Caring for Wool Carpet
Reproduced with kind permission of Carpet and Flooring Review
Wool has long been the preferred choice of UK consumers looking for a quality carpet. In the latest in CFR’s series on how retail sales staff can better educate consumers, Paul Bakker explains how wool can be kept in tip top condition
In an age where many alternative carpet materials offer easy-clean properties, consumers are ever more curious to know if natural products can be so easily maintained. It is the ease of cleaning which is probably the crucial factor in the popularity of wool as a carpeting fibre.
Wool is dirt-resistant because the fibre is opaque and dirt doesn’t show as much as with some clearer, brighter man-made fibres. It also has a matt, uneven surface to which dirt does not stick easily. Its surface – it has scales like those on a fish, coated with a thin water-repellent layer – also makes it easier to remove dry dirt by vacuum cleaning and greasy dirt with detergents.
Its ability to release dirt when cleaned means that wool carpets and rugs will retain their colour, and consequently their pattern and design, despite heavy use and frequent cleaning. This also means they can be used in lighter and brighter colours.
Vacuum clean regularly and thoroughly, which removes gritty dirt that can damage the fibres.
If something is spilled:
DO deal with spillages as soon as possible: scoop, scrape or blot it up using white tissues, kitchen towel or even a toilet roll.
DON’T rub the pile (it causes pile burst, fuzzing and lightening of the colour), and DON’T pour white wine on a red wine spill – it’s such a waste of wine! Use a little water instead, but blot it up as soon as possible. Also, DON’T pour salt on a liquid spillage: all it does is make a strong salt solution and this can change the colour of some dyes permanently!
If there is still a stain DO use a proprietary WoolSafe–approved Spot Remover (look for the Mark on the container). DON’T ever use any 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.
DO try to identify unknown spots prior to treatment – if unsure, use a solvent first. Always work from the edge of the spot inwards. DO apply small quantities of spot remover at a time and work it into the spot with a small brush, cloth or sponge. DO thoroughly rinse the spot afterwards if water-based spotters have been used. DO dry the spot with a hairdryer if possible and brush cut pile (velour) carpets in the direction of the natural pile lay.
DON’T persevere if the spot won’t come out, but DO call a professional carpet cleaner, preferably one with the right knowledge and expertise, such as a Woolsafe Certified Operator.
Wool carpets are often a major investment which is well worth looking after properly. Cleaning is best done by qualified professionals, using equipment and chemical products suitable and safe for wool. Nationwide networks of accredited cleaning companies operate in the UK and Ireland and these companies are committed to using approved products when cleaning wool carpets and rugs. The best possible combination and the one recommended by leading carpet mills! Look for the accreditation mark in Yellow Pages. If unsure, ask the experts at The Woolsafe Organisation for the free Directory. Visit www.woolsafe.org for more details.