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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is using white wine the best way to treat red wine spills? It seems a rather extravagant solution?
A: This is one of the biggest home cleaning myths there is! Pouring white wine over red is merely a waste of a decent bottle of chardonnay. Simple use a little water instead, but blot it up as soon as possible. Repeat several times until no more red wine comes out. Treat any remaining stain with a WoolSafe Approved Spot Remover.
Q: I recently treated a carpet stain with some washing-up liquid. To start the results were great, but now there is an even larger mark on the carpet?
A: Don't ever use any cleaning agents such as washing-up liquids, soaps or other detergents recommended for general household use, washing the car or your hair. Although they may clean your carpet satisfactorily, they will almost certainly cause problems such as rapid re-soiling, colour bleeding or other damage to the pile or backing of the carpet. Always use a WoolSafe Approved cleaning agent.
Q: The retailer I am buying my carpet from has offered to treat it with a protector - I think with Scotchgard, or something similar. It is quite expensive, but is it worth doing? And is it safe on wool carpets?
A: Protectors, provided they are WoolSafe approved (ask the retailer if it is approved!), will not cause any damage and will show an improvement in resistance to soiling and staining, especially on a light-coloured carpet. Spots are also easier to clean.
Please remember, though, that these treatments are never quitefull-proof: when you have a spillage you still need to mop it up as soon as possible. If you leave it a stain may still develop.
Q: I have had my chimney swept and despite covering the carpet some soot came on it. What is the best thing to do?
A. The stains caused by soot are very difficult to remove. If you try to remove them yourself, say with a special spot remover for greasy stains, you may not succeed and end up with a large greyish spot. It really requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning company. Click here to find a cleaner who can help.
Q: I just bought a carpet spot remover which says that it is"suitable for all fibres, including wool". Can I use it with confidence on my 80/20 wool/nylon carpet?
A: It could be safe, but you can't be sure. The problem is, many products claim to be "suitable for use on all carpet types" or "suitable for use on wool carpets", but unfortunately, sometimes they are not. Even leading manufacturers of cleaning chemicals can overlook the specific requirements of wool carpets.
It is therefore very important to look for the WoolSafe Mark on the carpet cleaning product you are about to purchase or use on your wool carpet. Only products legitimately displaying the sheep mark have been independently tested and are really safe for wool carpets and rugs.
Note: even approved products need to be tested on an inconspicuous area of the carpet before use.
Q: A 100% wool rug, which is very expensive and measures 3x5 metres, needs freshening up after 2 years, but due to its delicate nature we are unsure whether to do it ourselves or get professional help.
A: You could try cleaning the rug yourself using a WoolSafe approved carpet shampoo, but this may not be the best way to do it. If the rug is from the (Middle) East it may have been dyed with vegetable dyes, or dyes with limited colourfastness to shampooing. Before any DIY cleaning, always test the carpet or rug for colour fastness in an inconspicuous area. There may be other problems with (in)stability of the backing, fringes, etc. We would therefore strongly recommend professional cleaning. Click here to find a cleaner who can help.
Q: Does the use of a dry cleaning solvent to remove an oily stain cause damage to a wool carpet?
A: No, solvents do not damage wool - remember, the preferred recommendation for many wool garments is dry cleaning. But the solvent CAN affect the carpet (or rug) backing - so use it sparingly.
Do be careful with dry cleaning solvents in other respects: always use them where there is plenty of fresh air ventilation and do not expose them to any naked flames, or other heat sources such as lighted cigarettes or heated hobs.
Q: I have recently had a new wool carpet fitted on my stairs, within the last few months. My carpet constantly smells of sheep (surprise, surprise), I find it very embarrassing as my guests often say they can smell ammonia, I think this is the case too. Are there any solutions for me as I have an open plan house and the smell spreads!
A: All new carpets - wool or otherwise - will have a characteristic 'new' odour, which is associated with the backing and usually disappears after a few weeks. A wool carpet will also have a faint additional wool smell. The latter can be stronger if the wool is damp (or wet).The ammonia smell is very unusual. This is often associated with a urine spill (cat, dog, baby?). Or a spill of an ammonia-based cleaning agent.
You can do the following: if you have a piece of the carpet left over, put an A4-sized piece in a plastic bag and seal. Leave for a few days, then open the bag and smell. If you can smell the same ammonia odour as in the carpeted area of the house then there may be a problem with the carpet. In this case you can take this up with the retailer who supplied the carpet to you.
If not, there has been a spillage of some sort, as suggested above. In this case, the best thing would be to have the carpet professionally cleaned and deodorised by a WoolSafe Certified carpet cleaning company. Click here to find a cleaner who can help.