How To Keep Your Area Rugs Looking Fresh and Clean
If you live in MS the best way to protect your rugs day to day with the changes in climate, is to remove your shoes when you get home. But don’t go barefoot; your feet have natural oils that rub off on the carpet. Those oils act like a dirt magnet, so it’s a good idea to always wear slippers or socks.
If possible, vacuum your rugs every day to remove surface dirt and dust. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and change the filter every six months so you don’t blow pollutants back into the air. And for maximum effectiveness, change your vacuum bag when it is anywhere from one-half to two-thirds full or when the outside of the bag feels firm.
Professional Rug Cleaning for those Near Memphis & Nashville
As far as deep-cleaning your carpets in MS, of course you want to clean them if there are visible stains, but the Environmental Protection Agency recommends a professional cleaning one to four times a year, depending on how heavily trafficked the area is. A professional cleaning removes not only the dirt and stains you can see but also what you can’t see. Carpets are like indoor sponges, trapping all types of pollutants, including dust, mold, bacteria and mildew, that can be bad for your health.
When hiring a professional cleaner in MS, choose a company that uses hot-water deep extraction — it’s the most effective way to clean your carpet. Professionals spray the carpet with a cleaning solution and then use high-powered machines that emit hot water at high pressure onto your carpet to loosen dirt. At the same time, a high-powered vacuum pulls the hot water out of the carpet, along with the dirt and soap.
There is a huge power difference between professional carpet-cleaning machines and those you can rent at home and hardware stores: Professional machines have a pressure measurement of 250 to 1,200 pounds per square inch (PSI), as compared with the machines you can rent, which have a 35 to 70 PSI. A lack of powerful pressure could leave a soapy residue, which will then dry and attract dirt.
Professional cleaners have hundreds of cleaning solutions to choose from, each formulated for different types of carpet fibers. Make sure the person you hire knows which formula is best suited for your carpet. The wrong formula could lead to shrinkage and discoloration.
Reputable companies typically give you a price per square foot in a written proposal; usually it’s anywhere from 50 cents to $1 per square foot. If you talk to a company that gives you a vague quote or a lowball price, beware that there may be extensive overcharges once they are in your home.
What is an Oriental rug?
The term "Oriental rug" refers to a wide range of floor coverings. The term is broadly used to refer to rugs that are made in Asian countries. The most prolific rug-making countries include Iran, Turkey, China and India. You also will see references to Caucasian rugs; this refers to rugs made in the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. More recently, Southeast Asian countries, notably Vietnam, have begun creating Oriental rugs for export.
Authentic Oriental rugs are constructed by hand and made of wool, cotton or silk. In modern usage, you may see the term used to describe machine-made rugs with an Asian motif. For this article, we'll use "Oriental rug" to refer to handmade floor coverings.
Oriental rugs are designed to tell a story, with different patterns symbolizing life events and a region's history. Different countries and areas use a few primary motifs. These are one way to tell where an Oriental rug was made.
How Oriental rugs are made
Oriental rugs are crafted using a number of techniques, but all quality rugs are hand-knotted.
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One of the most common methods for creating a rug is to use a simple flat loom. The artist begins the rug by forming a foundation of sturdy cotton, silk or wool fibers called the "warp." The cross fibers, the "weft," are then tied to that foundation, forming the pattern.
A quality Oriental rug will have between 16 and 550 knots per inch. The more knots, the better the rug. It's not unusual for up to a dozen artists to work on one rug. Depending on the size, the design and the quality, it can take several months to several years to complete one rug.
Oriental rug care and cleaning tips
Although a good Oriental rug can last for decades, a little basic oriental rug care is necessary to keep your prize floor covering looking its best. Below are just a few things to consider:
Rotate your rug. To avoid excessive wear in any one area, it's a good idea to rotate your rug every two to six months.
Avoid sunlight. Be careful where you place your Oriental rug. Direct sunlight will cause the dyes to fade.
