18 December, 2017
Welcome to our blog on caring for your rugs during the holiday season.
The start of the holidays means fun with family, celebrating with friends, and hosting countless seasonal parties. Unfortunately, all that celebrating can also mean the beginning of new stains for your much loved rug. Dropped food, spilled drinks, and increased foot traffic from the extra visitors can leave your rug in less than perfect condition. However, whether it’s red cranberry sauce, sticky fudge, gooey gravy, or bright holiday punch, there is a way to remedy even the toughest holiday stains. Below are a few tips that will help your rugs stay clean and bright this season regardless of the number of merry-makers that dance across them!
The first step to effectively treating a stain is to determine how recent it is. If the area is still damp, blot up as much as possible with a dry rag before moving on to the next step. If the area has dried, vacuum over it several times to remove the old residue. For semi-solid stains, scoop up everything possible before proceeding.
Second, blot the stain with cool water, then immediately blot dry.
Run HOT WATER from the faucet, and wet a portion of a white TOWEL.
Wring the excess out so it is DAMP but not dripping wet.
BEND open an area of the rug with “suspect” colors that may be fugitive.
Press the damp towel INSIDE the fibers (not just on the surface tips).
HOLD STILL for 10-15 seconds. (If you move you may move dye.)
Remove towel and see if there has been any color transfer.
If there has been color transfer – the dyes are FUGITIVE.
Food & Drink Spills (if dyes are colorfast)
SPOON up solids, or VACUUM up dry pieces. If stain remains, use sponge to dampen the spill area with CLUB SODA.
BLOT area with cotton TOWEL (do not rub).
BLOT until spill stops transferring to the TOWEL.
Place a folded towel UNDER and OVER the spill area to sandwich it.
Stand on the sandwich to help excess moisture to wick out.
If the spill appears to be gone, then use HAIR DRYER (on cool) to dry and groom the nap with the BRUSH. Prop area up for several hours so that the inside fibers dry completely.
If the spill still looks to be there, pack the damp area with CORN STARCH and leave to completely dry (this may take 24 hrs – it will be hard to the touch). Chip away dry starch with a spoon and vacuum away. The corn starch will absorb whatever can’t be removed.
Food & Drink Spills (Dyes are fugitive – ie like to run)
Same steps as above EXCEPT substitute VINEGAR+WATER for the CLUB SODA. If the rug is SILK or you are afraid to work on the rug, just blot and pack with CORN STARCH and follow instructions given above. Corn starch is very absorbent, and safe to use.
Pick up solids. If stain remains, or if it is urine, dampen area with VINEGAR+WATER.
Bend open the fibers and be sure to dampen full fibers (not just the top tips of them).
BLOT area with cotton TOWEL. Do not rub. (ATTN: If you see DYES transferring to the towel, immediately stop getting the area damp and just pack with CORN STARCH.)
BLOT until yellow urea from urine stops transferring to the TOWEL.
Use HAIR DRYER (on cool setting) to dry and groom the nap with the BRUSH.
Prop area up for several hours so that the inside fibers dry completely.
FYI: Pet urine goes on hot and acidic, so it penetrates the fibers completely. Because rug dyes are acid dyes this means urine essentially “re-dyes” the fibers yellow and sets itself. If it is not dealt with immediately, stains can be permanent. You can lessen or remove the odor causing elements with the mentioned steps above.
OLD pet stains (7+ days) go from acidic to strongly alkaline in pH. Being the opposite of acid, this actually “dissolves” the rug dyes and can lead to color loss and dye migration in these specific areas. Repeated urine contamination not only devalues oriental rugs, it is also a health concern for the indoor living environment (i.e. sewage contamination).
(Supplies needed: BROWN PAPER BAG and IRON)
Break off any large pieces before applying any heat.
Cut piece of PAPER BAG larger than the wax spill and place over the area.
With IRON on high setting, run the iron over the bag with short strokes.
As the wax melts into the paper rotate the bag to continue absorbing the wax.
Continue until no more wax melts into the bag.
Other Rug Tips
VACUUM weekly: Use upholstery attachment (or canister vacuum) when possible, running the head WITH the grain of the pile (not against it). If using an upright vacuum, put the beater bar setting on normal or high, and run side to side (so you don’t suck up fringe).
WASH recommendations: Rugs under normal (not heavy) use are to be cleaned every two years. Entry rugs, rugs in rooms with children/pets/allergy sufferers, can be cleaned annually. Rugs vacuumed weekly with moderate foot traffic can be cleaned every three years.
RUG CARE MUST NEVER DO:
(Risk of color loss, discoloration, permanent yellowing, fiber damage and dye bleeding.)
Do NOT use on oriental and area rugs (wool/silk/cotton): Folex, Resolve, Oxyclean, Simple Green, Woolite, Baking Soda, or Bleach.
Happy Holiday’s from Eastbay Oriental Rugs and Carpet Cleaning