Area Rug Cleaning Surprises. Pre-Existing Conditions to be Aware of

area rug cleaning surprises
We've seen it happen in the past one too many times. We'd start the cleaning process on an area rug that a client had dropped off at our Irvine rug cleaning plant and we would find some surprises. Invariably these surprises were pre-existing conditions that were hidden or obscured by either heavy soiling or the overall condition of the rug in question. However, in our client's mind it would leave a doubt. Was it possibly something that we had caused during the cleaning process? To avoid these unpleasant and difficult conversations, we decided to start educating our clients on these pre-existing conditions.

As I'd mentioned before excessive soiling in itself could be considered a pre-existing condition, however more often than not it hides and obscures conditions that either are part and parcel of a hand knotted oriental area rug.

One such condition is called ABRASH. It loosely translates to "cloudy". It manifests itself as different colored lines within the rug. It's a condition that virtually every hand knotted rug has and it's actually sought after and valued by rug collectors. Abrash is a function of the dyed wool and the color variations that exist within a handmade and animal grown product. When a rug is heavily soiled it will mask this condition quite effectively and once the rug is clean and vibrant looking the abrash condition is much more visible.

White Knots
White knots can also sometimes be light blue in color. Actually they'll match the color of the rugs foundation fibers as that is what you're seeing when you see white knots. White knots are created when foundation fibers break and the weaver is forced to tie them together, creating a knot. When a rug is new and has a lot of face fibers you won't be able to see these knots. As a rug ages, the wool in the high-use areas starts wearing down. Eventually the face fibers get short enough to expose the knots.

The challenge for us cleaners is the fact that these knots get dirty along with the rest of the rug. They blend into the rug perfectly until it gets cleaned. "What did you do to my rug?" is a common reaction of a surprised rug owner when they see a field of little white knots that didn't seem to be there before the cleaning. The good news is that we can touch-up these white knots to blend in with the overall color of the rug.

Pet Stains
We love our pets, but they can do some serious damage to our area rugs. For some reason, when given a choice, pets will choose a soft area rug over a hard surface every time. And when they do, the resulting stain can be difficult to remove. Especially on many Chinese rugs the staining is of a permanent nature. Once the rug comes to us for a cleaning the stain is often obscured by the soil that is sticking to some of the spot cleaning substances used to treat the original pet stain. And once washed the stain is there more prominent than ever.

Prior Repairs/Patches
Sometimes, especially on older rugs, certain repairs will be done to save a rug from the junk pile. However because the owner may not want to spend a lot of money on the repair it will be done with a patch instead of a re-weaving. A rug patch is when a donor piece is taken from another rug to be used as a patch for the rug in question. Often the colors and patterns can be a poor match. However with time and soiling conditions hiding these imperfections it all looks pretty good until we clean the rug and expose these imperfections for everyone to see.

This is just a short listing of conditions we look for when we take-in a rug for cleaning. It's important to be aware of pre-existing conditions and to point them out when we find them to our clients. This way they don't end-up being surprised as we were in our early days of rug cleaning when we uncover a pre-existing condition.

If you're ready to give your rug the royal treatment and don't end-up with any, after-the-fact, surprises we invite you to give us a call here at Zerorez®: 866-937-6739 or 949-387-2222. Also be sure to visit for your free download of the Consumers Guide to Rug Cleaning.


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