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 overwetted, even clear water can stain these types of rugs.
Pure viscose and viscose blend rugs are increasingly popular, due to the fact that the viscose fibres are soft, shiny and silk-like in texture. Viscose is, however, a delicate fibre that requires careful care to maintain its looks and texture. Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with your rug’s care label to ensure that you are familiar with how to look after your rug. Generally, rugs containing viscose should be vacuum cleaned regularly, with a suction only vacuum cleaner; should not be washed or wet cleaned (as liquids can alter the texture and colours of your rugs), and should be rotated occasionally to ensure wear is equally spread. Please take special care to avoid getting the rug wet as even water can cause the rug to stain. Seek the advice of your local professional cleaner for any spills or stains and/or look out for products that are specifically suitable for viscose rugs (testing the product on a discreet area to ensure it is suitable for your rug first).
Wool is one of the most popular materials in handmade and machine made rugs. It is a warm, soft and durable fibre, that is used in pure form and as a blend (for example with viscose, polypropylene, polyester, sisal etc) in modern rugs’ manufacturing.
Shedding: Due to the nature of the wool fibre, the vast majority of new wool rugs are expected to shed throughout their lifetime, gradually reducing with time and proper care. This is particularly true of cut pile wool and wool blend rugs, which are expected to shed noticeably at the outset. Unless shedding causes a change in the rug pile appearance, this is not a defect or a quality issue with the rug.
Sprouting: To ensure an even surface, cut pile wool rugs are sheared either by hand or machine in the final stages of rug making. During this process, some of the strands get pushed back into the pile, spouting up when the rug is used and/or vacuum cleaned. As there are thousands of individual strands/threads in even small rugs, sprouting is also expected to occur with new wool (and also viscose) cut pile rugs. This is not a defect and can be easily remedied by cutting the sprouts to rug pile height with a sharp pair of scissors. Sprouts should not be pulled, as that can damage the pile.
Cowhide Leather Rugs
Rugs made from natural cowhide leather can be more delicate than and require slightly different care than smooth leather rugs. Here are some tips for taking care of and prolonging the lifespan of your cowhide leather rug:
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.