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Oriental Rugs vs Synthetic Rugs

When we receive an inquiry about our rug cleaning service, there is a variety of information we will need to determine the service needed and cost for that service. We may ask for the size of the rug, if there is any damage to the rug, or if it has been cleaned before. The first and most important question we will ask is if your rug is made of natural fibers (oriental), or synthetic fibers(fake). The difference between oriental rugs vs synthetic rugs makes all the difference when it comes to the cleaning process. The easiest way to determine the materials your rug is made of is to check the tag. Most rugs have a tag on the back that will tell you the size, the materials used to make the rug, as well as where it was made. There are occasions in which the tag will be incredibly worn or may not even be present. In this case, there are other methods used in which the rug materials can be tested and determined. As usual, we would like to share some information pertaining to the difference between natural fiber rugs and synthetic rugs.

While we do clean both natural fiber rugs and synthetic rugs, each one of these types of rugs has an entirely different process. Natural fiber rugs need to be cleaned properly in a facility using a safe, effective, immersion washing process. Natural fiber rugs are typically referred to as oriental rugs. These natural rugs are mostly made of wool or silk and usually contain a cotton foundation. If you happen to have some knowledge of any of these fibers, it should seem understandable that a less aggressive cleaning would be necessary. If a rug made of any of these natural fibers is washed improperly there are a variety of issues that can arise. An improper washing of a natural fiber rug would usually be done by way of hot water extraction cleaning, also known as steam cleaning. The hot water extraction cleaning method can cause shrinking, color bleeding (dye transfer), or visible damage to a natural fiber rug. There is also a secret rug killer that can develop from hot water extraction cleaning a natural fiber rug, and this issue can go entirely unnoticed until it’s too late. The base of a natural fiber rug is typically woven incredibly tightly, which makes it quite dense. The density of the base of the rug makes it difficult to fully dry in an appropriate amount of time. This prolonged drying results in the base of the rug trapping water within the fibers and staying damp. This dampness is a perfect home for mold and mildew, which over time can destroy the base of individual fibers causing them to simply fall off the rug. Bugs like moths are attracted to the damp, dark environment as well. Bugs can wreak as much if not more havoc on your rug as mold or mildew.

Natural fiber rugs, whether they contain wool, silk or cotton, require what is called an immersion washing. This type of service is a delicate, thorough washing process that is safe for most rugs. It is actually a style that is meant to replicate a river washing technique that has been used to wash rugs for millennia. When our company washes a rug, there is a fully detailed process we follow to ensure the best results are achieved, as safely as possible. The first step in this process is to identify the material of the rug. We like to complete what is called a burn test. This entails taking an individual fiber from the rug and simply burning one end. If the fiber is natural, it will burn away, smell like hair and leave some ash behind. Once a natural fiber rug is verified, it is then put through the proper washing process. The Immersion Washing process include a full dusting, a cold water flush on the wash floor, agitation of the fibers to help work the cleaning solution into the individual fibers, a flash extraction, then finally a cold air fast dry. When this method is performed properly, you should end up with some safe, fantastic results.

Due to the delicate nature of natural fibers, there is much more included in the cleaning process than there is for a synthetic rug. Synthetic rugs are quite common due to their lower prices and heavy durability. These types of rugs are typically made of polypropylene, polyester or nylon. When performing a burn test, a synthetic material will melt and ball up, as well as smell like plastic. This burn test method works very well and is quite easy to execute. Since synthetic materials are made to be much more durable than natural fibers, the options for cleaning synthetic rugs open up a bit. An Immersion Washing is acceptable for a synthetic rug, but is not entirely necessary. Most synthetic rugs are cleaned in customer homes using the hot water extraction method. Synthetic rugs are very similar to the carpet you would find in your home, so the durability allows a more invasive, heavy duty cleaning process.

Regardless of the type of material your rug is made of you want to make sure you take care of it properly, to get the most out of your investment. Taking steps like placing your rug in a safe area of your home, where it is least likely to be walked on or soiled, keeping out of direct sunlight, or away from moisture can help keep your rug in good shape for the duration of it’s life. If properly maintenance your rug can last a lifetime and beyond. Also, don’t forget to vacuum! A step as simple as regularly vacuuming at least once a week will greatly help to reduce a compounded buildup of various contaminants deep down into the fibers. Be sure to follow the maintenance and care directions for each one of your individual rugs and you will help them to have a long and successful existence!

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