CLEANING RUGS & REMOVING STAINS
Rugs give a warm, comfortable feeling and flood every room with cosiness and harmony. To keep rugs shiny for long periods of time, and to prevent bacteria, dust etc. from bedding in the rug fibres, you must clean them regularly. We have thoroughly examined the subject of cleaning rugs and removing stains and summarised all the key information.
CLEANING A RUG: CARE INSTRUCTIONS
By applying simple measures, you can do something good for your rug, be it a natural or synthetic fibre rug. By simple beating, vacuuming and cleaning, your natural or synthetic fibre rug is largely freed from dirt and can thus retain its shine over the long term.
CLEANING A RUG: REGULAR VACUUMING
Vacuuming is a very important method of cleaning rugs and removing common dirt. It prevents dust particles, animal hair or other dirt from penetrating deep into the fibres. It is important to use a vacuum cleaner without a brush attachment so the fibres are not stretched too much. However, since only surface dirt is removed by vacuuming, you should also tapping out your natural or synthetic fibre rug. Sisal rugs in particular should be vacuumed regularly. On the one hand, everyday dirt is removed, on the other hand, the formation of water marks is prevented. These edges can be created by the combination of water, dust and dirt.This removes dust and dirt from the rug fibres and saves a lot of work. When vacuuming, you can really let off steam. Vacuum your rug thoroughly in all directions. Your vacuum cleaner should include a nozzle so that loose dirt can be removed. Do not use a vacuum cleaner with a rotating brush, as this may loosen the fibres.
Caution: Due to the sensitivity of the material, a silk rug should not be vacuumed. Instead, you should use a soft brush to brush the dirt from the rug in the direction of the nap.
CLEANING A RUG: TAPPING OUT & SHAKING
It is helpful to shake and tap out a rug regularly to retain its shine over a long time. Since the vacuum cleaner only removes surface dirt, the rug should be beaten regularly. This is best done on a balcony or in the garden. If this option is not open to you, you can alternatively lay your rug over a window sill. This way, you can remove lots of dirt and bacteria that has already bedded in. If - despite vacuuming and beating - stubborn dirt remains and simply does not want to part with the fibres of a rug, you should scrape it off with a blunt object, e.g. a spoon, and then vacuum.
CLEANING A RUG: A KICK OF FRESHNESS FOR YOUR RUG
How about some fresh air for your rug? To make your rug smell better again, it is recommended that you hang the rug in the fresh air for a day or two and beat it several times every four months - when it is dry, of course! With this method, your rug not only gets a real kick of freshness, but dirt is also removed.
CLEANING NATURAL FIBRE RUGS
Natural fibre rugs enrich every living area and give it a natural character. Due to their properties, natural fibre rugs are real favourite pieces, which inspire and invite people to linger.
In addition to wool, silk and cotton, sisal and jute are also natural fibres. Impregnation sprays are often recommended for natural fibre rugs to provide protection against moisture and dirt. However, the use of such products is not recommended, since an impregnated natural fibre rug can no longer transport moisture and thus the material can no longer breathe. Care should also be taken when using alkaline cleaners such as core, lubricating and ox-gall soap, stain remover, soapsuds, soda or ammonia. These cleaners degrease and bleach the fibres. They literally get leached out. Animal fibres, such as wool, goat hair and silk, have different properties and care requirements to plant fibres such as jute, sisal or cotton. Accordingly, they must be treated differently.
CLEANING NATURAL FIBRE RUGS: PAY ATTENTION TO THE MATERIAL
Before using any cleaning agents, check which material your rug is made of and test each application beforehand on an inconspicuous area of your rug! If your rug consists of animal fibres (wool), you must not use soapy water! This can make your rug lose its strength and elasticity. It is different with rugs which consist of vegetable fibres (cotton, sisal). Alkaline bases (core or ox-gall soap) can be used here. If you own a silk rug and want to clean it, we recommend a professional cleaning.
