Area Rug Pooling

Area Rug Pooling

Area Rug Pooling

Have you ever seen an area rug that has a “wet” or patchy, dirty looking area? Almost as if someone has spilled water on it? This phenomenon is known as area rug pooling or pile distortion. Its occurrence is random and its causes are largely unexplained. A cut pile rug that has “shaded” will show areas lighter or darker that the surrounding area rug pile. These areas appear discolored because the fibers have become compressed in such a way that they no longer absorb light the same way as the rest of the area rug. Rather, these fibers now reflect light and will appear brighter than the non-affected fibers all around them. When the rug is rotated 180 degrees, the opposite is true – the affected areas appear darker than the non-affected areas. This variation is caused by the reflection of light from the tufts, which come to lie in different directions. If you examine your rug closely, you will notice the “grain” or fibers, lying in different directions. Though this may seem to be something that is easily correctable with a professional area rug washing service, the majority of the time this is an irreversible problem.

So What Do We Know About Permanent Pile Reversal Also Known As Area Rug Pooling?

To be frank, unfortunately not all the much. Despite years of research and development of methods and techniques to minimize the occurrence of pile distortion, the characteristic is not predictable. Though, the opinions of many area rug cleaning experts about permanent pile distortion are some of the following:


  • It can occur in any cut pile area rug, including hand knotted, tufted, woven, bonded, knitted or hand-mad area rug or wall-to-wall carpeting.


  • No wear or traffic patterns are necessary for pooling to appear. Even new area rugs and wall-to-wall carpet are subject to these permanent pile distortion patches. Longer, loose-woven fibers of plush-piled rugs and carpet, and lower performing fibers like faux silk, and or Viscose seem to be especially prone to pooling.


  • It can occur in area rugs made from all carpet fivers and blends of different fibers, for example nylon, wool, acrylic, polypropylene and other blends.


  • There is nothing that can be done to permanently reverse or repair the appearance of a rug or carpet with pooling. While rug and carpet cleaners may be able to apply steam and groom out the affected areas, these are strictly temporary fixes with very limited results. You may try to lessen the pooling appearance yourself by moving your area rug to a room with a different furniture layout. Or, in the case of wall-to-wall carpet, try re-arranging your furniture to cover it up.


  • Its occurrence will not lead to premature wear of the rug and it will have no effect on durability of the area rug.


  • It has not been linked to maintenance methods


  • Floor temperature, humidity, air currents, static electricity and earth ray have all been investigated as possible causes


If you think Rug Pooling or Pile Distortion is the cause of the unwanted look on your area rug give the Oriental Rug Cleaning Plant a call and we can evaluate your rugs unique circumstance.