You’ve settled in with new luxury hardwood floors, your furnishing plans are complete, and you found the perfect new area rugs. Everything is coming together great, and life is good. This place looks awesome.
So that’s it, right? Your area rugs will keep your new floors perfect, and your duty is done? Sadly, no. Maintenance is important, and knowledge of potential problems is essential. There are still a few emergencies you may have waiting in the future.
Threats to Your Hardwood Floors
Recently, we have had a number of calls about pet damage to area rugs. A cat that won’t chuck it’s hairballs on the vinyl or tile, she goes to the area rugs for comfort when she’s in distress. An older dog likes to lay on the rug and has difficulty making it outside to relieve himself. A puppy that keeps going back to the rugs when the owners aren’t not there to take her out. If you have pets, this is something you should be ready for.
But it’s not only pets. We all have accidents where we knock over a hot coffee or a cool glass of Merlot. It’s just a matter of time.
In any of these spills, the moisture is absorbed by the rug, goes through to the pad, and possibly leaks to the hardwood floors. How much moisture gets through all depends on how large the spill is and what kind of pad we’ve installed. You do have a pad, I trust?
There’s an Area Rug Spill, Now What?
When you discover moisture or a wet spill on an area rug that covers hardwood or any hard surface, here’s what to do, step by step:
- Start with blotting up the surface spill with a white/non colored towel or microfiber rag. Remember: don’t scrub & do avoid using spot removers until you know what caused the damage, what type of carpet fiber you have, and how far/deep the liquid has gone.
- Pull back the rug and pad to inspect for damage. You’ll need to check the hardwood flooring, the pad, and the area rug backing (the fabric on the bottom side).
- If there is moisture on the hardwood flooring, immediately remove the wetness and clean the floor. After the floor dries, lay down a dry undyed or white cotton towel and some plastic sheeting before laying down your protective pad.
- Lay down your pad and check the backing of the rug. Usually you can see where moisture has penetrated the rug and gone to the pad. Note the boundaries of the saturation and where they touch the pad.
- Now the pad. Depending upon the type of spill, you can use a corrective spotter on the pad, clean it, or replace it. Remember, what goes into the pad will likely penetrate, so be sure you protected the hardwood floor as previously suggested with a sheet of plastic.
- Congratulations! Now you’re ready to respond to the top surface damage on the area rug!
Before working on the area rug spill damage, you need to put a protective barrier between the rug and the pad, like a dry white cotton towel and plastic sheeting. Notice that this isn’t the barrier under the pad from earlier, now it’s time for a barrier over the pad!
- Blot the spill with a non-colored cloth or microfiber towel. Do not scrub. For added pressure, you can step on the towel with your heel.
- Keep exchanging your wet towels with new dry towels. Double or triple fold the towel for more absorption. Do this until you think you’ve gotten all the moisture you can out of it.
- If you have a wet-dry vacuum/shop vacuum, you can use it to assist with this cleaning/rinsing process. We don’t recommend using multipurpose wet vacuums unless you can control the amount of water being dispersed.
- When applying any spot removing agent, apply the solution to the towel and transfer it to the area rug. This may take several applications. With each application, repeat the above suggestion for blotting the moisture. Remember, control the moisture so it doesn’t cause further damage to the pad and your expensive flooring.
- Completely dry the area rug, pad, and hardwood flooring before putting them back together. You can air dry, or accelerate drying with a fan. You can even use a blow dryer to speed this drying process. Remember, the lesson is to not trap moisture and further damage the hardwood flooring.
Get Help with Your Area Rug Spill
If this seems like a lot of work to you, you’re right. It is! Professional services are available to help guide you and even take care of maintenance situations for you. If you need more help, call a professional carpet and floor maintenance service company that is IICRC Certified, like Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration.