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Signs Your Rug is Due for a Deep Clean

Rugs can transform any room of the house. With their unique styles, they’re the perfect statement piece to tie living rooms and dining rooms together. Unlike other flooring, rugs can be transported across different homes throughout your lifetime and used for years to come – with the right amount of care that is.

With the proper care, you can extend the life of your rug and slow down the natural aging process. Deep cleaning is a crucial step and one of the best ways to help maintain your rug’s original beauty. Rugs, especially fine area rugs, should be deep cleaned about once a year. While wear and tear may not seem noticeable, everyday living inevitably takes a toll on your rug. This is why it’s important to establish a routine cleaning schedule and notice when your rug is due for a clean.

Oriental rug overtop hardwood floor

Learn about rug care and common problems that can arise without proper cleaning:

Identifying Your Rug

Each rug is as different and precious as the next, but the one thing they all have in common is that they require regular deep cleaning. Identifying your rug is key as it helps determine the proper cleaning method that should be applied.

Rugs can be made from wool, cotton, silk, jute, animal hides, or manufactured fibers. While most people may be familiar with oriental rugs, this term originally applied to hand-knotted pile rugs woven in east Asia. Today, the term encompasses all hand-knotted pile weaves regardless of the country of origin. Overall, an important component for identifying your rug is how the piece was constructed. In general, rugs can be categorized as machine-made or hand-made.

Curious about identifying which type of rug you own? Read more about here.

Importance of Deep Cleaning

While grabbing a rental rug cleaner may be tempting, this is not a true deep clean and can actually lead to problems like dye migration and fiber distortion. Delicate rugs call for specialized cleaning that can only be performed by highly trained professionals and not through DIY methods. Professional off-site rug cleaning also reaches the front and the backing of rugs where a lot of contaminants like to hide. Without a real deep clean that reaches embedded fibers, the foundation of the rug can become weak and brittle.

Stanley Steemer technician inspecting rug with customer

At Stanley Steemer, our trained technicians are well-versed in rug identification and can properly assess what type of rug you own. From there, we can clean your invaluable rug based on fabric type and areas of concern. We have our own rug cleaning facilities where we can gently and skillfully clean rugs. Since every rug is one-of-a-kind, our cleaning processes are not one-size-fits-all. We deliver a customized approach for every rug and finish off with grooming followed by hang-drying in a climate-controlled environment.

It’s critical to note that some problems may not be fixable with cleaning alone. In fact, deep cleaning can also be thought of as a preventative way to help slow down the natural aging process of rugs. Without it, your rug will face more severe, potentially irreversible problems that deep cleaning could’ve helped to avoid.

Common Problems Found on Rugs

Living habits, household size, and rug type can all factor into the health and appearance of your rug. Problems found on rugs tend to involve structural damage, dye problems, insect damage, or repairs. Below are common problems that can appear on any given rug:

  • Dry Rot – This happens when the foundation of the rug and yarn fibers become brittle & begin to breakdown. By the time your rug is facing dry rot issues, it is unfortunately irreversible. Dry rot can be caused by too much moisture. Pet urine and overwatered house plants are common culprits if it wets the rug and goes untreated. This is where deep cleaning can help extract urine & moisture before it becomes a long-term problem.
Backside of rug revealing dry rot

Dry Rot on Rug

  • Dye Migration – This problem occurs when dye colors run into each other. Dye colors can be transferred over by the presence of moisture. Rental machines that oversaturate rugs and pet accidents are a few examples that can cause dye migration when left untreated. Pet urine also has high pH levels that attribute to this problem as well.
Dye migration shown on oriental rug

Dye Migration on Rug

  • Excessive Wear – Wear unavoidably comes from heavy foot traffic as well as from furniture placed atop the rug. The use of rug padding is highly encouraged to help slow down the effects of wear.
  • Fading – This is gradual irreversible color intensity loss usually due to over-exposure to light. Light exposure can come from sunlight, oxidizing gases like ozone, and outside agents like bleach. To help against the effects of fading, we recommend regularly rotating your rug so it maintains a uniform appearance.
  • Fringe Damage - Damage to fringe can take place over time especially in high traffic areas. Pets and vacuuming with a unit that causes brush agitation can be common causes of damage.
Close up of fringe damage on rug

Fringe Damage on Rug

  • Moth (or Insect) Damage – This occurs on natural-fibered rugs when insects eat contamination found in fibers. Pet urine is a common food source for moths & other insects. With regular deep cleaning, you can help remove these food sources that attract moths and prevent infestation.
Close up of rug backing that shows damage caused by moths

Moth Damage on Rug

  • Odor – Odor can occur from food spills, pet accidents, topical cleaners, and more. The problem can be exacerbated when accidents take place and the rug doesn’t properly dry. At our off-sit rug cleaning facilities, we help with odor removal and afterward, dry your rugs in a safe, climate-controlled environment.
  • Pooling & Shading – These are general terms for rugs with bent or abraded fibers that reflect light differently creating a shading effect. It can also be caused by pivoting motions and movement in high-traffic areas. After deep cleaning, pooling & shading can become more apparent since the dirt & debris removal makes the fiber less reflective.
Close up of pooling and shading on oriental rug

Pooling and Shading on Rug

  • Soil & Filtration – Filtration lines happens on rugs as dirt, dust, or “soil” sits atop the rug for a long period of time. Unfortunately, this is not correctable if left untreated. It’s also a strong indicator that your HVAC system needs professional cleaning as soil is blown into living spaces that come directly from your air ducts.
  • White Knots – For hand-made rugs, white knots are woven into the rug and hidden by the pile. When the pile gets worn, this starts to expose the white knots. This problem can often be overlooked until cleaned when the knots become bright white again. It’s important to never cut a white knot as this will create a hole in the foundation. Rug padding can help alleviate the effects of heavy foot traffic to slow down the progression of white knots.
White knots visible on handmade rug

White Knots on Rug

For specialized rug care and cleaning, Stanley Steemer is your trusted source. We offer inclusive pricing, free pick up & delivery, and more at our off-site rug cleaning facilities. Call to see if off-site rug services are available near you.