What an amazing product wool is. Produced from the fleece of sheep with natural lanolin to resist stains and dust mites, and even deterring bacterial growth when kept in good condition. The problem of keeping them in good condition comes with plenty of mixed advice. Find below a few easy guidelines on how to clean wool carpets. It is far simpler than you initially think and to keep wool carpets in top condition will require the most modest of weekly routines. The advice you have heard, it’s probably wrong and may end up damaging your wool carpets further.
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The Simplest Advice for Cleaning Wool Carpets
Before we learn how to remove stains and mishaps, let’s deal with what will provide you with the longest and best lifetime use for your wool carpet.
Did you just purchase a wool carpet? Don’t be alarmed that there is some pile coming out of it every few days. This is all-natural and your carpet will settle. Vacuum it twice a week while it is settling down and go over it a few times when you are vacuuming.
When your wool carpet has settled down or been down for a while, regular vacuuming is still necessary, though we would suggest twice a week in high traffic areas and once in low traffic ones.
The reason for the repeated vacuuming is a simple one. Picture with me a small grain of sand on a shoe. As you walk over the carpet that grain of sand falls onto the carpet and sits just on the top of it. As you walk back and forth through the day, it slowly begins to make its way down to the backing layer where it settles.
This innocent grain of sand will then move around that base layer and cause the most damage your wool carpet will experience as it erodes the tiny fibres from the bottom.
Ever notice how carpets by the front door wear out so quickly? Its due to this abrasive nature of sand falling between the fibres and literally grinding it away.
Solution – Vacuum regularly.
Once that sand, mud, flour or whatever the carpet collects during the day is sucked up the pile returns back to normal and maintains its barrier keeping particles at the top of the carpet.
Mud, Spills and Bodily Fluids
Once in a while the dog is going to vomit, the cat is going to urinate, or someone is going to knock your glass of red from your hand and onto the floor all while walking wet mud through the room.
These are real-life events and you will be pleased to know your lovely wool carpet was built for just these occasions. Wool is naturally stain-resistant. It is only when leaving a stain on a carpet, allowing it to soak in and dry (except mud) are when problems are encountered. Clean as soon as possible.
Mud is the easiest to clean. Just like sheep that lay in the mud, that wool fleece resists it and will vacuum away easily once dried.
DO NOT RUB the mud in. Leave it to go all crumbly and then vacuum it up.
Whether its wine, juice, tea or coffee, the aim here is to soak as much of the liquid up first. Take clean white cloths or kitchen towel and lay it on the spill. Dab gently and let the liquid be absorbed.
Repeat until the carpet is almost dry.
Now use only cold water. Take a clean white cloth (yes white so you know it is working) and dab at the spill. Never rub.
It should go something like this:
- Dab up the spill with lots of dry towels until almost dry
- Wet a cloth with cold water, wring out and dab
Over and over until the spill stops showing on your white cloth, then continue to dab until as dry as possible.
No, don’t put salt, baking powder, or some other magic solution on the spill, just be patient and dab up the mess.
Coffee, tea, sugary drinks will leave your carpet slightly sticky and for that you will need to purchase a WoolSafe carpet shampoo to remove the last of the stain out, but you will have removed the bulk of it.
If it is urine, then your cold water and dabbing method works fine to remove the bulk of the accident. For a clean smell, it may be worthwhile getting a WoolSafe carpet cleaner. There is a home solution you can mix up but try this in an area that isn’t noticed to make sure you are not damaging your carpet.
Mix up 1 teaspoon laundry cleaner, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and 1 litre of cold water. Dab this mixture on the wool carpet, being careful not to soak it. Then use clean cold water to dab over the area to ‘rinse’ out any residues and use a dry towel to dab up the remaining water until the carpet is as dry as possible. Air-dry it to make sure it is dried quickly.
Blood is a protein and as such will create a sticky residue if not cleaned properly. Also note, that if you use warm/hot water on blood it will congeal and most likely stain too. Use cold water and dab as much as possible. Keep dipping, rinsing and dabbing over and over until the bulk of the blood has been brought out. Use a clean white towel to dry the carpet and finish with a WoolSafe carpet cleaner if any remains.
- Always work a stain from the edges towards the centre
- Use a spoon to lift any solid debris from the carpet first
- Use ice on gum to harden it and then lift it with a spoon
- Don’t use stain repellent on Wool carpets, they attract more dirt to them
- Sugar-based products attract more dirt if the area isn’t properly cleaned
- Use Mineral Turpentine for Lipstick, Rust, Oil and Crayons with a small Q-tip, clean what is left with WoolSafe Carpet cleaner and dab up the rest with clean cold water.
- Bleach dissolves wool – AVOID
- Wool carpets under furniture look different because of an effect called ‘phot-bleaching’. DO NOT PANIC. Vacuum and leave in the light and it will return to normal.
- Indents from table legs – wet the indent with a little water and allow to air dry
- Air dry with natural air and speed it up by using a fan to blow air over the area for faster drying.
- Never Spray an area of carpet – it forces the dirt deeper into the carpet. Use only the dab method to draw out the stain.
- Never use washing up liquid – it leaves a sticky residue which attracts more dirt to the area.
- Use small dabs of with a damp cloth rather than one big dab from a soaked cloth. It may take a little longer, but you will have a better result.
Professional Care for your Wool Carpets
Over time your wool carpets are going to soil and begin looking a bit dirty, usually from cooking fats and normal air pollution. This is the ideal time to get a professional cleaner in to clean your carpets.
Generally, they will use a hot water cleaner. They will make a few passes first wetting and drying the carpet and finally going over the carpet sucking up more than 90% of the water as they clean your carpets. Using someone professional will be better than hiring a machine to do the job yourself, but if you choose to, make sure you dry your carpets as much as possible.
Leaving wool carpets wet for a long period of time will cause them to smell and generally cause them to deteriorate quickly. Air dry and ventilate the rooms you are cleaning and turn those air fans on to get them bone dry.
Your wool carpet is a fantastic investment and if you inherited one, you are going to be happy with it for many years to come. Generally, they need a professional to bring them back to life if you have one that has been neglected for a number of years, but they will be fantastic once that investment has been made. There is so much advice about How to Clean a Wool Carpet, but above you should have found the best tip you will read online. Cold clean water and lots of clean cloths, and ALWAYS Dab your Stain.