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Browning on Wool Rug


I have a wool area rug that had been cleaned, dried and rolled. 

Unfortunately, heavy rains penetrated my shop and allowed moisture to act upon this rug. After unrolling, I found browning.

What product is recommended for neutralization/reversal? I would typically resort to re-clean, blow dry and allow acidic rinse to do its part. My concern, the browning is heavy blotches in a few areas and I'm concerned that my approach would not be thorough enough for it. Any thoughts and suggestions would be deeply appreciated.


You didn't mention the rug's construction, so I'm assuming that this is a hand-knotted, hand-tufted or machine-woven rug.  If you have cellulosic browning on a wool rug, there must be cellulosic (cotton, jute) foundation yarns present, since wool doesn’t brown.  If foundation yarns are synthetic, the "browning" might be dye migration. 

Assuming browning, I would:

1.     mix a reducer shampoo (e.g., Prochem Fine Fabric Cotton Shampoo or Chemspec Haitian Cotton Shampoo) according to label directions.  Do not use an oxidizer, such as hydrogen peroxide, since that can remove color and eventually damage wool fiber;

2.     after vacuuming and dusting the rug, pre-spray the reducer shampoo on the obviously browned spots; then overall;

3.     agitate with cylindrical or rotary brush action.  If this is true cellulosic browning you should see correction occurring immediately;

4.     allow 15-20 minutes of dwell time;

5.     mix an acid rinse (acetic or formulated acid product) solution and pour it into your hot water extraction unit;

6.     thoroughly hot water rinse the rug overall at least three times, concentrating on the browned areas;

7.     dry vacuum stroke after wet cleaning each section of the rug;

8.     groom the rug with the pile lay;

9.     force dry, preferably upside down on an air table;

10.    inspect the rug after drying;

11.    if any browning remains, you can mist apply a 3% peroxide solution, but remember, that browning is confined to the tips of yarns – so don’t over-apply; 

12.    force dry again with an airmover. 

If it’s true browning, that should correct the problem.  If it’s dye migration, that might not be correctable. 

Hope this helps. 

L. Jeff Bishop, SCRT Technical Advisor
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