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Caring for your Carpets and Rugs

A new wool carpet will last longer and look better if a routine of regular vacuuming, periodic cleaning and immediate removal of spots and spills is followed.

Very little equipment is required to maintain a carpet well. A good vacuum cleaner is essential as well as a small box of supplies - including carpet shampoo, dry cleaning fluid and clean absorbent cloths or paper tissues to remove spills.

Carpet cleaning spot and stain removal tips

The following are sound basic rules for keeping your carpet looking its best.

Regular cleaning will extend the life of your carpet and maintain its good appearance.

Vacuum clean regularly and thoroughly to remove gritty dirt that can damage the fibres.

Deal with spillages as soon as possible, preferably the moment they occur.

When your carpet or rug reaches a stage where it could do with a really good cleaning, you can either do the job yourself, or you can call in a professional carpet cleaning company.

If you are considering cleaning the carpet or rug yourself make sure to use qualified products for the job.

For example, WOOLSAFE-approved carpet care products have been independently and scientifically tested and are safe and effective for cleaning and maintaining all types of carpets and rugs, especially wool and woolblends.

Never use detergents such as dish washing liquids, soaps or other cleaners recommended for general household use. Although they may clean your carpet satisfactorily they will almost certainly cause problems such as rapid re-soiling, colour bleeding or other damage to the pile or backing of the carpet.

You can hire a carpet cleaning machine (these are available from different dry cleaners or hardware stores), but again make sure you get an approved cleaning product to go with it. If in doubt: check! Read the instructions for use.

So-called 3-in-1 cleaning machines can also be used, but make sure you first read the instructions for using it as a wet cleaning machine.

Before starting ANY wet cleaning ALWAYS test the carpet in an inconspicuous place for colour fastness. Also check, if possible, any maintenance leaflet that came with the carpet for the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding wet cleaning.

It is almost always best to engage the services of a professional carpet & upholstery cleaning company. This is also the recommendation from carpet manufacturers.

To get a really expert job done entrust the work to a carpet cleaning company. 

Again, ensure you use a qualified cleaning company. WOOLSAFE have a list of accredited carpet cleaners and these companies are fully trained, have been in business for a considerable length of time, are members of one or more recognised professional trade associations related to the cleaning industry and have a reputation for top quality service.

Other Handy Maintenance Tips

Entrance or walk-off mats

The use of entrance mats at all outside entrances to the house is highly recommended, as it will significantly reduce the rate at which your carpets will soil. They should be as large as possible to allow most of the street dirt to be removed from shoe soles. The mats must be cleaned regularly.

Fibre loss

Many newly installed carpets, particularly those with a cut or velour pile, tend to lose fibre during the first few weeks on the floor. This effect, called shedding or fluffing, is caused by the way the yarn is spun and the carpet is made. It is no reason for alarm, but a natural phenomenon, which will stop eventually. Just vacuum the carpet a little more gently for the first few weeks and empty the dust bag or receptacle regularly.  

Protective treatments

Many carpets come with a protective fibre treatment to reduce problems with staining and soiling. These treatments, while effective in many ways, are not bullet-proof and will eventually wear off. Quick response to spills and regular cleaning is still required.

Pile reversal or Shading

Pile reversal, also known as shading, or wrongly, water marking, is the effect whereby areas of velour or velvet carpet appear to become lighter or darker in colour than the surrounding area. It is an optical effect, brought about by localised changes in the direction of pile lay and made visible by the way light is reflected off the carpet surface. It is caused by traffic patterns or unevenness in the floor, but is NOT a carpet defect. Loop pile and many hard-twist carpets are not affected by this. 


Occasionally tufts may appear above the surface of the carpet. Do NOT pull them out, but cut them level with the surrounding tufts using small scissors.

Colour change

The carpet may change colour over time for a variety of reasons, usually due to pile flattening, gradual soiling and slight fading of the dyes used to colour the fibres. A good professional cleaning will usually restore the carpet’s appearance.

Draught marking 

Carpets may show increased soiling around the edges of a room, under doors and near air ducts. This is called draught marking, soil filtration or fogging and is caused by the pile fibres filtering out dirt particles from the air blowing under skirting boards or doors, or from ducts.

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