What to Know About Mothproofing Rugs

Who would have thought that your beautiful oriental area rug is also a buffet? I suppose it's all relative. Tomato, tomahto. Carmel, caramel. Beautiful accent rug, free food. At least, that's what moths see when they settle into your rug and chow down. Hence the expression "snug as a bug in a rug". Rugs are the perfect place for carpet beetles or moths to thrive, breed, eat, and live out a happy bug life. Good for the bug, bad for you and your rug. So, how do you know if your rug is harboring these secret neighbors? What precautions can you take? What do you need to know about mothproofing rugs?

Telltale Signs of Infestation

Rugs can last for hundreds of years. That's not hyperbole. The oldest rug in the world is about 2,400 years old. While rugs have the potential to survive for centuries, bugs can destroy them in just a few months. Fortunately, these destructive little pests are easy to avoid with proper precautions and rug care. Getting rid of them can be a little more challenging.

There are a couple of warning signs to look for. First, regularly check the underside of your rug for the telltale 'lint'. White and spidery looking, these sticky blotches are actually moth eggs. The next red flag is inconsistency in the surface of the rug. Is it balding? Can you identify any divots or holes? These will be subtle at first, but once they're present they continue to grow. With wool rugs, moths will eat them through and through. If the rug has a cotton foundation, they will eat as far as the cotton before stopping. In this case, you'll be able to see the white patches that make up the base of the rug.

The worst-case scenario is a live infestation of moths or carpet beetles. You'll clearly see larvae squirming or beetles skittering in the pile. The rug may or may not be salvageable, but regardless you will want to call an exterminator. A professional exterminator will be necessary in order to kill any hatched bugs, and will be able to determine if the infestation spread beyond the rug. Then, you'll want a rug cleaning service to provide full immersion washing. If there's neighboring carpet or any other susceptible textiles, it's best to get those cleaned as well.

Tips for Mothproofing Rugs

Bugs like dark, quiet places. These undisturbed areas provide the perfect grounds for breeding and feeding. With that in mind, there's a few precautions you can take to protect your rug. Regular vacuuming is an obvious and excellent disturbance. Pay special attention to rugs that are under furniture. These are darker areas and don't see any traffic—perfect for bugs. Don't forget to vacuum the underside of a rug as well! This may not dislodge eggs already embedded in the material, but it will discourage pests from settling there in the first place.

You may also consider placing rugs out in direct sunlight for a few hours every month or so. The types of bugs that like to eat carpet tend to dislike the sun. A good quality rug pad is also advisable for mothproofing rugs. Preventing bug infestation is one of the many benefits of a rug pad. Placed underneath a rug, a pad minimizes space and eliminates air pockets, keeping bugs from living and breeding there.

A moth repellent treatment will also keep the bugs at bay. If you store your rug for any length of time, treat your rug with a repellant solution. A rug is most susceptible to bugs when it's in storage, so having it treated is a worthwhile investment.

Zerorez® Can Help

Remember, it only takes a couple of months for bugs to ruin a rug. If eggs are already lodged deep in the rug, regular vacuuming won't extract them. They can lie dormant for years, waiting for the right conditions before hatching. When they hatch, they can easily transfer to other surfaces and textiles. The only surefire way to remove eggs is through immersion washing.

With Zerorez, area rugs are brought to our cleaning facility. After an initial dusting, a machine beats the soil out of the rug, creating vibrations that dislodge dry particles. Then, the immersion washing begins.

The rug is submerged in a pool of water and soap is applied. We pay close attention to the chemistry of this soap because different fibers respond to different cleaning agents. The soap is lathered, sometimes by hand (we're sticklers for quality). A roller is used to flush the water out of and away from the rug, pulling deeply-embedded dirt particles and any eggs with it. This rinsing process is repeated until the water runs clear. We finish the process off with special drying equipment that removes all moisture from a rug. In just a few hours, the equipment thoroughly dries the rug and it's delivered back to homeowners.

If you're concerned about mothproofing rugs or just have a dirty rug, check us out at zerorezla.com or give us a ring at 818-881-5744.


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