Dust and soil quickly settles down into the base of the rug, through the pile fibers. Running a vacuum on the top of the rug with remove much of the surface dirt, but any of the heavier particles will be pushed downward by the vibration of the vacuum cleaner. Once the dirt settles into the base, then foot traffic will cause it to rub against the base of the wool pile fibers, slowly breaking the fibers, and leading to wear.
This wear process can be slowed down considerably by making sure all the dirt and grit in the base of the rug is removed. Ideally, this is done by a thorough wet wash by a professional, but there are steps you can take in the home, if space permits.
Lay your rug on a hard surface, face down, you slowly vacuum the back of the rug. Avoid using a rotary brush as the yarn may fuzz. Instead, use a floor tool. This will loosen the dirt from the base, and it will end up on the floor. You can then flip the rug back over and vacuum up the grit that was shaken loose, as well as any remaining on the front of the rug.
Removing the soil through regular cleaning can greatly increase the life span of your rug, making sure it remains around for a good, long time.
Clean by misting with water and blotting. Never use ammonia or any other highly alkaline cleaner, which can damage the wool.
Deep-Cleaning On Your Own
Home cleaning is not recommended because wool fibers absorb more water than synthetic fibers do. This makes them hard to dry, and area carpets become very heavy and difficult to maneuver. Plus, a lot of the available cleaners are too alkaline.
Pets are naturally drawn to the smell of wool; when they are nervous, angry, upset or sick, they choose to go to a natural fiber. With wool rugs, you have a window of time to deal with the problem before damage becomes permanent. If you can’t get your rug to a cleaning facility quickly, then blot both sides with absorbent cotton cloths, applying pressure. This will draw the urine into the cotton cloth rather than the cotton foundation.
Dilute with water, or if the colors are coming up when blotting, use white vinegar in the water (to secure the colors and minimize bleeding). When diluting and blotting, do not flood the area, but rather use a little water/vinegar to dilute, soak it up, repeat. Don’t overdo it; be patient. Never use spot removers, spot cleaners, or chemicals of any kind; just cotton cloths and pressure. Then bring your rug to a cleaning professional as soon as possible, so that a full-immersion wash can remove all traces of the urine.
Never use solvents or spot removers. Blot, dilute, blot… until you can bring your rug into a rug care professional for a thorough cleaning.