Now that it’s officially Spring, and the snow is going to give way to rain, we can expect lots of mud. Whatever area of the country you live in, tracking mud into the house is a normal concern during the rainy months of April and May. Rain makes it hard for that mud to get passed onto shoes and then carpeting from there. This problem can be compounded if you have pets or children. Pets need to go outside, and it’s just not convenient to dry them with a towel when they come back in the house, and children often forget to clean off their shoes. Here’s a brief guide to removing mud from rugs and carpets, as prepared by the rug stain removal experts at Aladdin Oriental Rug Services.
Category Archives: Rugs
One of the other fantastic benefits to coming warm weather is the anticipation of the beautiful Spring and Summer sun. While humans take this as an invitation to get their tan on, rugs and carpets aren’t so excited – they can be affected by sun fading during these months. Here’s a guide as prepared by the rug and carpet longevity experts at Aladdin Oriental Rug Services on what sun fading is, and how to prevent it in your rugs and carpets.
There’s a weird happening that occurs with wall to wall carpeting, usually in very high traffic areas. Nobody really knows what causes it, but improper carpet installation is often considered the blame. This phenomenon is called pile reversal, pooling, puddling, or watermarking. It entails the shading of a cut pile carpet, where some areas turn lighter and some turn darker. It’s called watermarking, as it makes it look like large areas of the carpet are wet. Here’s Aladdin’s guide to pile reversal.
What causes pile reversal is the changing direction of the carpet’s pile, which leads to a strange appearance as light then reflects differently on the surface of the carpet. Pile reversal, however, is not caused by the carpet cleaning process, and it does not mean that the carpet is really damaged structurally, and will fall apart. However, it’s appearance will likely not be able to be remedied.
Pile reversal used to be more of an issue in the past – nowadays, carpet manufacturers have made improvements in how they are created, so the incidence of carpet pile reversal has steeply declined.
False Pile Reversal
Sometimes people blame a carpet’s changing appearance on pile reversal, when in reality it’s false pile reversal – a true phenomenon known as tracking. Tracking is a crushing down or flattening out of the carpet due to heavy traffic patterns over the carpet’s surface. Unlike pile reversal, however, tracking can be remedied by extraction based carpet cleaning performed by a licensed professional. Tracking can be avoided through regular vacuuming and raking of the carpet. Another phenomenon often mis-blamed on carpet reversal is footmarking, which, similar to tracking, is a result of heavy traffic or someone dragging a heavy object over a carpet – leaving localized marks or footprints.
In this blog so far, we’ve covered many ways to handle immediate spills and accidents that can cause damage to rugs and carpets. However, short term care is just one aspect of maintaining rugs – and the experts at Aladdin want to instruct all of our customers as to the best ways to provide long term care for their carpets and rugs.
Just because rugs are valuable doesn’t mean they are as delicate as crystal. In fact, Oriental rugs earn their fantastic reputation due to their endurance. They can be washed when they are dirty, unlike wall to wall carpets that can only be cleaned on their upper layer. Rug dyes don’t fade or run and the oil inside their wool helps provide stain resistance. Sometimes rugs are thrown into the street for looking aged, and they get walked over by feet or even run over by cars – and somehow end up looking even better afterwards due to that accidental dusting! However, rugs need care and attention to help protect them from what causes them to be truly vulnerable – beetles, moths, wetness, and the sun.
Sunlight is maybe the worst thing for rugs with both natural and synthetic rugs, causing colors to fade, and wool/cotton to dry out and become easily cracked. It’s ok to have your rug in a sunny room as long as direct sunlight isn’t hitting it – for the most part. Some rugs can’t even handle that much sunlight. If you don’t know if your rug can handle diffused sunlight, compare the colors on the back and front of the rug – if they are lighter on the front than the back, it’s experienced sun fading. Avoid this by closing the curtains or by coating your windows with mylar to filter out UV light, softening sun glare, and lowering the heat coming through the windows. Skylights can also fade rugs – so we advise installing a UV filter skylight. If your rug has already experienced sun fading, get the rug professionally washed, as well as the faded wool tips abraded off. If this doesn’t work, you might want to fade the entire rug so as to make the colors even – so in that case, leave it directly in the sun until it’s got a real even tone.
