Things That Ruin Your Rugs and How to Prevent Them

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The truth is, manufacturers are mostly honest with the lifespan and strength of area rugs. However, they remain vulnerable to a handful of common household issues that can disrupt lifespan or immediately ruin their colors, fibers, or even both.

These household agents that can ruin your rugs are so common that you have to be keen on how to protect your rugs from stains. But the good news is, it does not have to be a round-the-clock vigilance.

Prevention is always better, so doing as little as keeping an eye out for the things that might cause these problems can put you way ahead on how to protect rugs from stains. To help you have a good idea of the dangers lurking out there, here is an expert's guide to protecting your rugs from some of their worst enemies.

Just one thing to note:  you may not always be ahead of the dangers lurking around the home, so it is important to be aware of basic things like how to clean rugs and rug care instructions for manufacturers. Now, let’s get at these rug-ruining factors.

Water and Other Moisture

baby pouring water on an area rug

Prolonged exposure to water or long-standing persistent moisture on rugs can be very damaging and can create a very patchy and obvious stain on your rug. While water can serve as a good woolen rug cleaning agent, a moist rug in invites insects. Again, long-standing exposure to water or moisture can cause the underlying fibers of your area rug to rot, whether they are wool, cotton, silk, or made from goat hair.

To avoid the growth of mold and other fungi on your rug, it is important to note that a rug needs to be thoroughly air-dried after it has been washed so that no moisture remains that can cause the fibers to rot.

The take-home of every rug care instruction on preventing damage by water or other moist agents is placing the rug far away from places where it can trap moisture. Take note of these expert tips that would never go wrong.

Never place objects like resting flowerpots or flower vases directly onto a rug. It can cause the rug to trap moisture, damaging it.

Appliances and fixtures such as a defrosting refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, or kitchen sink can potentially leak water to the ground. Water will mostly make its way to a closely sited rug.

Most people prefer to leave their windows open during a storm or when it rains, if you are this person, ensure your rug is folded and kept far away from the window to avoid getting it wet or soaked.

That way, you are also incorporating vital steps on how to prevent your rug from stains, because a moist rug is a good attractant for stains that could permanently discolor or ruin the beautiful appearance of your rug.

Nevertheless, mistakes are inevitable, and accidents are bound to happen. If you are keen on preserving the lifespan and durability of your rug, use these rug care instructions for drying your rug properly.

  1. Remove the moisture

Get the rug away from the source of moisture as soon as possible. You can do this with a wet vacuum. Wet vacuums are the perfect appliance for getting rid of any kind of moisture in your rug. If you cannot afford one, you can rent.

  1. Assess the surroundings

Check the areas surrounding the rug to see whether the moisture impacted any fixtures or furniture around. Remove and dry what is affected.

  1. Aerate the rug and wet area

Proper aeration of the area helps to reduce the bad odor that may come with a moist rug. It also dries your rug fast, reducing the number of possible damages that the water would do to the rug’s fibers. Also, you can adopt different techniques for this: Use a standing or high-powered fan or open your doors and windows during a bright sunny airy day, to allow fresh air into the room.

  1. Steam clean

Steam cleaning wet carpet removes toxins, kills, and sucks up dead mold spores, and deodorizes an area rug. You can do this yourself or call an expert for help.

  1. Apply baking soda

Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda all over the rug. After waiting for a few minutes, vacuum up the baking soda from the rug.

  1. Disinfect the rug and other room surfaces

You should adopt this rug cleaning practice to prevent the growth of mold and mildew on your area rug and around your room.

It is important to adhere to these rug care instructions and adopt proper rug cleaning practices when your rug comes in contact with moisture to prevent a condition known as ‘dry hot’, where the fibers have absorbed moisture over time, get degraded by mildew, and become very stiff. If your area rugs get this bad, you can rarely save them.

Insects

insect infestation on a rug

A lot of rugs, especially handmade woolen rugs were made to last for generations, even for hundreds of years if the owner is keen on making good use of the tips on how to clean rugs and how to protect rugs from stains. However, Insects, moths, and other bugs especially are capable of causing severe damages to these rugs. Most of these insects live in the dark corners of your room, under your furniture, and rarely vacuumed surfaces of the room. So, they may go unnoticed for a while. Contaminants on your rug can attract these insects and may result in an infestation.

