Looking after your carpet/rug is really important because when you remove the dirt that leads to stains, you're preserving the carpet's original texture and increasing its lifespan. Here's a quick breakdown of the essentials of carpet/rug maintenance. Note: As our rugs are made using our carpet, the information is the same for both carpet and rugs.
More often than not, soiling occurs when people or pets walk bits of dirt in from outside. Prevention is always better than cure and we recommend keeping doormats in all your entranceways.
Staining occurs from the chemical bonding of a pigment with the carpet fibre and once this bonding has taken place, separating the two is extremely difficult without causing damage to the carpet pile. That's why it's critical to sort out spills and stains as soon as they happen.
General cleaning should be proportional to your carpet's exposure to dirt and we recommend more frequent, lighter cleans over the harsher treatments required if your carpet/rug's cleaned infrequently.
We recommend dry vacuuming at least once a week and more often in heavy traffic areas. This will prevent soil embedding in the pile and grinding at the base of the tufts, which wears them out faster.
For Loop and Shag Pile Carpets
We recommend a plain suction-type vacuum cleaner. Turbo or revolving brush head attachments may reduce surface frizzing – however over-use can lead to frizzing, especially on loop pile carpets. Beater bar and adjustable revolving brushes should only be used infrequently and on the lightest settings only.
For Cut Pile Carpets
All types of cleaner heads can be used but over-use with a revolving brush vacuum head may affect the tailored appearance of your cut pile. We recommend using a plain suction head (avoiding unnecessary pressure, which will flatten the carpet) and occasional grooming with your turbo or revolving brush head.
When necessary, a professional steam clean can remove trapped soil particles and revive the appearance of your carpet. Do not be concerned about the wet cleaning process removing natural oil from your wool carpet – most of this was removed during manufacture as an oily carpet attracts dirt far more quickly. For synthetic carpets, steam cleaning is recommended every two years – a minimum requirement for many carpet warranties.
Spills and stains
- 'Contain the stain' then blot up any liquids straight away with paper towels.
- Scoop up solids immediately with a knife or spoon – try not to push the substance further into the carpet pile.
- Drown the carpet in water or any other liquid.
With liquid stains, we'd recommend diluting the area with lukewarm water and re-blot thoroughly using clean, dry paper towels, ensuring you do not rub the stain. You can continue to gently apply water and re-blot. The wool pile will not be damaged by water as long as you don't over-wet the carpet, which may cause watermarks on the surface or damage to the backing.
New carpet can exhibit noticeable light and dark areas, often in strips. This is more likely to occur with plusher pile carpets and is known as crush marks. It's caused by the weight of the carpet in a large roll pressing down on the layers underneath and bending the fibres. Over time, with regular vacuuming and general foot traffic, this effect will diminish, though it can take three to six months or so for the marks to disappear entirely.
As with all natural textiles, wool carpet will fade or change colour over time in areas consistently exposed to sunlight. Light and pastel coloured carpets are the most vulnerable and no carpet is immune.
North or west-facing glass doors or floor-to-ceiling windows are most likely to lead to fading and we'd recommend the glass with effective UV protection. Curtains, blinds and louvres offer the best protection. Laying tiles around the border of the room and insetting the carpet can also provide protection from the strongest sunlight at the edge of a room.
If preventing fading is particularly important to you, our range of quality solution-dyed nylon carpets offers excellent fade resistance.
Fluffing on new carpet
When a carpet is new, balls of fluff may appear on the surface. These are loose bits of fibre left in the pile by the manufacturing process and are a tiny proportion of the fibre in the pile – so it's perfectly safe to vacuum up the fluff. On loop pile carpets, this fluff may appear as frizzing, which you can free up with a strong suction vacuum. Walking in socks or pantyhose on your new carpet can accentuate fluffing because the fibres in the socks or pantyhose can draw these loose fibres to the surface.