The moths that eat wool clothes and food in your closet do damage to your rug when they are larvae, eating through it and leaving a filmy web. The good news is that moths don’t usually infest rugs that are used very often – instead preferring rugs in storage or underneath furniture, as they prefer darkness. Every once in awhile, move the furniture on top of rugs and vacuum in order to prevent moths – including the rug’s back, where moths are more likely to congregate. Look for larvae or the webs as a telltale sign. You might want to utilize mothballs or moth crystals, but these can leave a nasty smell and also fade in power quite quickly.
These bugs are a major issue on the East coast, and are tiny with colorful spots on the back.They eat nectar and pollen, and often get brought into a home on top of flowers. They lay their eggs in dust in dark areas, and both the larvae and fully developed beetles eat through the entire rug including its foundation, leaving behind shredded pieces of their skin. The best way to prevent this is by vacuuming and dusting often, as well as ensuring that you store any rugs with crystals inside airtight garbage bags away from any dampness.
If rugs remain exposed to moisture they get mildew and dry rot. This is often caused by leaving a potted plant on top of a rug – which should never ever be done, even if you try and use a special waterproof pot. This can also occur when rugs are stored inside areas that have dampness like basements or a garage, or if they get in the way of a leak. Don’t freak out if your rugs ever get wet – moisture isn’t the culprit so much as standing water that’s left there for a while. If your rug gets wet just blot it with towels, and elevate the rug to dry the floor underneath it. If your rug gets extremely soaked, dry it with a special water vacuum, or lay it outside and squeegee it thoroughly. If you don’t have these tools, roll it up and stand it on one end until water stops dripping – or leave it out in the sunlight, flipping it periodically so the sun can dry all the water. If the rug has been wet for days – for example, if there’s a leak while you are on vacation, spray it down with Lysol and bring it to a professional rug cleaning specialist, like Aladdin.
It can be hard to determine the true quality and value of a rug – and at the end of the day, your stylistic taste and opinion is what it’s important. However – here are some of the objective facts which the experts at Aladdin base their rug tastes on:
- High quality rugs stay flat on their backs without any weird ripples or wrinkles. Rugs with curling edges are likely to wear quickly.
- Rugs that have an hourglass figure are likely to wear quickly, as they came off the loom initially distorted.
- Good rugs have colors that naturally resist fading in normal types of light.
- Rugs with moth damage, holes, stains, or rips are only really ever still valuable if they are really really old.
- High quality wool has a glow and feels a bit soft and oily. Less good wool is hairy, dry, and scratchy.
What are the benefits of finely knotted rugs?
Finely knotted rugs have smoother lines, similar to how a picture with many pixels provides a more high definition image. Rugs with fine knots have a very dense surface that reflects light off it, providing an appealing glow and color profile. However, having finely woven knots isn’t enough – and some Tribal rugs are traditionally made with rougher knots. In general however, finely knotted rugs are more valuable than those with rougher knots.
The Drawing of the Rug
This means how well the rug’s design is executed according to it’s intent – meaning the physical structure, the lines, the coloring, the borders, the field, and the coloring.
Natural and Synthetic Dyes
Natural dyes are commonly accepted as superior to synthetic ones – however, it’s hard without assistance of a professional lab to be able to tell whether a rug is synthetic or natural. However, since in general naturally dyed rugs are considered higher value or superior to others, it certainly won’t hurt to acquire a naturally dyed one.
Machine and Hand Spinning
Hand spun wool is the traditional material for Oriental rugs, but after World War 2, most rugs were spun by machine. However, around 1985 due to demand by rug connoisseurs, some weavers resumed the traditional hand weaving technique. Some people are more into the uniform appearance of machine spun wool, but many collectors prefer the ‘Wabi-Sabi’ effect produced by the imperfections and variations in handspun rugs. Hand spun yarn absorbs higher levels of dye, providing eye catching color fields and variation – making them, in our opinion, much more beautiful.
Some people think that just because a rug has a thick pile it’s of a higher quality, but this isn’t true. The finest rugs are sometimes very thin – however, if a rug is meant for an area where it’s going to get constantly walked on, or walked on by many people, it should be thick so as to handle the high traffic.
