Most rugs, including antique ones, can be enjoyed for many years to come with the proper care. One of the keys is investing in a regular rug cleaning. It’s when rugs aren’t given the proper TLC that they’re prone to attack from carpet beetles, rugs and other harmful pests.
Insects such as carpet beetles and moths are silent destroyers in that they damage rugs, carpets, furniture and other household items in areas where most wouldn’t think to look. Those areas include underneath carpets and couches, in between cracks and crevices, and other dark places where they won’t be disturbed. The damage won’t be visible at first, until over time these pesky parasites have worn holes into everything and have spread throughout the home.
Moths and carpet beetles tend to attack wool rugs most frequently, so it’s especially important to be vigilant with such items. The two most important rug cleaning tips to consider are these:
- Vacuum your rug lightly every few weeks, paying particular attention to the front of the rug and the corners where moths can often be found. A more thorough vacuuming every few months will force the rug books to look elsewhere for their meal.
- Have your rug professionally washed on an annual basis at minimum. More regular washings may be called for depending on how heavily the rug is used. A thorough rug washing is able to remove hard-set grit and grime that attracts bugs and other unwanted parasites.
Read below for more specific information on how to get rid of carpet beetles and moths, two of the more persistent ruiners of rugs.
Rug Cleaning Tips – Carpet Beetles
Carpet beetles primarily feed on organic fibers, which means they can do significant damage to rugs made of wool, cotton and linen. Various species of carpet beetles feed on other natural materials like fur, feathers and hair. Even semi-synthetic fibers such as rayon are ravaged by carpet beetles, making these ravenous pests particularly destructive to have in the home.
Carpet beetles find sweet and sugary scents and odors irresistible. They tend to breed in dark, secluded areas such as underneath rug and carpet edges. Some signs of a potential carpet beetle infestation include larvae casings and holes in fabrics. Here are a few ways of prevent them from spreading:
- regularly vacuum and launder rugs, carpets, linens and furniture
- wash your fabrics thoroughly in hot, soapy water to get rid of eggs
- purchase pest control options like insecticide spray or boric acid
- store mothballs strategically underneath carpets and in clothes’ drawers
Rug Cleaning Tips – Moths
The two most common kinds of moths found in the home are those that eat food and those that eat fabrics. With regard to the latter, the moth species tineola bisselliella (clothing moth) and tinea pellionella (case-bearing clothes moth) are the ones that draw nourishment from natural fibers such as wool, furs, feathers and carpets. Another moth species to be wary of where carpets and rugs are concerned is the hofmannophila pseudospretella (brown house moth), which attacks both food and fabrics alike.
Carpet destroying moths are often introduced to the home through contaminated food or clothing, or via animals such as birds and rodents. Moths like to retreat to dark, dry areas such as pantries, so any attempt to be rid of them should begin there. Should signs of moth infestation be found, the following steps should be taken:
- vacuum carpets and other target areas to get rid of moth larvae and eggs
- set pheromone-based moth traps to trap moths safely and effectively
- place infected items in extreme cold to destroy moths before they hatch
- seal off areas of entry for moths using a silicone caulk, putty or foam
When done consistently and efficiently, measures such as vacuuming and selective pest control should forestall carpet beetle and moth infestation. In the worst-case scenario, contact pest control professionals to get rid of widespread issues. Also, be sure to take your area rug to Bagdad Oriental Rugs in Houston for a thorough rug cleaning.