CLEANING NATURAL FIBRE RUGS: WOOL RUGS
Wool - warm and comfortable. These and other adjectives are often associated with the material wool. Its just feels nice to walk over a wool rug and feel the wool between our toes. Wool rugs radiate cosiness and offer our feet pure comfort! Wool rugs are real gems that not only look wonderful, but also offer some benefits. For example, wool rugs are flame-retardant on the one hand and dirt-repellent and moisture-resistant on the other. But that's not all: Above all, wool rugs stand out on the basis of their naturalness and a soft, robust and elastic structure.
Wool fibres can be stretched by up to 30% and then contract again. This feature makes wool particularly attractive for rugs. Because despite the pleasant and fluffy feeling under our feet, wool rugs are hard-wearing. In order to retain the elasticity of the wool fibre, do not use soapy water on a wool rug. This applies to all animal fibres. Aggressive alkalis damage the hair structure of the rug and bleach out the colours. Here, an acidic pH is optimal for maintaining the pleasant wool properties.
For acidic cleaners, it is advisable to read the content information of the manufacturer. If alkaline components are included, then do not use this cleaner on a natural rug if you are unsure. Sensitive natural fibres should not be subjected to rough mechanical cleaning. Should it be necessary, it is advisable to use a soft brush. Please be sure to brush in the direction of growth. If it is a superficial, unproblematic stain, carefully adding some carbonated water to the stain is often sufficient. Please ensure that you do not wet your wool rug, and then dry it quickly.
Although wool rugs are more resistant to moisture, you should immediately dry your rug after cleaning to prevent the formation of mould. For example, you can dry your rug with a towel or hair dryer or, depending on its size and the weather conditions, hang it in the sun. Alternating between heating and ventilation allows the warm, humid air to escape more quickly. Vinegar water can refresh faded colours. Mix vinegar or lemon juice with water in a ratio of 1:3 and lightly brush into the rug against the nap in a small amount. Carefully brush again in the direction of the nap after drying.
CLEANING NATURAL FIBRE RUGS: COTTON, JUTE OR SISAL RUGS
Cotton, sisal or jute rugs, like all rugs made of animal fibres - offers some advantages. Cotton is particularly popular because of its hard-wearing and soft texture. A cotton rug offers almost the same benefits as a wool rug. Sisal rugs are real all-rounders. Due to their high durability, sisal rugs can be placed almost anywhere. Be it under the dining table, in the kitchen or in the entrance area - a sisal rug cuts a fine figure in every room and creates a natural ambience.
Since sisal rugs are very robust and hard-wearing, they leave nothing to be desired. It should be noted, however, that sisal rugs cannot withstand moisture. So refrain from placing them in the bathroom and cleaning them with lots of water. Above all, sisal rugs impress due to their high wear resistance and easy cleaning of everyday dirt. Thorough vacuuming is sufficient to make dust and dirt disappear. It gets a little trickier with spilled liquids or other stains.
In general, we can say that rugs made of plant fibres can be treated well with alkaline solutions. This means you can use curd soap or ox-gall soap for cleaning. For dyed fibres, the use of alkaline solutions should be tested in an inconspicuous place to ensure that no discolouration occurs.
CLEANING NATURAL FIBRE RUGS: SILK & VISCOSE RUGS
We have not yet discussed the cleaning of silk and viscose rugs, as these materials are very sensitive. We recommend that you have stains cleaned by an expert. If you want to remove surface dirt from your silk or viscose rug by hand, you should refrain from using a vacuum cleaner. Use a natural hair handbrush instead. With the help of such a rug brush, you should then brush out the rug in the direction of the nap. The natural shine of the silk fibres only comes to bear if they are all equally aligned in the direction of the nap.