Quality rugs are either naturally aged or washed in toners towards the end of their creation which will subtly dull their new colors, giving them a sense of character that is usually simply acquired over many years. Rugs should not be over bleached or piled on with synthetic treatment chemicals – in the opinion of the experts at Aladdin, natural is really best.
Many people usually mix up carpets and rugs although they are very different types of home decoration. Carpets usually extend over the entire floor from wall to wall, and are set securely into place – while rugs usually cover only a particular area of the floor, and are usually either placed underneath a table or to designate an area of a living room meant for hanging out and conversation. While it’s your choice, of course, to decide which of these to place into your home, it can help to know the disadvantages and advantages of both – key facts that the experts at Aladdin will elucidate on in this brief blog posting.
As a storied, tried, and true way to cover up a tile, cement, or wood floor, rugs can add stylish flair and an artistic edge due to their varied colors and designs as compared to carpeting. Rugs can define specific parts of the room, which gives you the advantage of being able to easily switch up and customize your decor, which can flip the room’s visual and spatial impressions with some simple adjustments. When utilized inside a large open space plan, a rug can unite aesthetically disparate furniture together to create a more solid decorative unity.
Wall to Wall Carpets
This form of carpeting is strongly secured to the floor with tacking strips and glue, and is unable to shift around, creating the possibility for tripping and falling that is present with rugs. When utilized within a solid decor scheme, wall to wall carpeting can join multiple rooms in a house, and make smaller homes seem bigger. Besides these obvious pros, wall to wall carpets add layers of sound insulation and warmth to homes, making them especially useful for homes with kids who crawl on the floor, or the elderly in winter.
Rug Pros and Cons
Rugs are easy to wash and dry, so they might make a better choice for homeowners who suffer allergies. Rugs allow people to have a tile or hardwood floor but still keep an aspect of warmth by covering it up with a rug. However, unsecured rugs can pose a falling risk, and have been seen to cause slips and trips at a exponentially higher level than wall to wall carpeting, making them perhaps not the best choice for homes housing the elderly.
Carpet Pros and Cons
Wall to wall carpets have slipping resistance, and add levels of soft cushioning and warmth when they are placed throughout the entire home- even more so when they have memory foam pads placed underneath. Although carpets of many different colors, designs, and pile types are available, neutral colored carpeting can help unite disparate aesthetics in a single space. The main drawback to wall to wall carpeting, is that after it is installed it can take a bit of time for the nasty chemical scents to wear off, up to several months in fact. This is a phenomenon called off gassing. Additionally, carpets can quickly accumulate set in impressions called wear patterns in heavily trafficked areas – and they take much more work to clean and maintain than rugs.
Buying a rug can be difficult and tricky – you want to make sure that you’re purchasing a rug that’s the correct size for the room it’s intended to be placed in. If it’s too big, or too small – it simply won’t work at all. Rugs can be expensive too, so you’re going to want to be spending your money productively and wisely. It’s common to purchase too small rugs since 5 by 7 and 6 by 9 inch rugs are much cheaper than 8 by 10 or 9 by 12 inchers, but if you get too small of a rug, your room can seem ill decorated, and just off. Here’s a quick guide prepared by the experts at Aladdin to help you figure out what size of rug is best for your room.
Make sure to measure how big the room’s seating area is before you shop for the rug, and choose the closest rug size that corresponds for it. If you have a small room or small budget, try getting a smaller rug that floats in front of the furniture – which is a tactic that especially works for couches that are pushed up against the wall. If your room is too big or your furniture isn’t sitting against the wall, get a bigger rug or else the room will look strangely proportioned.
If your rug is more long than wide, orient it in the room lengthwise. If your room is more wide than long, orient the rug in the room horizontally. You want to make sure that the rug covers a certain amount of space in the room that corresponds to their matching proportions between the rug and the room.
The best advice we can give for this contentious issue is to make sure to stay consistent with your practices. By this we mean, if you have a rug that doesn’t fit under all your furniture, but only some of it, make sure that either all the furniture legs are on the rug, or none of it is at all. If there’s a mixture, it will add a sense of scrambled discord to your living and seating area.
