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What’s Lurking Beneath The Dirt???


That’s a really good question. I mean, take a look at this rug right here:

a filthy rug

Filthy rug may be hiding SECRET DANGERS!

What could be lurking here? Plenty of pre-existing dangers – old stains, old dye migration, old repairs, abrash, sunfade.

You could be the BEST rug care specialist in your city, and yet with this rug, you could be unable to catch any of these items above in your pre-inspection. Why? Because the rug is friggin’ FILTHY!

Couple things to point out – one is, when someone allows their rug to get really dirty, they don’t care about it. They are putting off cleaning it because they don’t especially enjoy paying to have it cleaned. They don’t realize that the abrasive soil is cutting the fibers of this silk rug and is causing it to prematurely wear down.

People often falsely say that cleaning a rug causes damage – when actually NOT cleaning it causes damage. Think about a little bit of sand and grit getting into the bottom of your shoe, and how that pokes, scratches, and hurts over time. Put that grit into a rug that is walked on day in and day out, and can you imagine that on wool or silk fibers? Of course it causes damage.

If you have the rug improperly cleaned, for examples having a wool or silk rug steam cleaned at high heat – I’ll grant you that this cleaning would in fact damage the rug more than help it. But properly cleaning – a wash – of a well made rug with strong dyes only helps it to last longer.

But back to the filthy rug. What if this level of dirt was on top of this rug right here?

Red dye has bled on the top side of this rug only from an old spill.

Red dye has bled on the top side of this rug only from an old spill.

If this rug was caked with dark gray soil as the rug at the beginning of the post is, you would likely not be able to see this damage until the rug was clean and it stuck out like a sore thumb. Then the rug’s owner might incorrectly believe you created the damage with your wash.

(One tip for you – if your wash process has bled a rug, then it will have bled it ALL over the rug, and not just in one small isolated area. If you’ve made an error, it will show up throughout the rug.)

If a rug is heavily soiled, it is not within your power to do a proper pre-inspection. That’s like having you do a home inspection but locking the door and not allowing you inside. You cannot SEE the conditions.

This means a comment needs to be placed on the invoice that states “Due to extreme soiling, I am unable to note any pre-existing stains, dye migration, sunfade, or discolorations on this rug. I will use extreme care in cleaning this rug, but cannot be held responsible for any pre-existing conditions uncovered by my thorough cleaning process.”

If the rug owner refuses to release you from liability on this point, then I’d suggest you turn the job away. Clearly they have something to hide – literally. And rug owners who allow their rugs to get this soiled do not appreciate “clean” and do not appreciate those in the cleaning profession.

They tend to be the most demanding customers who will criticize the price, the turnaround time, and the results. Why? Because they resent the fact that they have to pay someone to clean up their dirt.

Clients who value clean, and strive for a healthy home, glady hire skilled professionals to deliver that service to their homes and their rugs. It is part of their routine to provide the best environment for themselves, their families, and their household investments from their flooring to their textiles.

It’s true that sometimes a homeowner may slip and let something get dirtier than they should have. How you’ll know if they are a good client to have will be how they respond to your waiver for a heavily soiled rug. If the response is “of course, no problem” – the customer is a keeper.

If the answer is “no way” – then you need to thank them for letting you know that they are not someone you want to invest any time and effort into. You can politely refer them to someone else, and thank them for keeping you from getting a nightmare customer-induced migraine.

– Lisa