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Which of your Area Rugs should be cleaned by a Professional?

Monday, Jul. 15th 2013

Area Rugs- Bock's Steam StarWondering which of your area rugs should be professionally cleaned? In many cases, this will be a straight-forward question with an equally simple answer. Other times, it becomes more difficult to come up with a clear-cut determination.

There are three basic areas you need to consider:

First would be the soiling condition of your area rugs. A dusty rug might be spiffed up easily at home with a quick vacuuming, while an extremely soiled one could require extensive cleaning to restore it to an acceptable state.

Second, consider the value of your area rugs and balance that against the cost of having the rug professionally cleaned. So how much is your area rug worth? There can be several factors to consider before settling on it’s value to YOU.

  • Monetary: Was the rug purchased at the local department store for $35.00, or did you pay a designer $3,500 for it? This is one of the easy factors if you’re the one who purchased the rug, since you know specifically what you paid. Obviously, if you have a sizeable investment in the rug, you’ll want to protect that investment by having it professionally maintained.
  • Function: Is the rug used as a runner to protect the surface it lies on, or is it primarily decorative? As a rule, a decorative piece will be valued more than the one exposed to extensive foot traffic.
  • Construction: Is it a hand woven Oriental or Persian treasure, or was the rug produced in bulk at a factory? Rugs produced by the thousands are generally inexpensive and easily replaced, while a hand-made one may have taken months or years of labor to complete. As a rule, the value of an item increases proportionally with the amount of time and labor required to create it.
  • Condition: Is the rug stained and worn, or in a pristine state? This factor can be somewhat etheric. While wear and tear will always reduce the value of an item, a particularly valuable piece may still have a high monetary value despite a degree of wear.
  • Age: Is it nearly new or 50 years old? A high-priced rug can easily increase in value as it ages, while the value of an inexpensive one will generally decrease. Additionally, the rug can become more delicate as it ages, making it more prone to damage during cleaning.
  • Fiber Type: Was it constructed using Natural or Synthetic fibers? Today’s synthetic fibers are very resilient and easily maintained. Natural fibers such as silk and wool are usually more predisposed to difficulties and damage when cleaning.
  • Sentiment: Is the rug just an object to wipe your feet on, or is it a family piece which has been passed down from your Great-Great-Grandmother? A family heirloom is going carry much more sentimental weight than most other value factors, since it can be irreplaceable to you.

Third, there can be a number of risk factors involved with self-cleaning. For instance, the dyes coloring your rug could be subject to running when exposed to some cleaning solutions. One color running into another can cause extensive irreversible blurring of the design. Some fibers will be more sensitive to the alkalinity of cleaning solutions, raising the risk of browning. In addition, natural fibers can be subject to shrinkage, which could be devastating on some rugs. Your professional cleaner has the training, tools and experience to safely and effectively clean your delicate or valuable rugs.

In the final analysis, you are faced with balancing difficulty, cost/value and risk. If you are still undecided, consult Bock’s Steam Star Professional. He’ll be able help you weigh these factors and give you some educated advice.

photo credit: Carpetbeggers via photopin cc

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