There is a perception among some consumers that wool is a somewhat delicate fibre, easily damaged and stained. Perhaps this is fuelled by those labels on clothing that say wash with care and hand wash only? However, this does not apply to wool carpet! Wool fibre used in the manufacture of carpet comes mainly from Britain and NewZealand and is incredibly tough. This hard-wearing and resilient fibre has great ‘bouncebackability’ and is quite different from the softer and finer Australian Merino wool that is predominantly used in clothing.
You only need to see the sheep out in the fields, roaming the moors day and night in all weather conditions to see how tough wool is. The wool is battered by wind, rain, hail and snow so needs to be very resilient and have natural water repellency to keep the wet and cold away from the skin and the sheep warm and snug.
It is this natural water repellency that gives wool carpet owners the time to blot up a spill before it soaks into the carpet. Unfortunately, all too often carpet owners panic, grab the first detergent they can find under the sink and scrub the living daylights out of the spot! This can cause serious pile distortion and permanent damage to the carpet.
So what should you do if you spill red wine on a wool carpet?
Be prepared – Accidents happen no matter how careful you are, so it’s best to be prepared. It’s no good waiting until you have a spill before speeding to the shops to look for a carpet cleaning product. All that time you are rushing round the supermarket looking for a [WoolSafe Approved spotter] the spill is slowly sinking into the carpet and penetrating the fibres. So, make sure you always have to hand a clean white towel or kitchen roll and a bottle of spot remover suitable for use on wool (no bleach, optical brighteners, sticky residues, etc.) if in doubt, look for the WoolSafe certification mark on the bottle.
Follow the correct advice - There is a lot of really poor spot removal advice out there on the internet, ranging from the ‘old wives tales’ like pouring white wine onto red wine (wasteful and leaves a sticky residue) to the downright dangerous including using petrol! (I mean, what could possibly go wrong?) or other ill-advised chemical cocktails!
Instead, download the WoolSafe Carpet Stain Removal Guide App. It’s free and tells you step by step how to simply remove most common household spills.
It is easy to keep your wool carpet spotless by following these simple tips:
- Blot up the spill immediately using kitchen roll and keep blotting until there is no more transfer onto the tissue. Then put a few layers on top of the spill and stand on it.
- Apply the spot remover to a white towel or kitchen roll and dab. Do not scrub! Do not spray the spot remover directly on to the stain as you are likely to over-apply the product and will only succeed in spreading the stain.
- Blot again.
- Rinse by lightly spraying the area with water and blotting.
- If it was a large spill, place layers of tissue paper on the treated area and then a plastic bag with a heavy book on top. This will draw any remaining spill into the tissue rather than drying on the tips of the fibre.
If you would like to see the above technique in action you can watch a series of one-minute videos we made to help you. They show how to successfully remove common spills like red wine, coffee, orange juice and beans on toast from wool carpets. I know these simple steps work because it’s me who got volunteered to be in the videos. Wool carpets not only have great natural stain resist qualities but they also have the best appearance retention of any fibre. Unlike synthetic fibres, which scratch and abrade over time to become dull and flat, wool, when properly maintained, can look great almost indefinitely.