In this article, Emmett discusses what to do with your Oriental Rug in the the event of a spill, pet accident, or flood.
If you don’t find the information you need below, call 1-888-811-RUGS (1-888-811-7847) or 510-526-1087 during business hours.
Spills and Pet Stains
1. Whether it is wine, coffee, coolaid, urine, paint or whatever, the first step is to remove as much of it as possible from the rug- as soon as possible. Paper towels work well. Keep blotting until you have got as much out as possible.
2. After blotting, many spills will require diluting. If it is clear that much of the spilled substance is still in the rug, dilute it with water (assuming that the substance is water soluble)- as much water as necessary. That may mean a half cup for a small spill or it may mean a quart of water for a major spill. Don’t get the rug sopping wet unless you need to.
Please note that some rugs have unstable dyes that may run if you put water on them. But they are a small minority of all rugs. Sometimes you simply must take a chance.
3. Now back to blotting. Get as much out as possible.
4. If the rug has become wet in the process, you needn’t panic. Chances are that it can stay wet for at least several days without harm. Still, you will have to manage the wet rug and promote drying. If the rug is quite wet, you may have to elevate it to promote air circulation under it. You might just stuff some wadded up newspapers under it. You may wish to play a fan on the rug to circulate air.
5. If the rug is still stained after all your efforts, consider taking it to a professional rug washer as soon as you can. Very often spills come out in the wash.
6. Do not use spot removers on Oriental rugs that are formulated for use on wall to wall carpeting. They will harm the wool pile of your rug.
Urine stains from pets are probably the most common of all stains in Oriental rugs. They present a special problem because urine actually changes the chemical composition of dyes once it has had a chance to set. The best strategy then (besides preventing it from happening) is to remove it the same way as other stains- as fast as possible. After removing as much as possible, rinse the area with a solution of water and distilled white vinegar- about one tablespoon per cup of water- and then remove as much as possible from the rug. If a urine stain is already dry when you discover it, act as quickly as possible anyway, and get the rug to an Oriental rug cleaning specialist. Enzyme type urine removers feed on wool and should not be used on Oriental rugs.
If your rug has become sopping wet from plumbing problems, a leaking roof, as a result of firefighting or anything else, the situation may not be as bad as you fear. A rug can stay wet for at least several days before it is harmed. Still, you must do the best you can to manage it. Even though the water and the rug are dirty, your priority most likely will be to get the rug dry. You can have it washed later.
In many cities there are 24 hour emergency services available to deal with wet rugs. You can find them in the phone book under carpets. Their work seems satisfactory on carpeting, but sometimes inappropriate and even harmful on Oriental rugs. Unless you are simply overwhelmed, you may be better off to handle the problem yourself.
1. If possible, get the rug to a wooden deck, a concrete patio or even a sidewalk. If you have a squeegee on a long handle, use it to squeegee out the water, pushing in the direction of the pile. In a pinch, you can use the back of a heavy garden rake as a substitute for a squeegee. Get as much water out of the rug as possible.
If you cannot get the rug to a flat, outdoor surface, you may vacuum it with a Shop Vac or other wet-or-dry type vacuum, pulling as much water as you can from the rug.
2. After squeegeeing or vacuuming it, you may now roll the rug without folding it and stand it on end, letting it stand until water is no longer dripping from it.
3. At this point the rug is still damp but no longer sopping wet. Finish drying it however you can. If you have good weather, you can dry it in the sun. If you must, dry it indoors in a warm room, elevating it, if necessary, to let air circulate around it. A fan trained on the rug will help.
4. If necessary, you can, at your convenience, have the rug washed by professional specialists.