How often your rug is cleaned depends on how well it's taken care of. Sam Presnell from The Rug Gallery discusses how to know when it's time to get your rug professionally cleaned. Listen or read more to find out if your rug is due for a cleaning.
John Maher: Welcome to The Rug Gallery with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I'm John Maher and I'm here with the owner of The Rug Gallery Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hi, John.
John: Sam, Today, we're talking about, do you need professional rug cleaning? Are there some signs that a rug needs more cleaning than what you might be able to do yourself?
Sam: I would think there are definite signs of that that I would notice. A lot of times, I find it unbelievable how long people take to get their rugs clean. It's almost like caked in there, and the fibers are almost matted together with the dirt. The back of the rug is so stiff because there is so much dirt into it, you can't hardly roll it up. I guess everybody is different out there as far as what they think about rugs and how they take care of them.
Then there's other people who you could have ... for 20 years would never need cleaning because you take your shoes off when you come to the door. They're very persistent about how they care for their rugs and everything else in the house.
How Foot Traffic Affects Rugs
John: Right. A lot depends on the use of the rug and how much traffic it gets and that sort of thing?
Sam: Yes. You can see the traffic. Usually, you can see, if it's a dark rug you'll notice that it looks a lot lighter in the traffic area. It'll look dusty or it looks like a dried-up color compared to the rich color that you see around it. That's a really good sign right there. If it's a light rug it's just the opposite. You're going to see a dirt or a dingy area that will appear in those light areas compared to the rest of the rug that doesn't get the wear. You'll start noticing those. That's a good thing to be observant to, and at that point to consider getting your rug cleaned.
How Often Should a Rug be Cleaned?
John: How often should a rug be professionally cleaned?
Sam: That's a good question. Like I said, it depends on the owner and your house, how many kids, dogs, how you care for it, how that room was used, how much traffic. It's really hard to say. We as an average, I've always read this, but I don't think it's correct, but I think three to five years is what most people do between cleanings. There's some people that should probably clean every year. There's some people who clean their rugs every year who should and there's people who want to clean their rugs in 20 years, you still shouldn't clean it because it's not dirty.
I'm a big believer, if it's dirty, clean it, if it's not, leave it be because when you clean, you actually take the life out of a textile. It doesn't get better with cleaning every time. If you clean a lot, cleaning can take a lot out of a fiber over time.
How a Rug is Professioanlly Cleaned
John: Okay. How does a professional go about cleaning a rug?
Sam: Well, I think that's different when somebody cleans your house, or you're doing it yourself and spot cleaning and things like that. You can do all those things. What happens when the professional cleaners, first, they're going to examine the rug. They're going to make sure there's not the possibility of rugs some bleed, where the color's overdyed next to a light color. They want to test it first. Then they're going to know what type of fibers in that rug. Is it nylon? Is it a blend of nylon and something else? Is it viscose? Is it wool? They have that ability because they do this every day.
They know what does what and what you clean it with. The most important thing I think that most people don't understand when you have a professional cleaner, a good professional cleaner, is the dusting machine. Basically, you can imagine the old days, they took out, put that rug over a line and you would see those old beaters. It would be like a really cool looking tennis racket eventually was designed to beat the crap out of a rug.
They hang it over a line or whatever and grandma or somebody would just go out there and just beat the heck out of it, the kids would too, to get that dust and dirt out of the rug before they cleaned it because why do you want to clean a rug that you're just pushing the dirt right into the back of the rug? It's going to create a logjam in the back of the rug and it'll become like the mortar in a brick house. You just got to be very careful how you clean a rug and a cleaner has to be very careful how they clean rug.
John: Right. That's step one is to beat it and get all that dust out of it. What comes next after that?
Sam: Well, after you do that, if you got most of the dust and dirt you can out of it, at that point, you're going to apply the detergent or surfactant that cleans the rug. Like I said, there are different pHs for different fibers. There's different den factors, we call them, in cleaning which the strengths of the soaps and detergents that we use. You got to understand that part of it. In most cleaning, the guy that comes in with the truck, he's loaded up for nylon carpet or polypropylene carpet or whatever he's loaded up for. He's not able to really adjust on the fly to what type of fiber that is. Whereas a real cleaner, if he's hand cleaned a lot of stuff, he'll pull stuff to the side and say, "Okay, we're going to clean this differently".
When to Hire a Professional Rug Cleaner
Sam: I think that's different professional and somebody who's not professional. That's why it's important. If you have a decent rug you want it cleaned right, trust a professional to do it. You can light clean it on your own. Then there's some rugs out there today that you can hose down with a hose and you couldn't destroy it. Most good rugs or good textiles you want somebody that knows what they're doing.
John: You don't want to have that guy who comes in to clean your carpet, to steam-clean your carpet, and say, "Hey. Can you do the rug in my dining room too"? Have him hit that, that's probably not a great idea?
Sam: Yes. That's a very common thing. I heard that a lot where a guy come out and cleaned my carpet for $99 for the whole house. Also cleaned my area rug, where you're going to charge me $100 just to clean it, the one rug. Like I said, they miss out on all those things I just talked about. Also, if you look at a good rug, it's woven through the back. You can imagine if it's a wool or whatever fiber it is, it can be absorbent. The back of that rug is going to get wet. Anytime you get a rug that's wet, get it dark enough and moist enough, you're going to create molds and mildews.
You could have the top of that rug cleaned and the back of it could be totally destroyed within a few weeks of being in that situation where it becomes molded or mildewed.
Benefits of Rug Cleaning
John: What are some of the other benefits of a professional rug cleaning? Does it extend the life of the rug ultimately? I know you said that if it's not dirty don't clean it, but if it does have some dirt in it, does it help to maintain the rug over time?
Sam: Well, they're going to get all the dirt out of it. Which is something you may not do if you're going to do it on your own or have somebody, like I said, bring a machine in and do it. You're going to really get down and get the dirt out of it and clean it much better than somebody who's doing it themselves. A professional can really deliver ... just the finished product, where you see the way the rug comes back looking like new again. I mean it's amazing what a good cleaner can do for a rug.
John: All right. That's great information, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: All right John, thank you.
John: For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and Oriental rugs and carpets, visit RugGalleryCincy.com. That's RugGallery C-I-N-C-Y.com or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes. If you could take the time to give us a review on iTunes as well, we'd appreciate that. I'm John Maher, see you next time on The Rug Gallery.