Rug Cleaning – Bleeding rugs!

Knowing if you have a bleeding rug is essential if you're thinking about rug cleaning yourself. What I mean by this is sometimes rugs do have colours that may run. We would want to protect your beautiful rug from this, so it's always good to check. 

Let me tell you. It's not unusual to have an excess of dye in the fibres. It's extremely common to have bleeding rugs, and I will go into how we combat bleeding rugs in the section headed "How we test to see if you have a bleeding rug before cleaning.

I will explain why rugs bleed and then explain the care that goes into looking after your rug. You can also download an ebook about how to care for your rug.

Before we start, below are some of the rugs we have cleaned:

These images are of types of rugs we would test before cleaning and have cleaned:

Here are some of our customer’s gorgeous rugs we’ve had the honoured to clean:

Reasons why bleeding rugs are a thing:

1. Over-dyed or excess dye application.

We can all agree it’s the most frustrating thing when you put a white load, and that one brand new red sock managed to get in… and suddenly your once white load is now pink, not the look you wanted!

Before cleaning, it’s the same with your brand-new rugs with an excess of dye left in the fibres. 

Sometimes rugs have more colour added to make them look brighter to the potential buyer. Using a method called tea washing to make the rug look older. This additional dye can sometimes bleed when cleaning.

2. The use of fugitive dye:

This term sounds like a specific kind of dye, but it’s the action that takes part while cleaning when the dye on your rug meets water.

The dye holds onto the fibres until that first contact with water happens, and like it’s scared, it releases its grip and bleeds into the rest of the rug.

3. Home cleaning rugs:

Home cleaning seems the better option, but I promise you it’s not. 

One of the biggest problems we see is when people clean the rugs at home a few times, and the residue on the last cleaning time causes bleeding. Getting residue out of the rug is not easy, and as much as you think you have it all out… I promise you, and you don’t. And if you’ve cleaned it more than once, the residue builds up quickly. 

A professional will have the area and correct equipment to remove all residue. If you have a bleeding rug, the professionals will also know how to avoid this problem. 

4. Pet Urine:

Pet urine is one of the serious issues for your rug bleeding as it is acidic. Even colourfast dyes can bleed when exposed to any pet urine. As soon as you try to wash the rug, it will bleed. Having this washed and removed as soon as possible is important with any exposure to this kind of stain. 

5. When the manufacturer made the rug, they used water-soluble dyes:

Water-soluble dyes bleed, especially when they meet any form of fluid. If your rug has water-soluble dye, you may need to be extra careful when cleaning and think about colour-fasting the rug.

6. They used a dye that was not colourfast:

Finally, when someone spills fluid on any rug that has been dyed but hasn’t had colourfast dye used could bleed. We commonly see this on cheaper or bulk-manufactured rugs, and they want the colours to stand out!

How we test to see if you have a bleeding rug before cleaning:

So, after speaking to our rug specialist, I learned quite a bit. 

First, we spray one of our white cloths with our cleaning product and attach it to the area with a clamp. Depending on the rug, we may do this in more than one area. We then leave it for 15 – 20 mins to see if we get any transfer onto the cloth.

 Once this is complete, if the colour does run, we use diluted acetic acid to fix the colours before cleaning. We would also wash this with a cold-water method to avoid as much rug bleeding as possible.  

Then we use diluted acetic acid to fix the colours before cleaning. 

Our rug cleaning process:

In this short video, Pierre shows how our rug cleaning process works. 

To read more about our process and get a quote, click here: Our Rug Cleaning Service. 

Check out our reviews and links to a few others:

Rug cleaning – reviews for you!

Tips to help your rug last longer:

Tips to help your Rug last longer

Download our eBook…

To learn more about caring for your fine rug!

How To Care For
Your Fine Rug









Written by Tracey Gilbey, Marketing

For further advice or information on our Carpet and Soft Furnishing care, please do not hesitate to contact the Art of Clean team on 01223 901551 in Cambridge. Our services include Carpet Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning, oriental and area Rug Cleaning, Curtain Cleaning, Patio, and Driveway Pressure washing, Leather Cleaning, Stone and Tile Floor Cleaning, and Wood Floor Sanding and Restoration. We also supply new flooring and carpets through our sister company Art of Flooring. Our Dry-Cleaning service is provided by Farthings Cambridge


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