Area Rug Cleaning Company Blog

Moths And The Damage They Cause To Rugs & Home Furnishings

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Moths And The Damage They Cause To Rugs & Home Furnishings

The Clothes Moth Has NOT Been Eliminated!

In past years, textile-eating moths were common. This is due to the large amount of wool fibers in clothing and home furnishings. The popularity and widespread use of synthetic fibers have led to the incorrect assumption that damage from these insects is a thing of the past.

Clothes moths can digest protein fibers such as wool, silk, and specialty hair fibers. However, these insects will also find and eat protein substances on synthetic fibers. This means carpets, rugs, draperies, and upholstery made from nylon, acrylic, polyester, acetate, and other synthetics can harbor these insects. Especially, if they contain food or beverage stains, blood, urine, perspiration or other sources of nutritional protein.

moths and rugs

How to Prevent Moths?

The most effective way to prevent an infestation and inhibit growth is to keep textile furnishings clean. Spills should be removed immediately. Carpet, rugs, draperies, upholstery, etc., should be brushed or vacuumed regularly. Insects do not generally attack clean materials.

Regular dry cleaning of articles appropriate for dry cleaning will also decrease the chances of infestation. Dry cleaning solvent is toxic to most textile pests. Regular carpet and rug cleaning will remove the nutritional contaminants that can attract and support insects.

What are They?

There are 2 different types of these pests that we need to be concerned about. Both are types of clothes moths, the insect that eats our textiles.

The Webbing Moth (Tineola bisselliella). The adult moths of this species are about a half inch long and yellowish beige in color.

The Casemaking Moth (Tinea pellionella). Casemaking moths are similar in size but are brownish and have three dark spots on their forward wings.

The Larvae Causes the Damage

The adults themselves cause no damage, but the larvae they produce are very damaging. It is the larvae that actually feed on wool.

Each larva spins a silken tube that acts as a barrier of protection. The webbing moth larvae attach their tubes to dark crevices or seams, rendering themselves stationary to feed in one location. The casemaking moth larvae do not attach their tubes or “cases” which allows them to remain mobile and cause a wider spectrum of damage.

moths and rugs

Life Cycle

The life cycle of moths can last from two months to two and ½ years. The adults lay eggs on products that the larvae will consume.

Each female can lay from 100 to 150 eggs, which hatch in about five days. The small white caterpillars vary in size from 1/16 inch newly hatched to 1/3 inch fully grown.

The larval stage itself can last from 2-30 months. The great variance in the life cycle is due to the availability of food (wool). That is why these creatures can be so devastating to rugs. Rugs provide a huge source of food. If gone unnoticed, the larvae can feed for almost two and ½ years. An infestation of only several weeks can result in pile loss the size of a fist.

Where to Find Them

Clothes moths thrive in dark, undisturbed areas. Furthermore, where a rug gets little traffic and is not often vacuumed. They are particularly attracted to the keratin in animal hair. The wool alone in an oriental rug is susceptible. But just imagine a dirty rug covered in dog and cat hair. That would be like a smorgasbord to this creature!

They can feed on mixtures of natural and synthetic fabrics. However, they cannot feed on materials made solely of synthetic fibers. As mentioned above, they can be found in synthetic fibers which have pollen, hair, dead insects and dried animal remains on them.

How Do You Know If You are Harboring Them?

1. The actual flying adults. When a lot of flying adults are present the infestation can be considerable.

2. Loose carpet fibers resting on top of the pile. This results from the larvae actually eating the knots off the foundation of the rug.

3. Cocoons—1/8 inch diameter x ½ inch long. They will be slightly fuzzy cylinders, usually the same color as the rug’s pile. Larvae camouflage their cocoons to blend in with the color of the wool that surrounds them.

4. The actual larvae squirming along the pile surface and underneath the rug. An interesting fact about clothes moths is that unlike other varieties, they are not attracted to bright lights. As a result, they tend to seek darker areas or dim light. This makes it very difficult to detect them in dark closets and drawers. It is most likely that you will notice fabric damage or larvae before you see the moths themselves.

moths and rugs

How Do We Get Rid of Them?

First of all, when it comes to getting rid of these creatures, controversy ensues. Different books have cited everything from placing an infested rug in the sun for a few hours to rolling them up and placing them in a cavernous freezer. The infestation must be dealt with quickly and have a solution to the problem that is as effective as possible.

A thorough professional rug cleaning is the best way to prevent damage. The washing process removes the larvae and the hot drying destroys the eggs.

