Cleaning Felt Wool Rugs

Felt wool rugs, especially the bright felt ball designs, are extremely popular at the moment. They are commonly used in children’s rooms to brighten the space and create a child friendly atmosphere. As wool is naturally flame-retardant, people prefer them for children’s rooms as they are seen as safer than wool or nylon rugs.

However, few people are told about the difficulty in keeping a felt rug clean. Today we are going to discuss why cleaning felt wool rugs is so difficult.

Making Felt Wool Rugs

How is a Felt Ball Rug Made?

Made from 100% wool, felt ball rugs are comprised of tiny wool balls. These are tightly sewn together by hand with a heavy-duty thread. These rugs are often contain thousands of felt balls, making it incredibly time-consuming to create and detail these rugs.

Each felt ball is made from 100% wool, that is gently rolled around on a soapy surface to form a ball through the felting process. By rolling and rinsing the balls frequently, they shrink and take on a spherical shape. The balls are then placed in cold water for a final rinse. They are then dried in the sun, ready to use.

Felt wool rug

Home Care for Felt Rugs

While rug sellers may say that caring for a felt rug is easy, it is actually more difficult than a traditional rug. Felt can easily catch onto shoes, clothing and toys, tearing at the balls. Not only does this create an unappealing fuzz texture, it also makes overall rug weaker.

Because the wool is raw (to facilitate the felting process) it is easy to stain, and these stains are almost impossible to remove. As a result, you should ensure your rug is not in an area where it is at risk of food, drink or other spills.

Home cleaning techniques or “hacks” can severely damage your rug. Adding water can restart the felting process, flattening the ball shapes. Chemicals, including benign sounding ones like vinegar, can strip the colour from your rug or cause the dye to bleed into other balls. This can quickly turn your rug from brightly coloured to muddy grey.

While you can bring a felted rug to a professional cleaner, like Wood’s Rug Laundry, they are difficult to clean due to the nature of felt.

Vacuuming and shaking your rug to remove dust and dirt is the best thing you can do from home. You need to also vacuum the floor beneath the rug, and the rug backing, to prevent a sandpaper effect. Otherwise, you might find your rug is worn away more quickly.

Vacuum, gently, with the nozzle of the vacuum to remove dust and dirt from the fibres. Avoid using a bristle cleaner or a broom as this can cause damage to the felt, fuzzing up the top of the rug and ruining the aesthetic.

Disfigured felt wool ball rug

Avoid Wet Areas

Felt rugs are very susceptible to wet and damp conditions. Water can cause the rug to regress back to the felting process, causing the balls to mesh together or flatten out. It will also cause a strong, wet dog smell to permeate your home. Further, water can cause the rug to stretch, shrink or distort.

We recommend not trying to clean or wet your rug, yourself, to avoid this kind of damage. Professional rug cleaners may be able to remove stains from your rug but it is an incredibly delicate process. It is best to call your chosen rug cleaner, first, to see if they work with felt ball rugs.

Professionally Cleaning Felt Ball Rugs

While felt ball rugs can look amazing in the home – especially in children’s rooms – they are far from practical. You need to avoid resting furniture on felt rugs as this can permanently deform the balls.

When it comes to professionally cleaning felt ball rugs, they have to be very delicately handled and cleaned. They cannot be passed through normal washing machinery, as that will deform and flatten the balls. They also require longer drying time, due to their density. Finally, dye bleed is a very real danger with these rugs and said dye bleed can lead to your once vibrant rug becoming muddy looking. With how delicate and difficult to clean they are, you may find it difficult to get a professional cleaner to clean your rug.

We recommend not having your felt ball rug in high traffic areas or where they are at risk of spills and stains. This means they may not be the right rug for a children’s room or play area.

Not sure if your felt wool rugs can be cleaned? Contact the team at Woods Rug Laundry, today. We can discuss your concerns and determine whether we can help you. We also specialise in cleaning antique and oriental rugs, as well as wool and nylon.