Undeniably, rugs and carpets are a jewel in the house and enhance the room’s interior design by far. Wool rugs are considered to be the crown jewel of rugs and are woven in a way to last hundreds of years. Yes, they are made to last, providing they are properly taken care of. However, in the wrong conditions (and with the wrong bugs attacking it) a rug can as well transform into a piece of junk in a matter of 12-18 months.
What causes this complete destruction? Moths, carpet beetles, and other bugs eat away the rug’s fibers piece by piece. These rug-destroyers feed on the contaminants the rug fibers hold on to and cause damage similar to this photo’s below, where you can see a rug eaten to a skeleton. The reason? It was in storage for some years without any protective treatments prior storing it. Also, it was not properly cleaned before placing into storage. So, if you see a whitish area in your rug, it is highly likely that area encompasses the larvae of moths. It is always so sad to see worms wasting the cover of a once beautiful rug, especially when we know it could easily be prevented.
Where Damage Occurs & How to Spot it
The worst damage occurs in the place where you store the rug, mainly because bugs love dark and generally places where they can make their meal undisturbed.
In homes, damage is found under large furniture, such as sofas. You see, carpet beetles and moths like eating under the sofa, because it is an area that is not regularly (if at all) vacuumed (hence they can eat without anyone getting in their way). With rugs in use, damage will also be found underneath the rug. Flip it over, and you may see signs of moth or bug activity on its back side. At Love your Rug we will make sure all pests, eggs, and feces are completely removed from your rug once we perform our professional rug cleaning services. However if you have pest issues simply getting your rug professionally cleaned will not necessarily solve your pest infestation problem. You may need the help of a professional bed bug exterminator or pest control company for the job.
Any damage that occurs on the top side is easily noticeable. See this rug in the picture? Emerging moth larvae has eaten away part of the wool fibers and is still going. That is the kind of damage you can get from having your rug in dark places, such as underneath the furniture, where you don’t usually vacuum.
There are cases when the worms are not visible. For example, when you clean the rug, bugs are removed, leaving behind large or smaller bald areas. This indicates that the wool has been eaten away completely and what you see is the cotton foundation fibers that are usually white or grey (see picture below an area in the rug that has been eaten away by carpet beetles). The same damage can occur on the back side.
Of course, you don’t just see your rug been eaten away overnight. Before getting that bare areas, you will notice moth casings, just before the larvae hatches and starts devouring its meal. These casings look like webbing (or even lint- see image below). However, depending on the type of the bug attacking your rug they can as well be like small cocoons, too. This initiates the beginning of an infestation. This is when you can intervene and stop damage from occurring any further with the help of a pest specialist first, followed by a rug professional, who will be able to save your rug.
How do you Attract Bugs?
Wool-eating bugs, such as carpet beetles, termites, silverfish, and others are literally invited to dine on your rug (well, not exactly on but the rug itself) if there is something they fund yummy is spilled on the fibers. Consider the wool, the table that holds their feast that also gets eaten away in the process. This is why we always say it is paramount to clean up spills the soonest possible so that the residue doesn’t have time to soak into the interior of the cotton fibers. Needless to say, dirty rugs (i.e. rugs that haven’t been vacuumed and cleaned for long) are much more appetizing for bugs, moths, and other creepy crawlers than clean rugs.
This article – Damage To Your Rugs – How To Look For Bugs is an interesting piece that gives you all the details to help you look for bugs.
How Often Should you Clean your Rug?
We recommend rugs are cleaned at least every 1-3 years, always depending on the frequency of your vacuuming and the rugs’ fibers, as well as the foot traffic the rugs get. Also, the presence of a pet at home is also a factor that should be considered. For more information, check out this article How Often Should You Clean Your Area Rugs?, which we have put together for you!
What Can you Do to Keep Bugs Away From your Rugs?
An active area rug, which means a rug that gets heavy foot and paw traffic needs to be cleaned every 2 years, at the minimum. In case of pet accidents, cleaning has to be more frequent because pet urine can cause irreversible damage to the rug’s dye and texture. That aside, moths just love the combination of urine-soaked wool fibers, for reasons we still have not figured out yet. However, it has been noted that rug-eating bugs will start their lucullan meal from those areas first. So, next time you have pet accidents, clean up quickly to help reduce that risk.
Another way to protect your rug from bug attacks is by having a fiber protector applied on the fibers, which will not make your rug bulletproof but will certainly help you clean it up more effectively. It is recommended to ask a professional for some help instead of doing it yourself, and here is why – Think Twice About Cleaning Your Area Rugs by Yourself.
If you haven’t cleaned up the mess in a reasonable amount of time, then you have to arrange your rug to be washed in the near future given that moth and pet urine will literally ruin your rug.
Tip: Inspect the back side of the rug to spot these bugs that destroy your rug after pet urine accidents.
Also, it is important to store your rugs very soon after washing. Improper storage causes a great deal of damage, and it is always heartbreaking to see beautiful rugs, such as Navajo and Persian, among others, get ruined that way.
Tip: NEVER wrap wool rugs in plastic as it leads to mildew.
Bottom line, regular vacuuming adopting a washing routine will help protect your precious wool, silk, or any other rug of yours and keep it in great shape for many more years to come.
If you have spotted bug activity of any sort, don’t wait any longer. Give us a call immediately give your rug the care it deserves.