Vacuum regularly. Vacuuming your rug will not only remove the dirt and debris of everyday use but will keep the rug fibers from getting matted. Be careful not to get the rug's fringe caught in the sweeper.
Spot clean. In the event of a spill and stain, blot all excess liquid with a cloth or paper towel. Loosen the stain with a little club soda, if necessary. Avoid using soap, detergent or other cleaners, as they can damage fibers.
Hiring a rug cleaner
Reasons for cleaning an Oriental rug yourself include:
Saving money. Cleaning your Oriental rug yourself is generally cheaper than hiring a professional.
Mobility. Depending on the size of your rug, your floor covering can weigh more than 100 pounds. Oriental rugs, particularly woolen rugs, can be very heavy.
Hiring a professional rug cleaner also has advantages:
Preserving value. Good Oriental rugs may be passed down from generation to generation. Professional care can extend the life and beauty of a rug.
Pick up and delivery. Most companies that specialize in cleaning Oriental rugs will pick up your rug and reinstall it.
Thoroughness. A company that specializes in cleaning Oriental rugs has specialized equipment to give your rug a more thorough cleaning and drying.
Access to superior cleaning products. Commercial cleaning services have access to products designed especially for use on Oriental rugs. Most carpet shampoos and cleaning products found in retail stores are designed for synthetic wall-to-wall carpeting and are often too harsh for the delicate natural fibers in Oriental rugs.
3 Tips to Properly Clean and Care for Your Oriental Rug in Tennessee
Why You Shouldn't Clean Area Rugs Like Carpets
Traditional carpet cleaning methods may damage Oriental rugs.
If your home features both area rugs, such as Persian or Oriental rugs, and regular carpet as floor coverings, you should never clean your area rugs like you would your carpet.
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Here’s why: The wall-to-wall carpet in your home is typically manufactured on a machine that uses synthetic material to produce 15 feet of carpet per minute. The carpet’s primary components are a face fiber held in place with latex adhesive and a plastic backing material.
Rug Cleaning 101: Handmade vs. Machine Made
From Oriental or Persian rugs to machine-made rugs, a carpet cleaning expert explains how to clean your rug without causing damage.
Cleaning wall-to-wall carpets
Most household wall-to-wall carpets lend themselves to steam cleaning from a carpet cleaning company because it’s the simplest and fastest way to clean them and make sure they dry quickly.
Dry Carpet Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning Methods
A carpet-cleaning professional explains the pros and cons of how to clean carpet.
Especially when dealing with carpets made from nylon, polyester or other plastic-based fibers, using a steam cleaner is more than adequate.
Giving area rugs special treatment
Most area rugs, particularly hand-knotted rugs, are made entirely made by hand from all-natural materials. It can take as little as a month to make or up to two years or longer to produce a single handmade rug such as a Persian or Oriental rug.
The majority of area rugs or Oriental rugs are made with wool, a highly complex animal fiber. If you looked at it under a microscope, you can see that wool fibers have scales and hundreds of small crevices that can trap soil.
Handmade area rugs are also made entirely of fiber rather than fiber held in place with a backing like carpet. This means that to get a rug 100-percent clean, it must be cleaned all the way through, not just on the surface, which is how steam cleaning carpet is performed.
Area rugs can also be made of many other natural fibers such as silk, cotton, jute or others, which means cleaning an area rug is a custom job every time. Proper rug cleaning cannot be performed by simply running a steam cleaner over the front and back. At best, that type of cleaning would be cosmetic and only temporary; at worst, it could cause irreversible damage.
Can I Steam Clean My Wool Carpet?
Avoid using high alkaline cleaning agents to clean wool carpets, and allow enough drying time.
Hiring a professional carpet cleaner
Your area rugs are a one-of-a-kind investment, so don’t trust their cleaning and care to just anyone.
Do your homework and look for a cleaner with the education, experience and expertise to care for your rugs safely and effectively.
Two organizations that provide training certifications are the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification or IICRC, and Master Rug Cleaner. Both organizations' websites list those individuals who have completed their training programs.