Sam Presnell of The Rug Gallery discusses rug protectors, including the usefulness (or not) of those plastic or rubber pieces that go under your furniture legs, as well as stain guard sprays and treatments for the rug itself.
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. Hello Sam.
Sam Presnell: Hello John.
What Are Rug Protectors?
John: Sam, today we're talking about rug protectors. What are rug protectors?
Sam: [laughs] When I heard you were going to ask that, I was thinking, "What the heck is a rug protector?" I was thinking it's those little discs you put underneath the legs of the chairs and furniture, a little…sometimes they're rubber, vinyl or whatever they are.
John: Right. That would be one way.
Sam: Yeah, carpeted bottoms with a metal top to them, and things like that. I don't think they're a rug protector, I think they're just basically -- I'm not sure what they're for other than being stone ugly as far as I'm concerned. [laughs] I have a problem with that. I don't recommend them, but I know a lot of people use them. I know I came from a house…in my grandmother's house, there's not a piece of furniture that didn't have it on there.
I think the reason that most people put those protectors on there is so when you're polishing…most people don't polish their furniture anymore, but when you polish your furniture or the legs of your furniture, that the stain from the polish doesn't go into the textile or the flooring or the rug. I think that's…it does add for that. But as far as protecting the rug or protecting…it doesn't really do anything physically, it just may be helping with that.
John: I think one of the things that it does is it's supposed to spread the weight out a little bit. If you have those…a chair or a couch that has very narrow or thin legs, then it spreads the weight of that out across more of the carpet, so you don't get those indentations in the rug. I don't know if you feel that does much or…?
Sam: I would dispute that, because you're still going to get the dents. Maybe not as severe by not having it. It will spread it out, there's no question about that. It will spread it out, but you're still going to get a dent. That fiber's going to be flattened in those areas where there's furniture, especially heavy furniture, people sitting in those areas. You're definitely going to see dents, but most of those dents come out with cleaning or steaming. It's not really a big issue as far as…it's not ruining the rug. I guess a big thing is if there's something constantly moving. You have some type of grinding sensation where people are constantly sitting or rocking or something like that. Maybe then I could see some reason for it.
John: It might be a good idea to just, every once in a while, move your couch or your chairs a couple inches to the left or right or something like that, too, to just…so you're not just always in that one same spot.
Removing Furniture Dents from Rugs and Carpets
Sam: Exactly. Then, I've got a real quick recipe for taking those dents out, for where you put the chairs. Basically, what you do is you take a clean cloth, a white clean cloth, like a t-shirt material. You dip it in some water, like a bucket of water -- cold water. You strain it so it's almost dry. You lay it over that dot. You get out a hot iron and you put a hot iron on them and just pushes the steam into that. It just blows up that yarn and comes right back up and it looks like new again.
John: That's a great tip.
Sam: That really helps, if you want to move that couch or that chair and you don't want that dent to be noticeable, you can do that as well.
Scotchgard and Stain Resistant Rug Treatments
John: Great. Another type of rug protector would be a Scotchgard treatment that you'd put on your rug or carpet in order to protect it from stains. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Sam: Yes, I'm a big believer in that. In fact, we sell a treatment here at the store that we use. Not only does it protect, but it also is good for UV, for fading as well. I always say, it's not like putting a piece of glass over a rug or something like that that's going to totally protect it and nothing will get into it. I think the big thing for people to do is realize that it is resistant but it's not “proof”. It can happen.
A lot of times on a textile, that spot or stain will actually wick down through the side of the yarn and wick up from the bottom up after it's gotten past the treatment part of it, because remember, you're only treating the top part of that fiber. It's not like it's getting all the way through every fiber and coating it. It is more of a topical treatment. It does absorb somewhat into the top part and the outside of it but it does not give 100% percent coverage. If something sits long enough and you don't get it up fast enough, it can get down and wick into those little cracks and crannies and end up wicking back into it.
Basically, Scotchgarding is important. We do a different type of thing than you buy by the can. A lot of people over-apply it. If you do that, you're going to get clumping and stickiness through the tops of those fibers. It's going to look like it's clumped together, but it will come out with just a good hot extraction cleaning. So, you want to be careful. You just want to mist it in, it will absorb by itself. A lot of people get, I'd say, carried away with it.
I'm not sure what…they think they're painting a car or something with it, I'm not sure, but it could be harmful, definitely, and look nasty and feel bad to the touch. Whereas, if it's applied properly, it will, you'll not feel or see anything. You won't even know it's on there. When you spill something on it, you can tell if it's working. Just take a glass of water, spill it on there; it will bead right up and stay on the surface. I love that concept, especially if you’ve got kids and things like that and pets. Accidents happen all the time. Just basically be prepared for it and just blot it up as fast as you can.
John: Is that the biggest thing to watch out for, if you're going to try to apply something like Scotchgard yourself, would be to just make sure you don't over-apply it?
Sam: Yes. That's the big thing, I would say. I think, once you get it on there, if you think it's under-applied, just pour some water on there. You'll know if it's working or not. It’s pretty apparent when you really look at it. I do recommend to companies out there who do that, us being one of them -- so of course, I recommend them -- these guys have a much better quality product and they have guarantees about what they will do. They'll come out and do your first cleaning for free if you have a spot on there you can't get out. A lot of them will refund your money if you get a spot on it. There are some really great companies out there doing this as a service and that's their only business.
Cleaning A Stain-Resistant Rug
John: Is the way that you would approach cleaning a spill on a rug or carpet that's been treated different than if it was untreated?
Sam: No. Some things will not clean when it's treated because you're not going to break down the protectant. Basically, you've got to get that water temperature up above 160 degrees in order to break that window or to break that treatment on top. You will have to get really hot and steam extraction in order to get something out of it. You can stain, believe me, like I said, you're only getting the top part of it. If it gets down between the cracks, it can wick up from the bottom. You say, "It stained. They said it wouldn't stain." It's not “proof”, remember that, it's “resistant”.
John: All right. That's great information and great advice, Sam. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Sam: Thanks John, my pleasure.
John: For more information about Sam, The Rug Gallery and oriental rugs and carpets, visit ruggallerycincy.com. That's rug gallery C-I-N-C-Y dot com or call 513-793-9505. Make sure you catch the latest episodes by subscribing to this podcast on iTunes. If you can 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.