Cleaning and Maintenance of Fine Fibres


To ensure that you get the most pleasure possible from your fine fibre carpet and rugs we have put together a simple care guide. If you follow the advice below your textile flooring will look great and last longer, protecting your investment in quality natural fibre products.

For the purpose of this guide we have grouped together the cellulosic (plant based) fibres such as Sisal, Sea Grass and Coir as well as regenerated fibres such as Viscose, Tencel and Bamboo.

When caring for carpets and rugs that are constructed using a mix or blend of fibres you should treat the whole carpet as the most sensitive (to moisture or chemistry) of the fibres. For example; when looking after a wool/viscose mix carpet or rug you should clean it so as to do no harm to the more sensitive viscose.


Soiling Prevention

There are two main types of soil (dirt):
  1. Type 1      coarse, dry, heavy soil like sand and grit which is removed by vacuuming. 
  2. Type 2      fine, sticky, lightweight soil like soot, oil from air pollution. This soil is removed using one of a variety of cleaning solutions and systems.
Dirt particles carried into your home or work premises on the soles of shoes or by air currents are deposited on the carpet surface and stick to the pile fibre making your carpet appear dirty.
The more your carpets and rugs soil, the more difficult and often expensive, it becomes to clean them. So, it makes sense to minimize the rate at which your carpet gets dirty by reducing the amount of soil reaching the carpet.
Some simple preventative steps are:
  1. Place barrier mats outside all entrances (removes coarse mud and grit).
  2. Place absorbent mats inside (removes light soils and water)
  3. Take off muddy or wet shoes at the door.


It is essential that all fine fibre carpets and rugs are vacuumed, both regularly and thoroughly, to prevent the build up of soils which become more difficult to remove later.

Regular vacuuming will extend the life of your carpets and rugs and contribute to maintaining its good appearance for longer. 

Vacuuming should be proportional to the amount of soiling to which the carpet is subjected – the more adults, children and pets you have walking and playing on the carpet, the more often you are advised to vacuum.

For the average household it is good practice to vacuum daily in high traffic areas such as hallways, near entrances or busy living spaces and 2 or 3 times a week for the rest of your home. 

For a thorough vacuum do three or four passes in each direction (North-South and East-West).

As a general rule it is advised to use suction only vacuum cleaners on loop pile carpet and rugs.


There are two main reasons for choosing to treat your carpet or rug with a protector.

  1. Stain Protection: To give additional time for you to clean up a spill before it penetrates the fibers of your carpet or rug.
  2. Soil Retardancy: To slow down the rate at which your carpet or rug gets dirty. 

Cellulosic (plant based) fibres such as Sisal, Sea Grass and Coir as well as regenerated fibres such as Viscose, Tencel and Bamboo are sensitive to moisture therefore solvent based protectors in most cases are preferable. Water based protectors should be misted on using multiple applications if necessary, allowing time to dry in-between, until the required rate is reached.

If a protector is over-applied it may cause pile distortion on regenerated fibres or colour change, migration/loss on cellulosic fibre carpet and rugs. Rapid soiling may also occur with over-application and if it is under-applied it may not be as effective as it should be.

Therefore, make sure that the protector you select is WoolSafe Approved and that a qualified and Approved Service Provider is employed to carry out the application of the protective treatment.

It is very important to check the carpet or rug manufacturer’s warranty conditions before applying a protector as some manufacturer’s state that to do so may void the warranty.

Spot Removal

In the event of a spillage on your fine fibre carpet or rug it may be necessary to call on the services of a professional carpet or rug care specialist. Below are some tips for emergency treatments to help you remove spills, minimise the chances of permanent staining and not to jeopardise the professional cleaner’s best chance of a successful stain removal treatment. 

Cellulosic (plant based) fibres such as Sisal, Sea Grass and Coir as well as regenerated fibres such as Viscose, Tencel and Bamboo are sensitive to moisture so no water based spot removers should ever be sprayed directly onto a spot. This can cause pile distortion and/or water-marking and will only succeed in spreading the spill, driving it deeper down the pile.

