As the leaves start to change colour and the days become shorter and crisper, we tend to spend more time indoors enjoying our creature comforts. Before settling in for the long winter ahead, the fall is a great time to do a thorough home cleaning, including all the little things that get forgotten about during the dog days of summer. Your cozy wool area rugs, perfect for warming cold floors and adding a pop of colour and style to any space, are among the things that must be addressed. When caring for wool rugs, vacuuming is the best way to go—here are a few quick tips to ensure proper steps are being taken to protect your investment.
- Get into a routine. To avoid excessive dirt build-up, make vacuuming your area rug part of your weekly or bi-weekly cleaning tasks, depending on how often the area gets used and the amount of traffic it sees. It’s beneficial to vacuum the underside of the rug every couple of months as well. Newer rugs can be vacuumed more frequently than older ones, as they will not wear as easily.
- Shake it out. Smaller rugs can be shaken or gently beaten outdoors to remove loose particles that may otherwise clog your vacuum cleaner. Lay it back down flat before continuing on.
- Suction only. Wool area rugs are best when vacuumed using suction only. It is best to avoid the harsh or heavy duty bristles of a rotating brush and/or beater bars, as they can suck up the rug’s finer fibres, while causing early and unnecessary wear and tear to the rug.
- Spot check. Remove stains after vacuuming by misting the rug with water and remove blotting, not rubbing, to protect fibres. Avoid cleaning agents that contain ammonia and high alkaline cleaners that will damage wool. Be sure to blot thoroughly, as wool can take a long time to dry.
- Avoid vacuuming fringes or tassels. When introduced to the suction, fringes may unravel, become caught or separate from the rug. It is best to clean them separately. Consider purchasing a wide-toothed comb and comb them out to straighten and clean.
- Check for real wool. Not sure if your rug is indeed wool? A quick way to check is to take a loose fibre and hold a flame (from a match or lighter) to it. If it smells like burning hair, it’s a natural wool fibre and should be cared for as such—synthetic and plant based fibers have their own housekeeping instructions.