To detect the direction of the pile, simply stroke your rug with your hand. If the pile feels soft, you have moved your hand in the direction of the nap. On the other hand, if the pile feels rough, you have moved your hand against the direction of the pile. Brush your silk rug regularly. This not only preserves its shine but also removes common dirt. For surface dirt, for example due to dust, it may also be sufficient to beat the rug outdoors.
CLEANING SYNTHETIC FIBRE RUGS
Numerous results come up on the Internet when searching for "cleaning synthetic fibre rugs". There are statements such as: "This cleaning agent can be used", "When cleaning, a lot of water is needed" or "Just put your rug in the washing machine!". Claims upon claims - who can see through them all?
The materials polyacrylic, polyester and polypropylene are synthetic fibres. These materials are especially common in rugs, as they are low-maintenance and robust. Rugs made of polyacrylic, polyester and polypropylene are particularly hard-wearing, dirt-resistant and have a moisture-repellent structure. This makes them particularly suitable for rooms in which rugs are put to the test, such as the entrance area, corridor, bathroom or the kitchen. Rugs made of synthetic fibres not only stand out due to their high durability, but also with unique designs and models. They are practical and look good at the same time. Viscose - also called rayon - is another artificial fibre, but is more sensitive than polyacrylic, polyester and polypropylene. Would you like to know more about synthetic materials? Then take a look at our blog post on synthetic fibres.
SYNTHETIC FIBRE RUGS ACCEPT WATER, BUT DO NOT LIKE IT
Although synthetic fibre rugs have a moisture-repellent structure, this does not mean that polyacrylic, polyester and polypropylene rugs should be showered with water during cleaning. Although they are not as hydrophobic as, for example, a sisal rug, synthetic fibre rugs do not fare well in extensive bathing. Too much moisture can matt the synthetic rug.
SYNTHETIC FIBRE RUGS DO NOT FARE WELL IN HEAT
When cleaning synthetic fibre rugs as already mentioned, you should not use too much water. Nevertheless, should your rug be soaked through, do not use a hair dryer or similar drying implement. Because synthetic fibre rugs contain chemical fibres, excessive heat can cause them to melt and lose their shape.
THE WASHING MACHINE IS FORBIDDEN
More and more frequently, one finds instructions on the internet to simply put the rug in the washing machine. But synthetic fibre rugs do not belong in the washing machine! The latex layer could dissolve and the rug could suffer long-term damage.
CLEANING A RUG: REMOVING STAINS
Everyone is familiar with this situation: Take your eyes off things for a second and you'll have an ugly spot on the rug. This can be caused by various things, especially in rooms such as the kitchen or the living room. Maybe, during a quiet evening, a glass of red wine is tipped over and you're wondering how to remove red wine stains from the rug. We have researched this for you and provide you with advice on how to clean your rug and remove stains quickly and effectively with common household remedies.
There are a few things which have to be considered before cleaning a rug: Firstly please test each of the methods presented here on an inconspicuous area of the rug first in order to rule out any discolouration and fading during stain removal. Be sure to avoid taking the stain deeper into the tissue as well. Therefore, in any case, always apply premise dabbing instead of rubbing. And last but not least - always work from the outside in, from the edge of the stain to the middle.
CLEANING A RUG: REMOVING FOOD STAINS
As is well known, chewing gum tends to adhere to any surface outside of the mouth. It adapts to every surface structure precisely and therefore sticks to it. This is not a big problem on smooth surfaces. However, if it sticks to textiles, removal is a little more difficult. The best way to clean your rug is to weaken the adhesive strength of the chewing gum by cooling it down. A good method is to rub the chewing gum for a few seconds with an ice cube. The chewing gum hardens and can be removed from the rug completely. An alternative to the ice cube is medical cold spray, which you can buy in any pharmacy.
