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Cleaning Methods for Wool Area Rugs

May 12, 2008
Home decoration frequently includes using area rugs made of a variety of materials, both natural and man-made. Of the natural materials, wool area rugs are quite well-known for serving this purpose. Wool is mainly obtained from sheep but also from other animals like goats, alpacas, and llamas. Due to their natural resistance to fire, water, and stains, wool area rugs are also preferred for using around fireplaces in order to protect any damage to carpeting or flooring of the room from embers, sparks, or flames reaching them. A main advantage of using wool rugs is their natural resistance to dust mites, which cause allergic reactions in many people. In any case, it is important to clean wool rugs regularly so as to make them last longer and look better.

Vacuum Cleaning of Wool Area Rugs

Vacuum cleaning is the best way of cleaning wool area rugs on a regular basis. Vacuuming extracts the dust and dirt that settles on and inside the rugs and damages it through abrasion. It is important to use a beater bar in the vacuum cleaner while vacuuming the wool rug. A beater bar serves to pick the embedded soil in the rug and its absence may result in the removal of the surface dirt only. Also, the user should set the beater bar high enough so as not to slow the motor while the cleaner is in contact with the rug.

Steam Cleaning of Wool Rugs

Steam cleaning of wool area rugs may be done by anyone using rug cleaning machines. However, steam cleaning requires at least some level of skill with using these machines and hence this method is most appropriate to be used by professional cleaners. When cleaning on one's own, the lay person should first seek advice from a professional on using the right quantity of detergent and water. Also, it is safe to first use the steam cleaning method on a small part of the rug and see the result, before cleaning the whole of the rug by steaming. Further, laundry detergents must not be used in steam cleaning or the color of the rug may be damaged.

Oxy Cleaners and Dry Powder

Using oxy cleaners and dry powder are not recommended for cleaning wool area rugs. Oxy cleaners produce alkaline substances that are harmful for the color and composition of wool rugs and dry powders can cause pilling of wool rugs, especially if the rugs carry heavy soil or dust. It is better to seek professional advice or hire a professional's service for cleaning heavily soiled wool area rugs.
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