06 PM | 13 Jul

Moths, Bugs, and Rugs (What you need to know)

Wool rugs are woven to last HUNDREDS of years. In our industry a rug today is not considered to be “antique” unless it is woven before 1900. They are made to last, and many of them do when properly cared for.

However, you put a rug in the wrong conditions, with the wrong bugs, and you can lose that rug in under a year. Eaten away by moths, carpet beetles, or other bugs feeding on other contaminants the rug fibers are holding on to. (more…)

10 AM | 04 Apr

Rug Chick in the New York Times

Hello Rug Chick readers,

My mom Kate, our team, and I are super excited that our company (K. Blatchford’s Rug Cleaning in San Diego) made today’s Home section of the New York Times (4/4/13). Columnist Linda Lee wanted advice on the proper care for rugs, and what rugs are worth buying today.

Me and my mom Kate.

Me and my mom Kate.

New York Times article => A Rug Expert Keeps Her Eyes On The Floor

Any of you who are looking for a local rug cleaner to use for your rugs, please visit my directory of rug cleaners I know and trust. These are peers I’ve known for decades, or companies who I have trained personally.

Our first of four Textile Pro teams. There are 100 companies who have graduated this advanced program.

Our first of four Textile Pro teams. There are 100 companies who have graduated this advanced program.

If you know of fantastic rug cleaners in your area that I should know about – feel free to email me their details. Everyone on my list I have either been to their shops myself to “see” what they do, or I’ve worked with them through training programs. There are many “hacks” in our industry ruining rugs, especially those who clean rugs in the home instead of taking them out to properly wash them, so this is my way to try to connect rug owners in need with good cleaners.

Lisa’s List of Rug Cleaners Find A Rug Cleaner

Hand woven rugs take months, sometimes years, to weave. They are a piece of a weaver’s heart and soul, and they need to be cared for accordingly. Great wool rugs last centuries. We tell our clients that we are a part of that rug’s life, because it will outlast us many times.

Hopefully this information, and this blog, will help keep more of these pieces of art to have a longer, cleaner, and happier life.

Happy Rug Cleaning!

Lisa

P.S. If you are a professional rug cleaner and are interested in taking my next course, which is on Rug Identification Basics, the details for that course (a combination of online lessons and in-person instruction in San Diego) can be found at www.rugclass.com. It’s always a great idea to have a “business” excuse to come to San Diego… and bring the family!

12 PM | 31 Jul

Rug Topics for CFI Members.

I just had the privilege of speaking to a group of CFI members up in the Inland Empire. (That is the Carpet & Fabricare Institute, which is a professional trade association that covers cleaning and restoration professionals throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona.)

The topic was… I know you’re shocked… RUGS!

After several hours of non-stop teaching on my end, I promised the group I’d make a post to link to a number of posts here that covers some of the topics we talked about more in depth. So here’s the list!

CLICK HERE => Rug Shop Set-ups

CLICK HERE => Rugs and Pets

CLICK HERE => Rugs That Bleed

CLICK HERE => Rugs and Plants

CLICK HERE => Tea Wash Rugs

CLICK HERE => Why Some Rugs Buckle

CLICK HERE => Why Rugs Aren’t Cleaned In The Home

CLICK HERE => Rugs and Floods

CLICK HERE => Silk Rugs

CLICK HERE => Fake Silk (Viscose) Rugs

I’ve been a member of CFI for several decades, and I’ve met some of my closest industry friends – and best mentors – through this group. I served on their board for 11 years, a few of those as president, which was a highlight for me… even with all the “battles” we had in those good ol’ days – LOL!

It has been exciting to see the energy, creativity, and passion behind those on the board right now… and I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the group and all of us members.

Thank you CFI – and thanks to Jason and Terrance for inviting me to come meet their members. I enjoyed it!

– Lisa

P.S. If you are a professional cleaner and do not have a trade association that you belong to, it’s worth taking a look at CFI. Their number is 1-800-CARPET-9 if you want to call to see about upcoming meetings and educational courses.

09 PM | 06 Mar

Oriental Rug Dyes. What you need to know.

True or false – colorfast wool rug can bleed?

TRUE.

The rug may be colorfast in CERTAIN situations. For example, with a regular cleaning or wash, with a neutral or acid side cleaning solution, the rug could be perfectly fine. No dye migration (aka “bleeding”).

But, under different circumstances, it could absolutely have dyes migrate and bleed out.  Some possible culprits – using high heat, using high pH solutions, keeping the rug wet too long (or in a flood), or exposure to pet urine stains.

True or false – A dye fix/lock/stabilizing solution used by cleaners “sets” a wool rug’s dyes?

FALSE.

The solutions available in our industry for professionally cleaning rugs do not “set” the dyes. They STABILIZE them. This means with wool or silk rugs that are NOT colorfast, but test “stable” with the intended stabilizing solution, that you have a WINDOW OF TIME to clean them. (FYI – with silk rugs that window is MUCH shorter than with wool rugs. You better know what you are doing if you are handling silk, or subcontract the work to a rug plant with silk rug expertise.)

I hear many “salespeople” sharing that you “set” the dyes with this or that.

That is not only inaccurate…

…it is downright DANGEROUS.

A cleaner sent me photos from a job where he applied dye fix on two identical rugs for cleaning. He no problem with the first rug cleaning, using his truck mount. (Which, by the way, you should not use truck mounts to clean oriental rugs period… but I’m not going to get into that right now.)

The heat began kicking in after the first rug was done, and so the matching rug with the same dye fix and the same rug cleaning solution EXCEPT now with added much warmer water – you got this…

Heat is bad for natural fiber rugs.

…red dye bleed.

The danger with well-trained professional carpet cleaners deciding to add “rugs” to their services is that their experience with installed carpeting does not transfer to natural fiber oriental and specialty area rug cleaning.

And the solutions, tools, and techniques they own don’t transfer well either.

In the home, heat, alkaline solutions, and the best tools for getting the installed synthetic carpet the cleanest possible, can absolutely ruin natural fiber rugs.

The most common rug problems I’m asked for help with from professional carpet cleaners are 90% due to applying the wrong cleaning techniques to rugs that they do not have the right knowledge about.

And one of the most common results are, dye migration or dye loss or discoloration.

A rug’s value can vary from a cheap $100 Pottery Barn rug to a rug worth millions of dollars.

If you are not sure what you are working on, you might take a little time to find out the basics. And certainly determine the fiber type, and especially the dye stability.

Here are some helpful posts to educate you on dyes:

Click here for video How To Do A Dye Test

Click here for post Why Some Rugs Bleed

Click here for post Pet Puddles. What To Do To Avoid Damage

I hope you found these reference items helpful. When you know what to look for, and really get the basics of rug cleaning down pat, you can avoid most of the pitfalls that result from the lack of good information (or misinformation) about properly cleaning rugs.

– Lisa

P.S. If you want to learn some of the most common mistakes made by carpet cleaners when cleaning rugs, in the right column of this blog you can opt in for my Rug Disasters Report. I lay out the top 10 most common mistakes I see when handling all of the “help me!” emails that come my way week after week. This is also the way to be on my list for announcements of my upcoming training programs and workshops. (Don’t worry, I HATE SPAM… so you will not hear from me very often, your email will never be rented or shared with anyone else, and it’s super easy to opt-out.)