Cleaning Wool Carpets: 5 Myths That You Should Completely Ignore

Wool is one of the most popular materials used for carpets and is favoured by many homeowners due to its stunning appeal. Wool carpets have that sense of sophistication that not all carpets have and can instantly make any home feel modern and luxurious. Aside from the aesthetics, wool carpets have plenty of benefits including being hard-wearing, sound-absorbing, fire-resistant, and environmentally friendly.

Unfortunately, there are many myths surrounding wool carpets, especially when it comes to cleaning. Some people think that wool carpets are a nightmare to maintain while others believe that soaking them in moisture will cause them to shrink. In hopes of helping you clean your wool carpet more effectively, we’ve taken a look at the most common cleaning myths regarding wool carpets and debunk them once and for all.

Myth #1: Wet cleaning a wool carpet will damage the carpet fibres.

Wool carpets are made of natural fibres and the main belief is that using wet-cleaning methods (e.g. wet extractors) can harm the carpet altogether. This is because natural fibres are thought to be less resistant to wear and tear than synthetic carpet fibres.

Fact:

This is entirely false. Wool is much more resilient compared to synthetic fibres like nylon and polyester and can withstand any wet cleaning method without suffering a hint of damage. If a wet extractor is used according to instructions, it will do little to no harm on a wool carpet. A wet extractor can prove useful in treating liquid spills and dry out a wool carpet in a matter of minutes.

Myth #2: Soaking a wool carpet will cause it to shrink

One of the major concerns with wool carpets is that the natural fibres may absorb liquids and cause them to shrink. This can be attributed to older carpets made of jute (a woven fabric made from plant fibres) that shrink when exposed to water or moisture.

Fact:

Not true. As previously mentioned, wool carpets are extremely hard-wearing and no amount of water or moisture can cause the fibres to shrink. Of course, you don’t want to leave your carpet soaking wet so it’s best to dry it immediately after wet cleaning to avoid any damp smells.

Myth #3: Over-wetting the carpet will cause discolouration

Wool carpets tend to discolour when oversaturated with water. Such is the case when a massive spill occurs and turns the wool carpet into a brown shade.

Fact:

False again. A wool carpet turns brown when oversaturated with water not because it got discoloured, but because of the backing on the carpet that wicks back when wet. 

Myth #4: Bleach should never be used on wool carpets

Fact:

This is true. Bleach is corrosive and will damage your wool carpet severely. When cleaning wool carpeting, it’s best to stick to stain-removing chemicals that are safe to use on natural fibres. If in doubt, you can test an inconspicuous area of your wool carpet to see if the cleaning chemical poses an adverse reaction.

Myth #5: Wool should be air-dried only

Fact:

False.  The faster your wool carpet dries, the better. It’s a good idea to ventilate the room after wet cleaning your carpet to facilitate drying times. Place carpet floor dryers in strategic positions to ensure your wool carpet dries as fast as possible. The good news is that unlike synthetic fibres, wool is naturally resistant to mould and mildew as the fibres allow moisture to pass through.

How to clean a wool carpet properly

Now that we’ve got the facts laid out, it’s time to figure out how to actually clean a wool carpet. A lot goes into carpet cleaning that most homeowners get wrong which is why we’re here to give you a quick rundown of proper carpet cleaning. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Shake the dirt out of the carpet. While rug beaters are great for removing loose dirt on synthetic carpets, avoid using them on wool as it can cause the fibres to shed easily.
  • Vacuum your wool carpet at least once a week to prevent dust, dirt and debris from accumulating.
  • Treat spills and stains as soon as possible. Use a paper towel to blot the liquid and apply undiluted vinegar over the spill before finishing up with detergent.
  • Use a gentle detergent solution when treating spots or stains. Delicate fabric washes are usually colourfast so that they don’t harm the natural colour of wool fibres.
  • Have your wool carpet cleaned professionally every 6 months. Professional carpet cleaning can do wonders in terms of keeping your carpet clean and in great condition.

Along with proper cleaning, it’s also important to implement preventative measures that will help preserve the condition of your wool carpet.

  • Use indoor slippers to limit the tracking of mud and dirt
  • Restrict food and drink to non-carpeted areas when possible
  • Move the wool carpet away from direct sunlight to minimise fading
  • Choose carpet cleaning products carefully

As always, it is vital to get the opinion of an expert carpet cleaner in Perth before making any decisions regarding your carpets and how they should be cleaned.