As professional carpet cleaners, we clean a wide variety of natural and synthetic rugs, but we won’t clean paper rugs. Yes, you read that right. There are rugs on the market today, some of them very expensive, that are made of paper. Their cleaning and care instructions often specify “professional cleaning only,” but what they don’t say is that paper rugs are almost always impossible to clean without causing irreversible damage. Here are the details.
Many different materials are used to make rugs. They can be categorized broadly into two groups: natural and synthetic. Natural materials include cotton, silk, wool, hides/leather, and jute/sisal. Synthetic materials include polypropylene, viscose, polyester, microfiber, and artificial silk.
Paper Rugs Are Weak
Rugs that are made with paper, or regenerated wood cellulose material, are poor choices for floor coverings. Regenerated wood cellulose material has a much lower breaking strain compared to the strong tensile strength of silk or other fibers, especially when it gets wet.
Paper Rugs Discolor Easily
If you were to leave a newspaper outside in the sun for a few days, the material would undergo chemical changes and deteriorate, turning a brownish yellow color. This is what happens when you or a professional carpet cleaner attempt to clean a paper rug. No matter how careful you are, the material is naturally sensitive and prone to yellowing and color change. While technically it is possible to clean, it is not possible to maintain the fresh, clean, like-new appearance.
We highly recommend that either you do not purchase paper rugs or that you do so without any expectation of maintaining their appearance for years like rugs made of other more appropriate materials.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Stone and Tile PROS Partners.