The following is in reference to wool rugs, excluding hand tufted items. Should you have a silk carpet which has been a subject/recipient of an animal offense, check with your local dealer as proper treatment usually would entail a dry cleaner or other.
Moths, water (specifically dry rot), sun, general wear and tear of a rug may all be considered "harsh" on both the aesthetic and structural integrity of your rug. However, some of the more usual, and preventable culprits are Cats and Dogs. While the best strategy of action is to gate off areas where your rugs are placed, this is not always practical or fair to the animal: They love rugs too! So how do you as the Alpha control these ongoing offenses?
Regurgitation, Number 1 and Number 2:
The biggest problem is the first "soiling". Once a cat or dog has regurgitated food or gone to the bathroom on your most prized possession, you absolutely must clean the affected area immediately. Water, light detergent and thorough drying is almost always the best bet for typical small scale stains, however, in instances of animals, repeat offenses are inevitable unless a more aggressive stance is taken. With keen senses of smell, cats and dogs almost always can find a previous spot on your rug where they have made offense. Keep in mind, your pet may have more serious problems going on such as a urinary tract infection or other heath issues which may lead to descreased bladder contol.
So what is the best and most effective solution for eliminating these signature areas? Try our Rug Rag Stain Removal Guide. This will walk you through specific and concise cleaning techniques using typical household cleaners such as mild detergent, ammonia, vinegar, alcohol and enzyme solutions*. Don't bank on "all in one cleaners". They often are formulated to address as many types of stains as possible, and may make the stain impervious to future cleaning attempts. Remember, always work toward the center of a stain, going with the direction of the pile. Prior to starting, pick up large offenses with a paper towel, use a spoon applied with hard hand to scoop excess offense. Absorb and dry any excess with a dry cloth or paper towel, and never use back and forth movement to dry or apply. If you are ever unsure of proper cleaning practices, try posting to our Rug Forum, or talk to your local rug professional about cleaning options.
Also Remember the Spite Rule: A Cat or Dog will hold you accountable for extended "alone time". Often animals will act out if they feel neglected! Leave a radio on when you leave the house, and make sure you stay on a consistent schedule of walks and one on one time with your pet. Check with your local animal trainer on crate training your pet.
Cats like to sharpen their claws on the rug. The best preventative measure is to place typical cat toys in the vicinity of your rug, but away from it. A cat scratching post set in place prior to laying out your rug will set a precedent. Make sure litter boxes are clear, as often a cat who seeks refuge on your rug is seeking that new, cleaner location.
Dogs often are seeking something inside the rug, underneath, and sometimes may simply be trying to nest. Often their drive is set by a search of a previously poorly treated stain, or even the underlining of your rug which often used to be made of Jute (horse hair). Make sure none of their treats were accidentally swept under the rug. For dogs which are "nesting", often a strategically small woven blanket will alleviate aggressive clawing of the rug, as they'll tend to focus more on items which can and may serve their ultimate goal. Dogs often like to have these coverings located in the room where there's a sun spot, so adjust accordingly.
*Exact formula depends on actual stain. While our Stain Removal Guide creates a custom tailored result for your stain, Rug Rag is in no way responsible/liable for subsequent damages through your use of suggested treatment. Proceed at your own risk.