Insects feed on these contaminants on the rug fibers and may end up staining and destroying your area rug. Therefore, you should know how to protect rugs from stains, as your rug could be at the risk of getting stained and destroyed when insects make a meal out of it.

Interestingly, moths and beetles don't do the actual damage— their hatched larvae do. They lay their eggs on several parts of your rug, the hatched hungry larvae proceed to damage the rug, especially when food or drink had recently spilled on your rug. Here's how to avoid insect infestations.

Check Your Rug to See If There Are Any Bugs:

You can check if there are any signs of bugs. By doing this, you could prevent an impending infestation or avoid further damage to your rug.  To see if your rug has moth larvae growing on it, look out for casing. The stage before the larvae stage, moths look like sticky lint or spider webs that are attached to the rug or may even resemble small cocoons, depending on the type of bug.

You should also look out for termites and other special types of bugs by examining spots or areas where with missing wool. Also, look out for large holes appearing as patches.

Other signs may come as brown grainy residues, which could be the moth droppings. Sometimes, life crawling larvae can be spotted.

What to do if there is an Active Infestation?

If there is an active infestation on your rug, you should adopt these rug care instructions.

First, you need to call a pest control specialist to fumigate your rug and the rest of your home before you return your rug inside. Experts fumigate with special chemicals that kill the eggs and larvae of moths. If you have pets, make sure to inform them so they can use pet-friendly chemicals and avoid poisoning.

You should also get your rugs professionally cleaned, rather than doing it by yourself. These professionals have acquired mastery of rug care instructions. They know how to clean rugs properly, especially when you own pets or have kids that perhaps have soaked the rugs with urine. Bugs find that tasty than clean rugs and this would make rug cleaning more difficult.

 Tips to prevent moths and bugs from making your rug their new home:

  • Vacuum every corner and surface regularly, especially under furniture. Move furniture and movable fixtures to vacuum. This rug cleaning practice will upset the bugs and would make it less likely for them to inhabit that area.
  • Bugs like dark places and hate sunlight - they live in dark corners. This is why you must place your area rugs under direct sunlight, a few times every year.
  • Use quality rug pads. They remove air pockets, which are potential breeding spaces for bugs.

Pets

dog sitting by bowl of water

Pets like cats and dogs can gnaw on carpets like babies, chewing away the fibers bits by bits and making holes here and there. Cats with their sharp claws can even do further damage to rugs. Some of these behaviors may be due to lack or poor exercise. However, get a vet involved to curtail your pets from such behaviors, or buy rugs that are best suited for pets.

Also, pet urine, droppings, and vomit can damage area rugs, particularly rug dyes, which can become permanently distorted or discolored. This further stresses why you need to know how to protect rugs from stains that may be caused by your pets.

For quick fixes, sprinkle soda and white vinegar solution, blot until your rug is dry, then repeat the process until there is no odor or residue.

You’d agree that stains can take away the beauty or spark from your rug, so knowing how to prevent rug stains caused by a handful of agents can prove to be very useful.

Other agents that can stain or distort the color of your rug may include:

Paints: Avoid leaving buckets of paints close to rugs, or in areas where they can be easily knocked down by pets, kids, or even unaware adults. Rug stains caused by paints can be very annoying. If this happens, do not use soap nor bleach. Instead, scrape the paint and clean it with water if it is water-soluble. You can also take it to a professional.

Climate: Antique or synthetic rugs made with good, all-natural dyes usually soften over time if exposed to intense light. It is important to device proper light shading methods like UV paneling, to prevent damaging light on your rugs.

Common Spills: If you spill anything on your rug, whether it is water, oil, gum, coffee, or juice, act quickly using active rug cleaning processes. Many of these spills can easily get absorbed into the rug. They then begin to damage the rug fibers and encourage insect infestation. Clean spills like juice, oil, coffee by proper aeration. You can use baking soda or vinegar sparingly, after mixing them with water.

You should also avoid using force while scrubbing your rug to prevent the spillage from getting soaked further into the rug. You can use detergents as well. Clean gum spills by gently scraping off the gum, then apply baking soda before vacuuming.

In a nutshell, your rugs can last for as long as you want. But we can’t take away accidents around the home. After all, we don’t have eyes everywhere and spills are bound to happen. Nonetheless, the tips we’ve shared above will help you maintain your area rugs, enjoy their alluring patterns and colors for longer periods, and get them to serve their uses for many years in your home.