This is good to know but it doesn’t address the possibility that larvae may move from one rug to another. What this means is that it is necessary to find and kill not only the adults but their larvae and their eggs. Possibly, even before the infected rug is cleaned. If the infestation is severe, a call to a licensed pest control operator may be required.

Pyrethrum–Most Effective Insecticide

Pyrethrum is the most effective and safe insecticide that can be used. It is the oleoresin extract of dried chrysanthemum flowers. The extract contains about 50% active insecticidal ingredients known as pyrethrins. These strongly lipophilic esters rapidly penetrate many insects and paralyze their nervous systems.

In various commercial products, both crude pyrethrum extract and purified pyrethrins are contained. They are commonly dissolved in petroleum distillates. Some are packaged in pressurized containers (bug-bombs), usually in combination with synergists.

The synergists retard enzymatic degradation of pyrethrins. Some commercial products also contain organophosphate or carbamate insecticides. These are included because the rapid paralytic effect of pyrethrins on insects is not always lethal.

Are Pyrethrins Safe?

Pyrethrins are commonly found in pet shampoos. That should tell us that it is relatively safe.

Will pyrethrins cause dyes to become unstable? The research does not support this. Pyrethrins break down quickly after application. They are considered safe for use in the home.

It is important to read the label and test it in an inconspicuous area, as with any product used in the home.

Moth Balls, Flakes, and Crystals?

Be aware that these compounds (paradicholorobenzene or naphthalene) are ineffective in control of these insects for rugs. Cedar scent is also useless.

These materials act only as a minor repellent. They do not kill the larvae or eggs. The naphthalene odor can be unpleasant and extremely difficult to remove.

Of most importance, paradichlorobenzene may be a carcinogen. It may also damage the liver and kidneys at high doses. Naphthalene can damage the liver and cause eye injury.

Mothballs can be especially dangerous if accidentally eaten, especially by young children. It is recommended that they should not be used by homeowners. If they continue to be used, they should only be used in small amounts and items around them should be thoroughly cleaned.

Their ingredients can produce harmful effects when they enter your system through inhalation. Irritation to nose, throat, and lungs, headache, confusion, excitement or depression and liver and kidney damage can result from exposure to the vapors over a long period of time.

Naphthalene can promote a breakdown of red blood cells resulting in hemolytic anemia.  The little white balls that contain naphthalene are of special concern. Hemolytic anemia in mild form may cause only fatigue. In more severe cases, it can cause acute kidney failure.

Of course, only high concentrations of these ingredients can cause any of these effects. Such concentrations are found when vapors are absorbed by clothes or rugs that are stored or kept in closed areas with poor ventilation.

Poisonings have been reported following dressing of infants in clothing that were stored with naphthalene mothballs, suggesting that absorption of naphthalene may occur through the skin.

A licensed hazardous waste handler should be brought the moth balls to be disposed of or saved for a professional household hazardous waste collection program.

Prevention of Infestations

Consumer education is one of the major hurdles in preventing damage. People are home less often than ever before. They have less time to care for their rugs and carpets (for example, vacuuming) and even less to inspect dark places such as under furniture, etc. Rugs, carpets, wool clothing, and wall hangings get dirty and they are just lying and hanging targets.

When preparing rugs for long term storage (6 months to several years), they should be kept safe from infestation. Never attempt to store a dirty rug.

Our cleaning of wool rugs includes a final rinse which renders the wool unappetizing to these creatures. This ‘retardant’ feature combined with a thoroughly cleaned rug will almost completely guarantee prevention of damage during storage.

The Best Way to Protect Against Them

The best way to prevent an infestation is periodic inspection of rugs, whether stored or not, as well as the carpets and wool, silk and cotton textiles in your home.

Be sure to check underneath furniture and behind wall hangings as well. At the first sign of a problem, please call Area Rug Cleaning Company‘s office at (734) 973-2300 (Ann Arbor, MI) and (734) 331-9173 (Wayne, MI) if you have any questions. We are prepared to help you in any way we can.


Oriental Rug Origins & Art History

Posted by on Jun 8, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Oriental Rug Origins & Art History

Bringing an Oriental rug into your home can add culture.  Furthermore, it can also add an aesthetic appeal.  While bringing a magical feel to any room in the sacred spaces that we live in and raise our families. With styles hailing from India, Persia, Tibet and the Caucasus Region, one can usually find something completely mysterious therefore complementing your décor and bring far east culture right into your living room.

