Not all rugs are created equal!
At Dorset Carpet Care we can offer various methods and levels of cleaning for rugs of all natures. Most normal household area rugs can be cleaned safely and easily in a similar way to a carpet, but the more expensive silk and oriental rugs or tapestries will need more specialist treatment and care. At our premises we can clean and dry them properly and make any repairs needed. Each rug will be fully inspected and tested to ensure the correct prescribed cleaning method.
So how are most rugs professionally cleaned?
We advise our customers on the steps that should be taken to effectively clean their rugs, some will obviously benefit from the same cleaning process as a carpet, some will not. For some rugs the cost of cleaning would not be conducive to the cost of the rug, this will need to be evaluated. Hand knotted Oriental, Persian silk and more delicate area rugs will usually lend themselves to be cleaned in full or at least in part as follows:
Step 1: Inspecting the rug
I will assess the condition of the rug checking for fading or discoloration, whether there are any stains or odours, how much wear or other damage the rug has sustained, any pre-existing damage, any old repairs to the rug or selvage. Sometimes there may be large or tiny areas of painting on the surface fibres which have been used to cover repairs, painted to match the surrounding area. This is actually quite common and isn’t considered a fault but this paint may well be removed by the cleaning process, and need added attention. This evaluation will tell me what cleaning method should best suit the piece and the kind of results we can reasonably expect to achieve.
Step 2: Dusting
At my rug cleaning plant the piece will vaccuumed, shaken and beaten. This is extremely important to release particles from within the rug that act like sandpaper, cutting and abrading the fibres both when the rug is being walked upon and during the cleaning process. The more soil that is removed at this stage, the easier the rug will be to clean and therefore the easier the cleaning process will be on the rug.
Step 3: Testing
Without question the most important step is to thoroughly test the rug to ensure it can be cleaned safely. For example, some rugs, depending on which dyes were used (chrome, vegetal etc) and on which type of fibre, can be vulnerable to running or fading, and it is important that the right techniques and solutions are used to avoid this from happening. Most rugs these days and certainly for the last 50 years or more are commercially washed, usually after manufacturing, before they are sold to give them a faded antique look that collectors and users both appreciate. This was mainly introduced for the Western market as faded rugs blend easier with other rugs and soft furnishings in any given room. Whilst this does mean that fading becomes less of an issue it will still nonetheless need to be tested against whichever cleaning solutions intended for use on the rug. The Western European market has had an immeasurable impact on the manufacture of rugs in the last 300 years or so influencing design, colour and materials. Absolutely no chances are taken by us to ensure your rug is cleaned safely. If any possible issues arise at this point we will discuss the options with you, I will always keep my customers informed throughout the rug cleaning process should a potential issue or change to the cleaning process occur.
Step 4: Pre-treatment
Depending on the nature of the rug, at this point I may need to apply a pre treatment it to help release any trapped dirt or aid colour fastness. Any potentially difficult spots will be treated to increase likelihood of removal. The fringe is also pre-treated for maximum soil removal and possible browning.
Step 5: Treatment
Most rugs are cleaned with a solution that suits and is especially designed to get maximum cleaning while protecting the sensitive natural fibres. This solution will attract the remaining soil from the fibres of the rug and lock it in a soluble state so we can remove it. Gentle agitation at this stage is usually necessary to ensure an effective clean.
Step 6: Rinse
The rug will now either be rinsed and extracted on both sides or washed and rinsed in a large container designed especially for area rugs. This removes any remaining dirt and cleaning residue.
Step 7: Drying
A most important step that can be very problematic if carried out incorrectly. The rug is either dried flat or hung to dry in our climate controlled drying room. It can’t be stressed enough that the proper technique and full drying is absolutely essential to avoid unnatural shrinkage and wicking. Drying time is normally less then 24 hours.
Step 8: Finishing
When the rug is dry, it is combed and groomed to set the nap and finished with grooming equipment designed for rugs.
Step 9: Final Inspection
We always re-inspect the rug to check that the cleaning process has been fully effective, before concluding our service to you. Sometimes where rugs are affected by the cleaning process they may need further attention at this point. A rug may need blocking to ensure it keeps its shape or it may need a small repair. Only once your rug is in the very best shape it can be and is perfectly clean will it be wrapped ready for delivery. I shall deliver the rug and ensure you are a satisfied customer by inspecting the rug with you.