Rug First Aid and Spot Cleaning
*Always try to work on the spill right away in order to minimize the affected area(s).
Spot Cleaning Solution
• 1/4 cup white vinegar
• 1/2 tsp liquid dish washing detergent
• 2 cups tepid water
Most Oriental rug dyes are acid-fast. By adding a little white vinegar to the wash water you make the wash water more acidic, and this reinforces the bond between the dyes and the wool in the rug, and so helps prevent the colors from running.
Food Spills and Pet Urine
Of the most common stains, urine presents the most severe problem. It can cause severe color run in the rug, and the odor can be very hard to remove or disguise. Urine can also chemically damage the structure of a rug by making the foundation hard and less supple, and the presence of urine in a rug can help attract moths. Pets like to use the same spot, and repeated wettings can cause the foundation of the rug to lose mechanical strength to the point where the rug cracks and breaks when rolled or folded.
In case of a food spill or urine on a rug, the problem is much more easily handled if the spot is treated promptly, before the spill is allowed to dry. Blot up as much liquid as possible with paper towels or a clean, white cloth. Try to rinse out as much of the spill as possible.
A smaller rug can be taken outside and rinsed with a hose and cool water; try not to saturate the whole rug- it will take much longer to dry if you do. With a larger carpet, the corner or edge can be laid in a plastic container and saturated with cool water. If the problem is near the middle of the rug, place a large pail or container under the stained area of the carpet. Make a hollow in the carpet over the container and pour cool water through the rug. Add about 1 cup of white vinegar per gallon to the rinse water- vinegar helps prevent colors from running and will help neutralize the urine odor. Remember; don’t exceed the capacity of the container under the rug!
After the rug has been rinsed, blot dry and sponge with rug shampoo or with the solution given above. It is very important to let the rug dry thoroughly to avoid fungus or mold. Drying a wet area of a larger carpet can be hastened by arranging the carpet so that air can circulate both top and bottom- drape the end of the carpet across a lawn chair, or put a sawhorse or painted bench under the rug in the area of the wet spot.
Finally, sponge the area with cool, clean water to finish. Use absorbent towels or a firm, non-shedding sponge. Don’t scrub hard at the pile, and sponge in the direction of the nap. Place some towels under the spot to keep the floor or pad from getting wet. Dry thoroughly. When the nap feels dry, check the back of the rug to be sure the area is completely dry. If cleaning the rug has disturbed the pile, you may use a soft brush to realign the fibers, but don’t use a brush so stiff that it pulls fibers from the pile.
Pet Stool and Regurgitation
If a pet regurgitates on a rug, you are faced with removing a complex mixture of foodstuffs, saliva, and stomach acids. Depending on the foods involved, this mixture can actually work to stain the pile a different hue. If a pet regurgitates or defecates on a rug, clean the area immediately by picking up as much material as possible with paper towels or with a clean, white cloth. If necessary, use a tablespoon to scrape up all the foreign material. Blot the area dry and immediately sponge several times with rug shampoo or with the cleaning solution listed below. Don’t scrub hard- too much manipulation of the pile can spread the stain. Sponge the pile in the direction of the nap. Rinse and dry according to the above recommendations.
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