The Dangers of DIY Rug Cleaning: What You Need to Know

You may consider cleaning your area rugs yourself to save money instead of paying a professional. The process seems simple: buy or rent a carpet cleaning machine, use the machine, and voila you’re done! However, area rug cleaning is not as simple as it seems. Cleaning an area rug versus cleaning your wall-to-wall carpeting presents different challenges. Continue reading to learn the dangers of DIY area rug cleaning and what you need to know.

Many area rug manufacturers encourage having your area rug professionally cleaned. What factors are needed to be considered when deciding if DIY area rug cleaning is a good idea?

Is the area rug made with wool, or synthetics like acrylic, polyester, viscose, or sisal/jute/seagrass natural fiber? Knowing what the rugs are made of can help to know what cleaning procedures are best.

For instance, wool loves moisture and without a low humidity, warm day it is difficult to clean and get your wool rug dried in your home before it picks up a musty, mildew odor.

If your rug is a synthetic fiber like acrylic, nylon, or polyester, it is the kind of fiber used in wall-to-wall carpeting. A DIY cleaning like wall-to-wall cleaning can remove at least the impurities from the surface of the pile.

A Viscose, Rayon, or Faux Silk fiber will not respond well to water cleaning. Best to leave these rugs for professional cleaning by someone who knows how to handle them.

The Sisal, Jute, or Seagrass rugs are popular and present their own DIY cleaning issues. Spot cleaning can cause “water rings” to form on drying or the area can become darker or lighter depending on how the natural fibers were processed.

Improper techniques and the wrong cleaning solution could severely damage your rug and its integrity.

The most common and most severe danger of do-it-yourself rug cleaning is mold and mildew growth from over-wetting and under-drying. If you use too much water when cleaning your rug, it will become so saturated with water that it can become near impossible to dry without the right tools. When the rug can’t fully dry, the moisture is left behind as a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Over time, exposure to mold and mildew can become a severe health hazard for you and your family, especially if someone has a history of asthma.

Another danger is rug cleaning solutions. If you select the wrong solution or detergent for your rug fiber type, you could end up damaging the fibers or negatively affecting the dyes in the rug. Most ‘off-the-shelf’ rug cleaning solutions are formulated for wall-to-wall carpeting. Being made for the synthetics of the wall-to-wall carpeting can cause damage when used on the more natural fibers of most area rugs. Colors and fiber strength can be affected.

The last danger is using the wrong tools to perform the cleaning. If the bristles are too rough on a brush or rug cleaning device, you could damage the fibers of your area rug. If you try to use a power washer, the stream of water can be too powerful and damage the rug fibers. A professional cleaner will have the correct tools to effectively clean your rug without damaging the fibers.

Professional rug cleaners have the proper equipment to prevent over-wetting your rug and have drying rooms to make sure your rug is completely dried after cleaning. They also have training on what solutions and detergents to use depending on the rug fibers and the goal of the rug cleaning (if you have stains you wanted to be removed, etc.). Professional rug cleaners can make sure your rugs come back to you clean, intact, and beautiful.

Cristomar Rug Cleaning & Repair uses a fresh-water cleaning process to remove any dirt stuck in your rug fibers without damage. We also are the only rug cleaner in North Atlanta with an in-house heated dry room to ensure all rugs are thoroughly dried quickly. Prior to cleaning your rug, our specialists will inspect the rug to find any problem areas to make sure they are addressed during the cleaning. We also offer rug repair where we can fix edge binding and fringe, as well as reweave damaged areas and holes.

When your rugs are ready for deep cleaning and refresh, contact us here at Cristomar. We are here to help your rugs remain clean and beautiful. Give us a call to schedule today!