minor but important differences in caring for machine made and handmade rugs, if done properly you can add considerable life to your rug.
General Rug Maintenance
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:
Some rugs have manufacturers care labels attached when purchased so you should always read and follow the supplier’s guidelines and recommendations.
Suction-only type of vacuum cleaners should be used to clean handmade rugs. You should never use a beater bar on the surface of this type 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.
Hand-knotted 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. 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 should be set to low speed 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 to moisture 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 dry-cleaned 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.