Well, okay, let’s backtrack. Sometimes all of the sofa legs are on the rug, and the chair legs are half on, or vice versa, and it looks alright – but this is mostly up to your opinion. Try it out and see how it looks, but just saying, it usually doesn’t look too good. If you’re deciding which legs you want to position on the rug, choose the most discreet and least obvious ones – for example, if you have a low to the ground sofa pressed up on or near the wall, it’s more likely that the floor under it won’t be visible so it’s less likely people will notice it’s not fully on the rug.
- Square rugs are only ideal for square rooms. Round rugs are for more playful / social / family oriented rooms.
- If you have a too-small rug you’ve fallen in love with, purchase a big sisal, seagrass rug, or jute that fits the entire seating area, and put the rug on top of it.
- Ensure that your rug has at least six to ten inches of space on either side of the sofa. You want to make sure that the width of the rug isn’t the same width as the sofa, as it will create an visually unappetizing illusion of smallness.
The general feels, looks, durability and monetary values of a rug are mainly based on what materials are used in its creation. If you really want a rug that meets your specific needs and lasts as long as it should, you should be aware of the range of materials available to you. In this blog post, the experts at Aladdin Rug and Carpet will help delineate the differences between types of natural and synthetic rugs.
These rugs are made of plant or animal based fibers.
This widely used rug material is the most common material used in high quality area pile based rugs. Wool can come from sheep, goats, alpacas, or llamas. It’s resilient and durable, being much longer lasting than synthetics. It absorbs and holds dyes with lots of success, and is naturally stain, water, and fire resistant – as well as resisting dust mites.
This naturally strong and durable fiber can easily absorb and retain many types of dyes. It’s often used in rug making with a wool blend, as many people find that the combination of materials is very comfortable on bare feet. Cotton wool blend rugs are also less expensive than all wool rugs, but are somewhat less durable than them.
This plant fiber is made from the leaves of the Agave Sisalana plant, also known as American Aloe or the Century Plant. It’s from Central America, but is now grown in Mexico, Java, and East Africa. It is often used in all plant based rugs for it’s fine, long fibers that can be processed into smooth yarn like material. They are anti-static, absorb sound, flame retardant, and have long longevity.
This material made from mostly Indian and Chinese stem fiber plants is good for making durable fabrics due to its firmness and stability. Just like with other plant fibers like sisal, jute looks great in rugs, but it can also be course and not stain-proof – so it’s usually blended with softer or more stain resistant materials in order to make rugs.
This material is made from wetland plants with grassy stems. It’s known to be non-pourous with a naturally smooth texture, and has a hay color and smell to it, both of which disappear over time.
This wood like material is mostly found in Japanese and Chinese regions. It’s vastly durable, making it a great choice for any heavily trafficked rug, and offers fantastic bang for your buck – not to mention being available in a massive variety of style and size options.
This natural fiber is known for it’s luxurious shine, and is the most high valued rug fiber; even some added silk components can vastly raise the price of a rug. Silk rugs should only be cleaned and cared for by professional rug cleaners.
Silk is a good place to segway into this article’s discussion of synthetic materials, as there’s lots of faux silk on the market, usually made of viscose or rayon polyesters. Mercerized cotton is also sometimes substituted for silk, usually in rug accents or in making shorter, more dense pile rugs.
This wood pulp based material is shiny, but when used by itself can easily get matted – however, when combined with other materials or only used as an accent, it can effectively substitute the more expensive real silk.
This material is also based in wood (in tree cellulose) and is very similar to silk in appearance and look, however it can melt if it gets exposed to fire.
This fiber material is synthetic, and is sometimes blended with other materials to provide the appearance of a wool rug.
This synthetic material is known for strength and uniformity as well as its ability to resist staining and soiling. They are available in tons of colors and are easily cleaned. Their strong nature makes them a fantastic choice for placement underneath furniture or heavily trafficked areas, and they usually cost way less than rugs made from natural materials – however they simply don’t last as long as a good quality wool or silk rug.
Polypropylene / Olefin
These petroleum based fibers are a product of propylene and ethylene gases, and when used in rugs can add strength, colorfastness, quick-drying ability, abrasion resistance, mildew resistance, and stain/soiling resistance. Rugs that are made from these materials usually cost less than other similar rugs. Olefin rugs are almost wooly, and polypropylene can be heat treated to make them last longer, and gain a matte sheen that appears more like wool. These rugs are lightweight, however, making them not an ideal choice for high traffic areas.
