We Cannot Wash Tufted Rugs

Tufted rugs are easily identified because they have a piece of cloth glued on the back of them. The pile is usually wool. Often they’ve been purchased from brand name designers or retailers. Often they have a label saying they are “handmade”. Usually they’ve been made in India or China.



Why can’t we wash tufted rugs?


They are made from 3 or 4 layers – like a sandwich- that are held together with latex adhesive. Latex is a water based glue – so it dissolves in the wash water.


powder from tufted rugThe face of a tufted rug is made by punching yarns through a sheet of fabric to form the pile you walk on. A “scrim” or secondary backing is added to give the rug rigidity. Sometimes a filler is added to give the rug padding. The bottom layer is a heavy cloth.


When we wash a tufted rug the layers will probably come apart. If the rug had a filler material in it, the filler will now become a powder. The powder will puff out of the rug once you get the rug back home and walk on it. It will continue to do that for the life of the rug.



Tufted rugs are a disposable item. Like many modern consumer goods they are marketed and sold based on appearance and price point rather than durability. So here are two suggestions based on two and a half decades of experience cleaning rugs.


1. If the issue is pet accidents and you want to know the rug is absolutely clean and odor free, I would throw the rug away and buy another rug. I wouldn’t waste money trying to have it cleaned.


2. If the issue is surface dirt and the rug isn’t heavily soiled, a carpet cleaner may be able to improve its appearance enough to satisfy you.


Here are some cleaning considerations you may want to take into account when buying a replacement rug.


The pile of many oriental style rugs sold in carpet stores is made of olefin, the trade name for polypropylene. These rugs wear well when subjected to the abuse delivered by dogs, cats and small children. The pile can be cleaned by a carpet cleaner. And they can be washed if pet accidents are an issue.

Sisal or Seagrass rugs usually can’t be made to look uniform when they are cleaned.

Acrylic rugs usually do not clean up well – particularly those made of mod acrylic. Although the yarn is synthetic, it scratches easily. This can make the clean, but worn yarn, look dull.

Cotton does not wear well and strong colors (red and black) may bleed.



rug cleaners

Cara and John Eliason

Woolsafe Certification

Our Hours

At the plant

Mon, Wed, Fri:  8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Tue, Thu:        12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call before coming. Sometimes deliveries run into the afternoon.

RealClean Rugs


On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we pick up and return rugs in the Upper Valley.

Get In Touch

2 + 7 =