An Oriental rug’s story begins with its rich history from the exotic country the rug was expertly handmade in.  Take a flying carpet ride into the past and journey through a world that cannot be re-created.  Learn what the symbols on each of your rugs stand for:

oriental rug

When it is time to have your Oriental rug professionally cared for and properly cleaned, give Area Rug Cleaning Company a call and schedule an appointment. (734) 973-2300

Made by/Source: East Bay Oriental Rug Cleaning in Concord, CA on Visually –

Video Post Highlight from Facebook | Rug Cleaning Ann Arbor MI

Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Video Post Highlight from Facebook | Rug Cleaning Ann Arbor MI

rug cleaningIn addition to Our advanced Rug Cleaning Process and the other great services we offer, we also have the ability to create a Custom Rug Pad.

Therefore, you will want to look into getting a Rug Pad from Area Rug Cleaning Company today!

The tough, consistent construction provides a maximum cushion effect for minimum wear and longer rug life.

Beginner’s Tips on Identifying Authentic Handmade Oriental Rugs

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Beginner’s Tips on Identifying Authentic Handmade Oriental Rugs

It is not a simple task for normal folks not trained in identifying rugs. But to know the distinction between an authentic handmade Oriental rug and a machine-made rug. Handwoven and hand knotted rugs are also known as Oriental rugs. They are mostly collectibles due to their quality. The quality of Oriental rugs hugely depends on the yarns’ quality, dyes used and knot count among other factors.

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 10.28.16 AM

You will find rugs knotted by hand are made through a loom specially designed and knotted through the use of the hand. Hand knotted oriental rugs have been made for centuries through an ancient art that can only be admired. The loom’s size depends on the rug’s size with the weaving carried out moving from the bottom going up to the top. The weaver of the rug usually interweaves the “knots” into the rug’s groundwork, which are hand tied, something that makes the rug’s pile. It is a very time consuming and a tedious operation.

Changes in rug color

abrash It is also easy to note some slight changes in color that make thin or thick stripes when it comes to a handmade rug. Such is the result of dyes used to change the wool during weaving or just the way the wool’s colors age due to the atmosphere, light, and washing. Most of the color changes can be seen in the rug’s background color known as abrash. It is hard to find such circumstances in rugs made by machines.

Wool pile and warp

It is worth noting handmade rugs in most cases have wool pile used to weave them. A rug made by a machine is mostly made through the use of a polyester or nylon pile while weaving is very uniform and close. Also for any authentic Oriental rug, on the rug’s back, you will find white thread weaves from one end of the fringe to the other called the warp.

wool pile and warp

Visual rug differences

There is always a very strong difference between a handmade and machine-made rug visually. This is apparent especially on the back of a machine-made rug which is very distinct in terms of appearance to a handmade rug’s back. You will find the design of the machine-made rug’s back not as colorful as the back of the hand-woven Oriental rug.

While the machine-made rug has its edges machine overstitched and a fringe applied, the handmade Oriental rug’s fringe runs throughout the length of the rug which is called the warp. The machine-made rug has overstitch patterns running across its back and distinguishing individual knots appearing on the back are not easy to find. In fact, for the machine-made rug, the overstitch construction is generally what keeps the pile material held together. This means that the fringe is applied on a machine-made rug once it has been completed while the hand-woven Oriental rug has its fringe as a part of warp strings as they leave the handmade rug’s end.

You can turn towards the front part of the rug and peruse the designs intently. Essentially, the design should never be of the same shape and size from one opposite end to the other end of the potentially handmade Oriental rug. Also, the design patterns will not always be perfect either. This unevenness is something that is clear in most Oriental rugs that are much older and is a sign of authenticity and should not be mistaken for a poorly done rug. Machine-made rugs usually contain same pattern sizes all around and variations are not really visible. However, machine-made imitations do have uneven patterns but this is less common.

Rug cost

The price of the Oriental rug and machine-made rugs differ a lot. While an Oriental rug is very expensive but more durable, a machine-made rug costs much less and is an alternative to expensive hand knotted or hand-woven rugs. There are rug salesmen all over the world however that will try to sell rugs made from a cheaper material like Rayon or a blend of chemically altered and/or manufactured fibers. They will have the rugs priced as if they were made of silk. Beware! A real silk rug should have real silk fringe that is clearly an extension of the rug’s structure, not sewn on or sewn into the ends of the rug.

