Rugs are tightly woven and even though they may not look dirty, they may still be full of bacteria, allergens, dust, and dirt. Wool rugs are especially good at hiding these things because wool fiber has pockets that look like fish scales when looked at under a microscope. These pockets trap the dirt and pollutants.
The average person sheds millions of skin cells every hour and along with the food particles, pollen, and pet dander become food for germs. As a result, your area rug probably contains hundreds of thousands of bacteria per square inch. Some of the bacteria munching on the banquet hiding in your Persian rug include E coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus. Thousands of dust mites can also live in your tightly woven rug. These dust mites act as allergens along with pollen, dander dust and mold spores on spills. When you walk or your children roll around on your rug, these pollutants are disrupted and some will rise to the surface. These allergens can cause your family to sniffle and sneeze.
Besides the danger to your family’s health, the health of your rug is also at risk. Sand, grit, and abrasives can sick to the soles of shoes and on pets paws and fur and then get tracked onto and get trapped deep in the tight weave and scaly fibers of your rug. Industry studies show that a rug can hold up to a pound per square foot of dry particulate matter before looking “dirty.” Dirt is abrasive like sandpaper and will cut a rug’s fibers causing visible wear and can permanently damage your oriental carpet. The longer the dirt remains and the more it is allowed to build up the more damage it will do and the faster it will wear out.
Regular vacuuming is helpful, but even the best vacuums only pick up some of those tiny invaders and that gritty grime, because a vacuum cleaner’s suction and rotation beater brushes don’t reach the bottom of a rug where the rug’s knots and fibers keep the intruders trapped . You can remove more of these infiltrators by turning your rug upside down and vacuuming the back from time to time. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt that will fall out of your rug fibers and foundation unto the floor to be swept up even if you vacuumed the top of the rug first. After vacuuming the back of the rug, do turn it over and vacuum the top to remove anything that is clinging to the surface.
Vacuuming is one of the best ways to keep a rug looking nice in between professional cleaning. However, Vacuuming cannot remove all of the grit, and excessive vacuuming with a Hoover style beater bar vacuum can actually accelerate wear. Keep in mind that rugs do not wear out at the surface they wear out at the foundation. To preserve your rugs, it is advised to have them professionally dusted by a qualified, well trained rug care expert who uses specialized equipment designed for Oriental rug cleaning. If a rug cleaner does not properly dust your rug, they cannot get it clean. Periodic, professional rug cleaning will get rid of the dirty little secrets your rug is keeping.