A couple of great ways to minimise indentations is by placing cups under the legs of heavy furniture and regularly shifting furniture a few inches one way or another so the pile can bounce back. We recommend the use of protector mats where castor chairs are used.
To revive flattened piles, you can use a warm steam iron over a towel laid on top of the carpet. Hold the steam iron gently to the towel and use the steam button to inject steam but don't press the iron down on the towel as this can leave gloss marks.
Carpet damage by insect attack occurs where food, animal or plant substances are present near a wool carpet. Preventative measures include regular and thorough vacuuming, especially in areas around and under furniture that is not moved frequently, and along skirting boards. Insect damage is not an issue with synthetic carpets.
A single tuft rising up from the pile surface is called 'sprouting' and in cut pile carpets, it's safe to trim these sprouts with scissors. Avoid pulling the tuft, as this could leave a hole in the carpet. With loop pile carpets, we recommend professional repair, which can be arranged through your carpet dealer.
As the name suggests, 'tracking' is the imprint left by footprints on your carpet. This is more common on plush cut pile surfaces and disappears with vacuuming. Carpet is most prone to tracking in high-traffic areas like doorways and halls, so give them a bit of extra attention when you're vacuuming.
Tracking VS Permanent Shading
All cut pile carpets, particularly 'plush pile' carpets will develop lighter or darker patches over time. Known as 'shading' or 'watermarking' it's caused by the permanent bending of the carpet pile fibres, which then reflect the light differently.
Shading often becomes apparent six to eight weeks after the carpet is first installed. Shading does not affect the wear or durability of the carpet, it's not a manufacturing defect and brushing or shampooing does not reduce shading.
Stain guide for wool carpet
The following is based on advice from Wools of New Zealand but before you do anything, make sure you have scraped up any solids and blotted up any excess liquid spills with paper towels. And remember – never rub wet carpet. Simply cross reference the type of treatment with the specific stain in the table below.
- Lukewarm water
- One teaspoon of wool detergent with one teaspoon of white vinegar in one litre of warm water.
- Clear household disinfectant
- Dry Stain Remover. Use only on dry stains.
- Chill with ice cubes in a plastic bag. Pick or scrape off solids.
- Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.
- Warm water
- Nail polish remover (should not contain lanolin)
- Surgical alcohol
- Place absorbent paper over wax or paper towel and apply hot iron to paper. Wax will melt and be absorbed by paper.
- Vacuum clean
- Mineral turpentine
- Seek assistance from a professional carpet cleaner.
|STAIN TYPE||STEP 1||STEP 2||STEP 3|
|Wine, beer, spirits||1||2|
|Cola & soft drinks||1||2|
|Gravy & sauces||7||2|
|Ink - ballpoint||9||2|
|Ink - felt tip||4||2|
|Oil & grease||4||2|
|Paint (oil based)||4|
|Urine (old stain)||13|
Stain guide for synthetics
Here’s our easy reference guide about what to use for specific spills and stains on solution-dyed nylon carpets. Simply cross reference the type of treatment options below with the specific stain in the table.
- Dry cleaning fluid
- Nail polish remover
- Detergent mix – two tsps. mild liquid detergent mixed with two cups water.
- Lukewarm tap water
- Vinegar solution – one cup vinegar to two cups water.
- Ammonia solution – two tbsps. household ammonia to one cup water.
- Dry Stain Remover
- Professional clean advised
|Blood||6,3,4 (cold), 7, 8|
|Chewing gum (freeze with ice, then chip away)||1,8|
|Coffee/tea with milk/sugar||3,5,4,7,8|
|Furniture polish (water based)||3,4,1,6,7,8|
|Furniture polish (solvent based)||2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8|
|Urine – wet||3,6,5,4,8|
|Urine – dry||3,4,5,6,8|
Note: some spills contain chemicals that may discolour or even damage the carpet fibre or dyes. If you have doubts about what caused the stain, and how to remove it, please contact a professional carpet cleaner. While this advice is offered in good faith, no responsibility is accepted for claims arising from the recommended treatments.