If coffee makes contact with the rug, you should react quickly. The fresher the coffee stain, the easier it is to clean the rug. For this purpose, a combination of soda and detergent, with which you can dab the stain, works particularly well. The situation is different with coffee stains which have already dried. These are most easily removed with ox-gall soap. This should also be carefully dabbed on the stain, and washed out with a little water after a short reaction time. Baking soda is also suitable for removing coffee stains from rugs. To do this, spread it on the stain with a toothbrush and let it work for about 30 minutes. Then you can vacuum up the remains with the vacuum cleaner and then treat the area with a clean, damp cloth. Pure alcohol, which you can buy in any pharmacy, is also effective. Put some of it on a clean cloth and dab the rug until the coffee is completely absorbed and the stain disappears.
It is possible to remove red wine stains from rugs with household remedies such as salt or baking powder. Carefully spread the product of your choice on the stain with a toothbrush and allow it to work. Then work the stain with a little water and absorb the rest of the baking powder. You can also clean your rug by using a similar method with household salt, as the natural substance absorbs the liquid and thus removes the red colour from the fibres. Sprinkle plenty of salt on the stain and let it work in until it is damp. Repeat this process and allow the salt to work for several hours or preferably overnight. Then vacuum the rest or brush out the salt. Finally, treat the stain with a soap solution. Another remedy for removing a red wine stain is glass cleaner. Simply spray this on the stain and dab the treated area with a kitchen towel after a short reaction time. A much gentler method, however, is to treat it with carbonated mineral water first. This can be poured on the spot without hesitation. The carbon dioxide dissolves dyes and tannins from the fibres. Dab the water off with a clean rag. Repeat this process until the stain disappears.
Dried chocolate stains are usually very stubborn and difficult to remove due to the high fat content of the chocolate. You should therefore first try to scrape off the top layer of chocolate with the blade of a kitchen knife. Then you can dab any remains with a sponge soaked in cold water. In order to be able to remove grease residues effectively, you should treat the affected area immediately afterwards with warm water and some ox-gall soap. Fresh chocolate stains should first be allowed to set. To speed up this process, you can cool the stain using an ice cube. Then, you should try to use a kitchen knife to carefully scrape the chocolate out of the fibres. Depending on the colour and type of rug, baking powder, which has already been shown to be helpful for removing stains, can also help with chocolate stains. The procedure is the same as the removal of coffee or red wine stains. Another option is to work the chocolate stain with vinegar essence. However, caution is also necessary here, because vinegar essence can have a bleaching effect. To be on the safe side, we recommend the use of sparkling water. Just pour it on the stain, then dab with a kitchen towel, and the stain is removed.
Stains caused by tomato sauce or ketchup are considered to be particularly difficult to remove. You should therefore treat tomato stains immediately. Clean your rug by first picking up the coarse remains with a kitchen towel. Then soak the rug in cold water for at least 20 minutes. Then wash the stain with lukewarm water and some soap or vinegar. As always, please do not rub on the stain, but dab it gently! Wash the rug with clean water again. If stains remain, they can be blotted with a little alcohol. But beware, alcohol also has a bleaching effect.
Do you have rug runner in your kitchen or dining area? Then you have probably had to deal with grease stains. Fresh grease stains can be treated very effectively with conventional flour. Just put some of it on the area to be treated and allow it to work. After a few minutes, you can sponge it up and the stain should disappear. If you like, you can also use dry shampoo from the chemist. Simply spray on the stain, let it soak in and brush it out again. To dissolve dried grease stains, it is best to use salt water. Soak the stain with tap water. Then prepare a saline solution. With this, dab the stain until it is no longer visible on the rug.
CLEANING A RUG: REMOVING BODY FLUIDS
Pet owners in particular often find themselves confronted by vomit and are annoyed by soiled rugs. It is quite easy to remove vomit stains. Vomit which has already dried can often be absorbed easily. To prevent odours, you should immediately dispose of the vacuum bag afterwards. Fresh vomit is best removed with paper towels. Any traces left on the rug can be removed with a solution of gall or hand wash soap and water. Another good home remedy for this type of rug stains is shaving cream. Do not confuse this with shaving gel. You can use it to clean your rug by putting some of it on the stain and spreading the foam using a sponge. The fact that this also removes bad odours from the rug at the same time is particularly practical.
