The Damage Moths & Bugs Can Do to Your Hand Woven Rugs

Handmade wool rugs are woven to last for hundreds of years. If cared for properly, you can ensure your rugs will be passed on for generations.

However, if your rugs are in harsh conditions at any point, they can suffer severe damage over the course of time. Moths and other bugs, for example, will feed on contaminants that the rug fibers hold are holding onto, causing destruction to your prized floor covering.

Moth/bug damage most commonly occurs while they’re being stored in dark, undisturbed areas where insects make their home, but damage canstill occur while your rugs are being used. This damage is normally found under large pieces of furniture since, while vacuuming, the majority of rug owners do not move their heavy sofa or china cabinets to clean those spots, allowing for bugs and moths to make a meal out of your rug.

Two ways to check your rug to see if there are bugs:

  1. To see if your rug has moth larvae growing, look on the underside of the rug. You will see casing, the stage before the larvae hatch and begin to eat the rug. The larvae will look like sticky lint or spider webs that are attached to the rug. Occasionally, there will be small cocoons depending on the type of bug. If larvae is present, your rug can still be salvaged as long as it is brought into our Rug Care Center for proper cleaning.
  2. Silverfish, termites, and other types of bugs will chow down on your rug if not treated right away. To identify if these critters are crawling in your rugs, look for bare spots or areas where the wool has been eaten away. If your rug has a cotton foundation, the bugs will eat just the wool leaving the cotton foundation that creates a grid on the underside of the rug. However, if your rug is made of all wool, the bugs will eat through your entire rug leaving a hole.

If there is an active infestation in your rug, you will need to call a pest control specialist to kill the bugs (you may want them to check the rest of your home as well). It is recommended that you have a pest control specialist address the infestation in your home before your freshly cleaned and moth-treated rugs return home.

Remember, moths and other bugs find it much more appetizing to feed on dirty rugs than clean rugs. This is why it is very important to have crumbs and spills cleaned up immediately. The industry recommends that rugs are cleaned every 1 to 3 years, depending on the type of rug you have, frequency of vacuuming, and traffic (feet and paws).

If you have pets in your home that have had several accidents on your rug, we highly recommend getting your rug professionally cleaned. Moths specifically find urine-soaked wool fibers to be the tastiest and will eat those areas first. Cleaning up these areas immediately will help lessen the risks, but over time pet urine will cause severe fiber and dye damage to your rug.

Tips to prevent moths and bugs from making your rug their new home:

  • Don’t give them a free place to live. Vacuum regularly and be sure to go under furniture or move furniture to vacuum. This will disturb the areas making it less likely for bugs to make your rug their new home.
  • Place your rug in direct sunlight a few times a year. The bugs that are feeding on your rug like dark areas, so the sunlight will disrupt them.
  • Use a quality rug pad. This will eliminate air pockets where the bugs live and breed. To learn more about quality rug pads check out our blog post on rug pads here.

About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932.

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Updated 8/06/2017