Why you should never have wool area rugs cleaned in the home.
But wait! You've done it before? We know. At John Sprague Cleaning, we admit that we are growing and learning. In recent years, we've learned that although cleaning certain area rugs might improve the appearance at first, these methods may cause more harm than good over time.
- While synthetic "wall to wall" carpet has plastic backings made to release soil, wool carpets have a dense woven base that holds and hides soil deep inside area rugs. This means that area rugs can't be cleaned with the same truck mount "steam cleaning" methods as used on carpets. On the contrary, this soil becomes impacted over time by the addition of moisture, causing premature wear. The only way to remove it is by using specialized dry soil "dusting" machines that can't be used in the home.
- Steam carpet cleaning uses high heat and high pH detergents to remove soil. Heat and incorrect detergents are the enemy of wool rugs. Using them can destabilize the dyes and cause bleeding and color loss that can happen immediately, or during a future cleaning. Properly cleaned wool rugs requires low pH detergents specially formulated for wool, and much lower temperatures than produced by truck mount steam cleaners.
- While synthetic carpet fibers are smooth and made to resist soil, wool fibers are shaped "like a pine-cone" allowing them the trap and further hide soil, which can only be removed using immersion washing methods used "in plant". In fact, full immersion is the only recommended and approved method of rug washing for wool.
- Wool rugs can hold 1/3 of their weight in water BEFORE THEY EVEN FEEL WET! Wool is extremely absorbent. This means that washing a rug requires an astonishing volume of water before it even begins to release soil. The carpet cleaning technician would have to use a LOT of water, essentially "overwetting" the rug to the point it would be extremely difficult to dry, risking serious problems. This would also risk damage to the subfloor and furnishings.