If blood comes into contact with textiles, it is difficult to remove them due to the red dye haemoglobin and the resulting iron oxide. Also, under no circumstances should the protein contained in the blood come into contact with hot water due to the risk of coagulation. In principle, blood spots are therefore removed by means of cold water. It is important to first soak the stain well with tap water or sparkling water. Then, carefully dab the stain and replace the used cloth as soon as it can no longer absorb liquid. Repeat this process until the blood stain is removed from the rug.
Pet owners are also probably familiar with this problem: Urine on the rug. Now it's time to be quick and clean the carpet before smell and bacteria can spread. Immediately press plenty of paper towels onto the stain to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Repeat until the paper no longer absorbs moisture. The remaining urine must now be sufficiently moistened. It's best to take a bucket of warm water and mix it with a little detergent and a little cleaning agent. Using an absorbent, old cloth, rub the mixture into the stain. Put more fresh paper on the stain to soak up the rest of the urine. If any odour remains, you can wash it from the rug and neutralise it in a final step with water and vinegar.
CLEANING A RUG: OTHER STAINS
To avoid larger rug damage by candle wax, you should first let it set. Once the wax has hardened, it can often be removed by hand. A vacuum cleaner can remove smaller crumbs without a problem. If the stain cannot be completely removed in this way, you have two options: Treatment with cold or heat. For cold treatment, place ice cubes in a freezer bag and place on the stain for at least 15 minutes. The wax is then easier to remove by hand. Then you can continue working with heat. Be careful - synthetic fibres cannot withstand heat. Place a piece of blotting paper directly on the stain and iron over it with an iron on the lowest setting. The temperature causes the wax to melt and the piece of blotting paper absorbs it. For this, the blotting paper must be repeatedly moved until no more wax dissolves from the rug. If wax residues still remain, you can try to dissolve them with benzine. However, before you clean your rug, you should test it for colour fastness in order to avoid more damage. With a little mild liquid detergent and lukewarm water, you can finally clean the rug.
People who use water to remove stains often get annoyed over water spots or water marks afterwards. Cat litter or salt are helpful for dealing with residual moisture, as they drag the moisture out of the rug. After a short time, you can simply vacuum up the remains. If the water stain has already dried, an ugly water mark usually remains on the rug. To remove it, first moisten it again and gently dab the water marks with a cloth. Then the entire affected area of the rug is well moistened, the edge of the stain retreats to the outside and will not be visible after drying. Even with commercial carpet foam, you can clean rugs by applying the foam and dabbing with a sponge. A vinegar-water mixture can also help, as the water marks are caused by limescale. Vinegar neutralises the lime and makes the water marks disappear. If rugs in light colours are damaged by a water stain, you can also remove these stains with a little chlorine bleach. For coloured rugs, however, this method is not recommended, because the chlorine would immediately bleach the colour.
PROFESSIONAL RUG CLEANING
Regular vacuuming and tapping can help prevent the need for professional rug cleaning. Nevertheless, you should have your rug professionally cleaned at least every five years, especially if it is a high-quality rug. The problem, particularly with high-pile rugs, is that the high pile causes dirt to penetrate deep into the fabric and this can usually only be removed by professional rug cleaning. Not only will all the dirt be removed, your rug will shine in new splendour! Removals are often a good occasion to have the rug cleaned. If your rug is subject to extra wear due to special circumstances, such as the high amount of dust generated by neighbouring construction sites, you may wish to consider professional rug cleaning.
Dirt such as dust and sand, which has penetrated deep into the tissue, can be removed by professional cleaning methods. Even pests that have taken root in the fibres will be removed.Dry cleaning and master craftsmanship guarantee professional and proper handling and supervision. This will allow you to enjoy your rug the future.