To the lower right is a picture of a rag area rug we cleaned last week. In the picture it is safely on the drying platform, colors intact, no dye migration, no worries. Directly above it is a picture of the cotton rag we used to test the dye stability of the area rug. As you can see, the rug failed the dye stability test in fantastic fashion! Every color in the rug bled – almost instantaneously!
What to do when faced with this predicament? It’s a rag area rug, so it desperately needs a full immersion bath in the “rug spa”, yet it bleeds when in the presence of moisture. The answer is to treat it with a special chemical which helps to keep migrant dyes from fixing themselves on the surrounding fibers. This process effectively adds a day to the processing of the rug, but it allows us to wet wash area rugs that we otherwise couldn’t. Careful testing for dye stability is crucial for successful cleaning of tricky area rugs!