General Advice

  • As a first step, do not panic, but act quickly as the removal of fresh spots is always much more successful than of old stains.
  • In case of large spills, hot drink spills or old, set-in stains, contact your nearest WoolSafe Approved Service Provider.
  • Blot up as much of the spill as possible using plain white kitchen roll or absorbent cloth. Keep blotting until no more transfer of the spill is seen on the tissue or cloth.
  • Apply a dry compound to absorb out as much of the spill as possible, leave to dry and vacuum away.
  • If staining remains lightly mist on an encapsulation solution, Do Not Scrub allow to dry and then vacuum away.
  • Before applying any WoolSafe Approved spot remover pre-test it on an inconspicuous area of the carpet.
  • Never use washing up liquid or other cleaning agents not intended for carpet as they leave sticky residues and cause rapid soiling.
  • Use small quantities of spot remover at a time, repeat if necessary. 2 or 3 light applications are more effective than 1 drastic application. Do not over wet the carpet.
  • Always work from the edge of the stain towards the middle to avoid spreading it. Blot, never rub.
  • Use solvents with care and ensure good ventilation.

Professional Cleaning

Carpet cleaning is an unregulated business. Anyone can buy a carpet cleaning machine and, without any training or experience, start advertising themselves as a professional carpet and rug cleaner.

Even some reputable carpet cleaners, who are proficient at cleaning synthetic fibre carpets, may not have the training or knowledge of the special techniques and chemistry required for safe and effective cleaning of other fine fibre flooring .

So how do you know whom to trust with your valuable carpets and rugs?

When looking for a suitable service provider ask for training certificates (related to cleaning fine fibre carpets and rugs), accreditations and membership of reputable industry associations or organisations.

To be sure that you get a professional who really understands how to clean fine fibres entrust the work to a WoolSafe Approved Rug Care Specialist. These professional carpet and rug cleaners are fully trained and accredited WoolSafe Fibre Care Specialists, have many years experience and they will only use WoolSafe Approved cleaning products on your fine fibre carpets and rugs!

DIY Cleaning

As a general rule your first choice when cleaning water sensitive fine fibres would be to use a low moisture method – dry compound or encapsulation cleaning

Dry compound cleaning is very low risk as there is no danger of over-wetting the carpet, causing shrinkage or long drying times.

There is less chance of pile distortion occurring. However care must be taken to distribute the compound evenly  especially on sea grass, sisal and coir carpets or rugs.

A great benefit is that your flooring can be walked on almost immediately. This method is most suitable when done regularly, keeping a consistently high level of appearance for your carpets and rugs.

For encapsulation cleaning the product should be misted on to the carpet and gently agitated, left to dry and then vacuumed away.

Special care needs to be taken to mist the solution on evenly and to not over-wet the pile as this could lead to pile distortion on regenerated fibres or colour change, migration/loss on cellulosic fibre carpet and rugs.

If the carpet or rug is heavily soiled and requires a restorative ‘wet’ clean then you are advised to employ the services of a professional who really understands how to clean fine fibre carpets and rugs such as a WoolSafe Approved Rug Care Specialist

Advice Helplines

If you need to speak to an expert about recent spillage or are looking for more detailed carpet and rug care advice then please call or email your local WoolSafe representative and they will be more than happy talk you through the best options open to you.

Head Office

49 Boroughgate
Otley, West Yorkshire
LS21 1AG, Great Britain

Tel: +44 1943 850 817
Email: [email protected]

WoolSafe North America

Director: Ms Ruth Travis

8631 East Otero Place,
CO 80112

Phone +1 615-972-0250
Email: [email protected]

WoolSafe East Asia & China

Director: Tshun Peei Wong

41 – M Jalan Manis 3
Taman Segar, 56100 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Phone: 1300-221-123
If calling from overseas: +603 9130 1034
Email: [email protected]

WoolSafe Australia

Director: Jenny Boymal

Unit 22/ 23-25 Bunney Rd
Oakleigh South VIC 3167

Phone: 1300 192 968
If calling from overseas: +61 3 9815 0175
Email: [email protected]

WoolSafe Southern Europe

Director: Dionysios Paraskevopoulos

Riga Feraiou 31,
15451 N. Psihiko,

Tel: +30 31 0674 6311
Email Dennis: [email protected]

About WoolSafe

WoolSafe provides educational programmes, technical information and advice, and networks of highly skilled and experienced Service Providers and Registered Inspectors in different parts of the world.

Established in 1991, the WoolSafe Certification Mark is widely recognised in many parts of the world as the standard for excellence and safety of carpet care chemicals, both for professionals and consumers. It is used by many of the world’s largest cleaning product manufacturers and suppliers to identify and promote those carpet care products that are specifically suitable for use on wool and other natural fibres.

More recently WoolSafe introduced EnviroSeal, a testing and certification programme that identifies products that are not only safe and effective on wool carpets and rugs but safe for the environment too.