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How to Clean Wool Carpet

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Full-room carpeting made of wool is less common now than it used to be, but wool rugs are still very common. The following will help you properly clean wool carpeting or rugs, with some tips for spot and stain removal as well as general cleaning.

Routine maintenance for wool carpet and rugs should include regular vacuuming, annual cleaning (preferably by a professional - every two-to-three years is fine if you are easy on your rugs), and immediate removal of spills and spots.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming is not quite the same for wool as for other fibers. If you set the vacuum too low the beater brushes will cause damage. You'll eventually see excessive fuzzing. For this reason self-adjusting vacuum cleaners are not recommended since they adjust too deeply. Using machines made by Dyson may be a problem as well. Doing so will void the warranty for at least one major brand of wool carpeting. Apparently these vacuum cleaners are just too rough for wool.

Spots and Spills

Clean up spots and spills as fast as you can. Wool fiber is more prone to staining than many others, so quick cleanup is crucial. You can sop up liquids with white paper towels or a clean (preferably white) cotton cloth. Use a spoon to carefully scrape out semi-solids.

Water may remove the rest of the spot. Apply a little at a time and remove it using white paper towels. If some discoloration remains, try water with a few drops of dish detergent (avoid highly-perfumed detergents; original blue Dawn or other clear ones are usually okay). If this is not enough you can try cleaning agents that are made specifically for wool carpet, which are widely available.

Dry the carpet quickly and thoroughly. Use a layer of white paper towels with some weight on it, and replace this as it gets wet. Once most moisture is removed you can fluff up the fibers with your fingers. A fan blowing on the spot is a good idea for finishing the drying.

To clean wool carpet, you can use one of the many powders designed for light cleaning. These are sprinkled over the whole carpet, brushed into the fibers, left for a while to absorb the dirt (follow the instructions on that come with the particular cleaning agent), and then vacuumed up. Pass slowly over the rug or carpeting when vacuuming, so you get most or all of the remaining cleaning residue.

For deep cleaning it is best to use a hot-water extraction system. Portable units can be used, but they are not the best. They have less suction power than the "truck mount" units that professionals use. This can lead to over-wetting of the fibers, which means there is some potential for mildew or at least a long drying time. For this reason it may be best to hire a good cleaning company to clean wool carpets and rugs. Be sure that the technician does sufficient "dry strokes" with the cleaning wand, to remove as much moisture as possible.

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