Countries of origin like Persia, India, China, Egypt, and Afghanistan, do offer handmade Oriental rugs at a fraction of the price at which they are offered in Canada and other parts of North America. So, it may be worth it to travel to those countries if you are interested in purchasing a quality handmade Oriental rug.

identifying rugs

If you are having any trouble identifying Oriental rugs from a man-made one, you can always turn to a trustworthy expert for help. A professional rug cleaner like Area Rug Cleaning Company, will have extensive knowledge in this subject. We hope this article answered some of the questions you had about identifying authentic handmade Oriental rugs and helped you make better decisions with rug purchases.


Leave A Review on Google | Area Rug Cleaning Company Ann Arbor MI

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Leave A Review on Google | Area Rug Cleaning Company Ann Arbor MI

We take immense pride in the services we offer and the customers we have had the honor to serve. Please share your experience about Area Rug Cleaning Company in Ann Arbor, MI on Google by clicking and writing a review. We use the feedback to continually better our services. We thank you in advance for your time.

google review

Write a review by clicking here. Thank you again for your feedback!

Rugs And How Clean Are They?

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Rugs And How Clean Are They?

When properly cleaned and maintained, rugs and carpets act as in-home air filters. Area Rug Cleaning Company has cleaning services in Ann Arbor, MI. They can ensure your furnishings are helping create a clean and healthy environment for you and your family.

Therefore, if they are NOT properly cleaned and maintained, this is what could be lurking right beneath you and your families noses:


Area Rug Cleaning Company cares for the finest to the most basic rugs from around the world. We will pick-up and bring your furnishings back to our special cleaning facility. This is where they will go through our thorough cleaning process for maximum soil and spot removal.

Like Us On Facebook | Area Rug Cleaning Company Ann Arbor MI

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Like Us On Facebook | Area Rug Cleaning Company Ann Arbor MI

At Area Rug Cleaning Company, we appreciate your patronage and like to share our knowledge of the rug cleaning industry with our audience on social media, especially Facebook!

To keep updated with the latest news, specials and happy home tips, please visit our Facebook page and give us a like by CLICKING HERE and hitting the thumbs up!

Thank you for your loyalty and continued business! And for those just joining us, Welcome to the Area Rug Cleaning Company community!

rug cleaning, facebook likes

Six Helpful Tips To Make Spring Cleaning A Breeze | Professional Rug Cleaning Can Remove Allergens

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Six Helpful Tips To Make Spring Cleaning A Breeze | Professional Rug Cleaning Can Remove Allergens

spring cleaning

Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to give your house a good scrubbing. Not sure where to start? Here are six tips and tricks to help make spring cleaning a breeze.

  • Keep a daily task sheet. Because the seasons change regularly, your house cleaning will also change. Create and stick with a daily cleaning schedule, so you don’t get overwhelmed when it comes time to deep clean your house.
  • Maintain a clean bathroom and kitchen. These areas should be a top priority because, typically, this is where people spend most of their time. This will also allow you to focus on other areas of the house, such as ceilings and closets, that may need a more thorough cleaning job.
  • Get the kids to help. Little kids love to help. Give them a few baby wipes to wipe down shelves and watch that dust disappear.
  • Start with your windows. Clean the inside and outside of all your windows. Once the light shines into your house, you will be able to see what areas you missed during the wintertime.
  • Change your filters often. If you are running an AC system through your house, you need to change the filters in the spring and fall. This will help you reduce the amount of dust particles that build up in your home.
  • Have the surfaces in your home like your rugs, carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned.  An expert can more times than not remove more dirt and allergens than a regular cleaning can achieve.


Watch Out for These Four Problems with Rayon Fabrics!

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Watch Out for These Four Problems with Rayon Fabrics!

If you’ve ever paid a claim for a piece of upholstery that bled, faded, shrunk, ripped, or had nap distortion that couldn’t be repaired, it likely had rayon fibers in its construction!

             The Troubles with Rayon:

Following are four (4) issues you must be aware of before cleaning any textile that uses rayon in its construction!

Color Loss or Bleeding:
Rayon has the tendency to both fade and bleed.  In your inspection step, be sure to remove arm covers, examine the zipper area behind cushions, and other areas that are not exposed to sun, soil, or abrasion.  If these unexposed areas are darker, warn your customer that not only will the soiled, exposed areas not return to the original color, but they may actually experience more fading as a result of cleaning.

Spills, especially alcohol, perfume, hair treatments, as well as urine may permanently discolor rayon fabrics.  Perspiration may also cause color damage.  Avoid using spotting agents that contain alcohol, mineral acids (such as rust remover), and bleaches.

