Wool rugs are a huge investment, and not just in terms of money, but you also have to invest in quite some time and effort to keep the rug in a good shape.
Although hand-knotted wool rugs are highly-durable in comparison to their machine-made counterparts and often last for years on end, they can sometimes get damaged beyond repair if placed in wrong conditions, under the wrong furniture, or not cleaned properly.
How to keep your new rug safe from damage?
Read what our experts have to say!
What are a Wool Rug’s Worst Enemies? How to Keep it Safe?
For all their strength, longevity and durability, wool rugs are vulnerable to various things and environmental factors that can decrease their lifespan, cause them to lose color, or lead to wear and tear of rug fibers sooner than you’d imagine.
Whether it’s a handmade Gabbeh rug that you’ve invested in, a Caucasian carpet designed and crafted by expert weavers, or an inherently traditional Baluchi rug, when it comes to care and maintenance, all wool rugs are the same.
Good news is, you won’t have to stay vigilant round-the-clock or keep an eye on your rug 24/7. Prevention and regular care is all that’s required to keep your rug in a good shape.
What to prevent it from?
Here’s the list:
1. Water and Moisture
Yes, you read it right!
Although it’s advised you get your rug washed and deep cleaned at least once per year, washing any handmade rug at home is something we won’t recommend.
That’s because wool rugs don’t dry out easily, especially if you live in a humid or cold climatic region.
A rug that’s wet or moist would not only attract more dirt, but it will also start smelling really bad and can become home to mold within a few weeks.
And when that happens … there’s no way back!
To keep your rug safe, avoid getting it wet and always place it in a dry spot. In an unfortunate situation, make sure to dry out the rug properly by either placing it outside, or by opening all the windows and doors to increase the airflow in your room.
2. Direct Sunlight
The wool used for handmade rugs is often dyed with all-natural pigments extracted from plants and vegetables. Although these dyes never bleed, they can soften and fade over-time if exposed to direct sunlight.
While the naturally-dyed rugs don’t fade significantly, synthetically dyed ones do.
In any case, it’s best to place your rug in a spot where it won’t much receive direct sunlight on a daily basis.
3. Excessive Dirt, Dust, and Debris
The reason why carpet experts recommend vacuum cleaning your rug 2-3 times per week isn’t just to keep it looking fresh, but also to avoid early wear and tear.
Dirt and dust particles, if not cleaned properly and on time, can settle deeper and get trapped in the wool fibers causing damage that cannot be easily reversed.
Further, a rug that isn’t cleaned on a regular basis and continues accumulating dirt can lose its original appeal and feel – instead of feeling soft and velvety, it may start feeling rougher and bristlier.
Don’t have the time to vacuum clean your area rug on a regular basis?
The least you can do is pick it up, take it outside, and give the rug a good shake to get rid of all the excessive dirt and debris. Or, you can also beat the dust out with the help of a broomstick.
However, if you own a large area rug, vacuum cleaning might be the easiest and quickest cleaning method.
4. Carpet Beetles, Insects and Moths
Do you see moths around the room?
If yes, taking a good look at your carpet is the first thing you should do!
It’s not the moths that cause the actual damage to rugs, but their larvae. If you own a handmade wool or silk rug, insects may lay eggs on it that you might not see, and the hatched larvae would then feed on your precious rug’s fibers.
This type of damage usually starts from dark hidden areas – places under the furniture that aren’t cleaned regularly – but it won’t be late before the damage spreads.
Treat your rug with the safest insecticide if you see:
- Active insects over your rug’s surface
- Patches of missing pile
- Fine white veil of webbing
- Crawling insect larvae
- Brownish-grey sandy residue clustered in places over your rug
To prevent your rug from becoming home to insects in the first place make sure it’s cleaned regularly from both sides, and remember never to place it in a wet spot.
5. Pet Cats and Dogs
Pets, although cute and utterly adorable, can be a nuisance sometimes.
If you’re a cat person, your furry friend can cause rug damage by scratching the floor-covering with their sharp claws. On the other hand, puppies and dogs love chewing on stuff.
It’s best to curb these activities by providing your pets with other outlets for their instinctive needs, such as toys and a scratching post.
In case of ‘wet’ surprises, you can get rid of your pet’s urine smell with a bit of baking powder and some white vinegar. For stains, treat the affected area immediately with a suitable carpet cleaner or call for professional help.
6. Stains That Won’t Go Away
Talking of stains, spill accidents are sometimes inevitable. For precautionary measures, avoid placing your expensive handmade wool rug in places where there’s a higher likelihood of spills, such as the dining area or kitchen.
Apart from this, never leave a spill unattended for days, or even hours. Dried stains are harder to get rid of and may not vanish completely, hence scarring your handmade wool rug for life.
How to clean?
Blot up the excess liquid using clean paper towels. Afterwards, treat the spot with a carpet shampoo or any suitable rug cleaning solution.
Note: When going for a cleaning solution, always test the product on a small patch of your rug and make sure it doesn’t affect the dyes.
7. Chemical Treatments
Wool rugs are sometimes chemically treated by manufacturers to either soften or change their colors. This treatment can cause the wool fibers to start wearing sooner than expected, reducing the life of your rug.
Unfortunately, there are no precautionary measures you can take to avoid your rug from such damage because these treatments aren’t visible to the naked eye. Plus, the chemical damage to the wool fibers can’t be paused or reversed.
If you want your handmade rug to last long, buy only from a reliable rug dealer. While making the purchase, check if they have a return and exchange policy in place, as well as a 100% handmade guarantee for all the rugs they sell.
All in all, even though handmade wool rugs are hard to kill, negligence can cause irreparable rug damage leaving you with no option other than replacing the precious artifact with a new one.
To keep your rug in a good shape, clean it on a regular routinely basis, keep it out of direct sunlight, and tend to spills as soon as you can!