Dirt vacuum cleaners often miss lots of dirt. This is why if you want to prevent a dirty house, the experts at Aladdin agree that you should lessen the amount of dirt that gets on carpets to begin with by making a no-shoes rule, or by putting doormats by every entrance to a room with a rug. Frequent vacuuming is the best way to prevent embedded dirt, however if a rug is already dirty, the best way to clean it is to roll it up and give it to a licensed carpet or rug cleaner. Their form of steam cleaning often works the best.
However, if you make a quick stain, you might want to address it as soon as possible. Here’s some fantastic spot-cleaning tips.
Simply blot up any skill by covering up the spot with a clean towel or paper towel pile. Press with your handwheel, and repeat until most of the liquid stain has been absorbed.
Spot Cleaning Solution
Mix clear hand friendly dishwashing soap with water (very little soap, less than a quarter teaspoon) and use this as a blotting solution.
Mist the area with water and blot it with a wet towel, then a dry towel. Do these two steps over and over again until the stain comes out, but make sure not to rub the carpet.
Best Carpet Cleaning Methods
For regular cleaning upkeep, vacuum it. For liquid spills, clean using the blotting methods. For deep cleaning, have it professionally steam cleaned.
For regular cleaning upkeep, vacuuming, ideally with a floor tool as opposed to a rotating brush. For liquid spills, use water and blotting – never with any base substances. For deep cleaning, again, we highly recommend getting it professionally steam cleaned.
Plant Based Carpets
For regular cleaning upkeep, vacuum it in a similar fashion that you’d use for a synthetic carpet. For liquid spills, blot it – and usually blotting works fast – just make sure to dry wet areas fast, you can use a hair drier. For deep cleaning, yet again, we highly stress the necessity of bringing the carpet to a professional for professional cleaning.
Stain Removal Techniques
- Blood, berries chocolate, soda, coffee, etc – Hydrogen Peroxide
- Mud – Let stain dry and manually break off pieces and vacuum.
- Beer, cat pee – White vinegar
- Ketchup, alcoholic mixed drinks, soy sauce, watercolors – Ammonia (but never on wool)
- Tar, wax, crayons, grease, lotion, makeup – Rubbing alcohol
- Bleaches, dye, turmeric, dyed household cleaners – These stains are usually permanent, and you might have to simply remove and patch the stained area – but try your hand with a professional cleaner.
Carpet and area rugs have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s the experts at Aladdin’s guide as to the differences between the two, so you can better decide what works for your household or business.
Advantages of Carpets
Carpets are one the most commonly used type of flooring inside homes. They go through phases of popularity, but have remained used for years and years. Homes with wall to wall carpets create a sense of comfort and total stylistic unity, offering the advantages of:
- Softening both the appearance of a room, and sound
- Being very comfortable for bare feet, which is great in cold months
- Cheap cleaning
- A soft cushion to walk on, sit on, or fall on – important if you have toddlers
- It insulates your home, which can help reduce your energy bill.
Disadvantages of carpets
However, carpets have these disadvantages:
- It can be hard to clean the wall adjacent edges of carpets
- Carpets can wear within a few years, leading to the need to replace the entire carpet
- Carpets require specialty installation
- Carpets can contribute towards allergies and asthma as if improperly cleaned they can hold dust or mites
Advantages of Area Rugs
Many other homeowners love their area rugs. Some of the reasoning behind this passion is:
- Rugs often come in bolder designs and colors
- Rugs offer versatility and the ability to be switched from different rooms
- Rugs are easier to clean, either yourself or by a professional cleaner
- They are perfect for anybody renting an apartment, as you can take it with you when you move, and they also muffle your footsteps, decreasing potential annoyance for downstairs neighbors
- They are generally less expensive than wall to wall carpets
- THey can be utilized easier in a broader design scheme as a pop of color
- They can be conversation pieces
- They don’t require specialty installation
Disadvantages of area rugs
Some of the potential drawbacks of area rugs are:
- If not set down properly they can easily slide – but this can be remedied with the use of a rug pad.
- They can be tripped over if a corner is sticking up – which can be remedied with double sided tape on top of a rug pad.
- They only cover part of the floor – but that’s also part of their appeal! Can you tell we favor area rugs over carpets? Don’t blame us, this is our passion!
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