Cellulose Browning:
Rayon fibers, while man made, contain natural cellulose fibers, and may turn brown if allowed to stay wet too long after cleaning, or if alkaline cleaning agents are not neutralized and rinsed from the fabric.

Water stains:
Treatments applied to rayon and other natural fibers will leave a “ring” or water stain” from spills of any sort, even just clear water.  These watermarks from spills may be permanent, and all cleaning must be done by evenly dampening the entire fabric prior to extraction cleaning.

"Water Stains on Rayon Chenille Fabric"

“Water Stains on Rayon Chenille Fabric”

Fabric Weakness:
Rayon may lose up to 70% of its strength when wet. This issue has deeper implications than you might first assume.

The first concern with fabric weakness is, of course, that the fabric might rip during extraction cleaning, and that possibility does exist. Use only extraction tools that have a built in glide and a perforated vacuum slot, as well as a vacuum release to minimize the risk of tearing. A non metallic screen could also be used as a barrier between the fabric and the tool.  These precautions would be of particular concern when cleaning old or sun damaged fabric, as well as heavily soiled fabric that may require more aggressive cleaning.

A more common problem is texture distortion. Velvet and chenille fabrics made with rayon face yarns need careful grooming immediately after cleaning to prevent permanent distortion.

"Rayon Velvet"

“Rayon Velvet”

How to Clean Rayon Fabrics:

1. Dry Clean:
As the majority of the above mentioned problems are caused by cleaning with water based solutions, the simple answer in some cases is to dry clean rayon fabrics.

If the fabric is lightly soiled, and has no visible spots or stains, dry cleaning might be an acceptable option.  Dry cleaning causes almost no texture distortion, and most (though not all) dyes are stable to dry cleaning solvents.

Dry cleaning will not remove water soluble soils, and that you must use proper personal protection equipment, advise your customer of the health and fire hazards related to dry cleaning, and ventilate the work site if you intend to dry clean fabrics in the home.  In today’s “chemically conscious society”, it is often a better practice to only dry clean upholstery fabrics in plant, not in the home.

2. Low Moisture Cleaning:
Cleaning with very limited moisture, such as from dry foam, or a fine mist of detergent followed by gentle towel extraction will be more effective than dry cleaning.  Be certain to test all products used for potential color damage, and groom any pile fabrics, such as velvet or chenille immediately after cleaning. Cleaning detergents with a neutral or acid pH will be safe on most dyes and rarely create color bleeding issues, especially if their application is followed by rapid drying.

3. Restorative Cleaning:
Some fabrics are simply too heavily soiled to respond to cleaning with either dry cleaning solvents or low moisture cleaning methods.  Remember that heavily soiled rayon is likely to also be stained, and to have pre-existing color damage.

Before you attempt to use higher volumes of water, heat, and strong cleaning detergents on rayon, be certain to obtain to have a written understanding that clearly states that you cannot be responsible for texture damage, color damage, and shrinkage, as any or all may occur when rayon fabrics are aggressively cleaned.

Understanding these characteristics gives you yet another reason to encourage your clients to have their furniture cleaned regularly, and for you to stay in close touch with furniture retailers and designers, and to let them know YOU are the best resource for cleaning these fabrics.


Featured article: A Rug To Run From by Lisa Wagner

Posted by on Feb 16, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Featured article: A Rug To Run From by Lisa Wagner

For the past decade, the quick advice for consumers on how to know a “better” quality wool pile rug over a mediocre one has been to look at the back. If the back clearly shows the design and knots, then it is woven. If the back is covered up with material, then it is tufted.

If you go to the mass-market rug retailer websites and pull up a “tufted rug” for sale, you will inevitably see the care comments along these lines: “Shedding is natural and may be heavy. Odor is natural and may get heavy if wrapped in plastic. Colors may fade.”

None of these conditions are “natural” for a good quality wool rug. They are indicative of poor quality wool, poor dyes and poor adhesive holding these tufted rugs together.

Due to the large amount of negative reviews on tufted rugs, especially the worst ones coming out of India, there has been a shift to try to find a cheap way to craft rugs that “look” woven even though they are actually poorer construction than the tufted rugs they mean to replace.

This new rug type that is becoming a headache for both rug owners and rug cleaners is called India “hand loomed” and India “loomed by hand.” These rugs are being presented as if they are hand woven rugs, and the prices imply they are good quality. However, these are wool and viscose rugs that more than any on the market today are being considered as highly flawed merchandise.

Read more…

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