How to Clean Wool Carpets

How to Clean Wool Carpets

Wool carpets are popular for their rich texture and durability. Like any other carpet, a wool carpet also needs regular cleaning, but with some extra care. Here are some tips for the same.
Wool carpets are often associated with the origin of the carpet industry. Unlike the modern-day carpets that are made of synthetic and recycled fibers, woolen ones have a traditional bonding and are still in vogue. They are durable, have very soft texture and are flame resistant. The structure of wool fibers helps in retaining dust and other such particles on the surface itself, making it easier to clean the carpet. However, extra care is needed to clean a wool carpet properly.

Wool Carpet Problems

Before starting with the cleaning methods, let us learn more about some of the common wool carpet problems. As we all know, the method of cleaning a carpet is decided as per the material used for making it. Even though, wool is considered one of the finest materials for carpets, it has its own disadvantages.
  • Most of the solutions available for synthetic carpet cleaning are not suitable for wool carpets. Solutions with bleaching agents and optical brighteners can damage this type of carpets.
  • Another problem related is its moisture retention property. Over-wetting can result in delaying the drying process, which may cause shrinking of the carpet. It can also lead to an unpleasant odor.
  • This carpet is prone to color change and so, it should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
  • As in case of wool garments, wool carpets are also affected by high temperatures that can cause shrinking (of the carpet) and damage to the texture of fibers.
These were some of the basic features of a wool carpet, knowledge of which would be useful in cleaning them. Once you are accustomed with the nature and demands of wool carpet, cleaning them will become much more easy.

General Cleaning

It is always better to clean wool carpets once or twice a week. This will help you to maintain the carpet in a good condition, for a long time. Another golden rule is to remove spills and stains on the carpet, as soon as possible. You may resort to professional or heavy-duty cleaning, occasionally.

Use a Vacuum Cleaner
Unlike carpets made of synthetic fibers, soil can be vacuumed from wool carpets very easily. These carpets can be maintained well, with regular vacuuming and cleaning. A vacuum cleaner with a rotating beater bar can be used for agitating the carpet, which helps in better removal of soil stuck on the surface. The advantage of a vacuum with a rotating beater bar is that it facilitates removal of embedded soil and thereby prevents matting and packing. Vacuuming once a week will do for most carpets, though it would be ideal to do it thrice a week, for better results. If you have enough time, daily vacuuming is the best way to maintain the beauty of your wool carpet. Heavily trafficked areas should be vacuumed frequently. The following are some points to be kept in mind while vacuuming a wool carpet.
  • Never allow the vacuum bag to get full, as it can affect the efficiency of the machine. Empty the bag before it is half full.
  • The belt of the vacuum should be in good condition, so as to allow rotation of the beater, when it comes in contact with the carpet. If you notice a gradual slowing down of rotation, replace the belt.
  • The brush of the beater should barely touch the surface, lightly vibrating the carpet. If there is any fuzzing, a more flexible brush should be used.
  • Vacuum slowly to remove maximum amount of embedded soil. In case of heavily trafficked areas, vacuum in both directions to prevent matting.
Cleaning Solutions
You must be very cautious while choosing a cleaning solution for a wool carpet. It should be neither too acidic nor too alkaline, as the former may cause breakdown of the fibers or damage the texture, while the latter can cause browning of the fibers. A perfect cleaning solution for this type of carpets should have a pH value close to neutral. It should not leave any sticky residue in the carpet, which can attract more dirt. The cleaning solution should not contain any bleach or dye. Select those which are specifically made for wool carpets.

Spilling and Staining
In case of any spill, act quickly and blot it up with a clean cloth or paper towels. Then use a towel dampened with lukewarm water to remove the substance completely. You can replace water with a solution of three parts water and one part vinegar. This solution will not cause any damage to your carpet, but it will dilute the stain. Blot the area continuously with dry cloth and never leave any wet spot. Avoid rubbing or scrapping the carpet for stain removal. This can cause breaking down of the fibers. Over-wetting is also detrimental to your wool carpet.

Heavy-duty Cleaning

Wool carpets can be maintained by removing dry soil through regular vacuum cleaning, but it may not remove the oily soil formed by cooking vapors and air pollution. It is very important to clean wool carpets thoroughly, once in every two years. It can be done at your home itself, but wool-safe dry cleaning is done by professionals. You can also go for dry compound cleaning, which can be done at home. In this method, the dry compound is sprinkled over the carpet, which is agitated well and then vacuumed to remove the compound with the soil and other dirt attached to it. Aerosol foam shampoos are also available for cleaning wool carpets. It should be sprayed on the carpet and spread with a brush, before removing with vacuum. Another method is spray extraction cleaning, which is mostly done by professionals. In this method, a solution of warm water and detergent is injected into the carpet under high pressure, which enables the soil and other dirt to get suspended in the water. Then, immediately a high-suction wet-vacuum system is employed to extract the water.

Cleaning wool carpets is not a difficult task. It can be done with a bit of extra care regarding cleaning solutions, temperature and over-wetting. Regular vacuuming is very much important, if you want to maintain your expensive wool carpet for years. Though, you may try the above said methods, professionals are always better, for cleaning wool carpets that are highly expensive. Even the excessively dirty ones need heavy-duty cleaning that is better done by professionals.
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