Hand-Tufted Rugs: From Construction to Cleaning

You’ve chosen as your floor covering a hand-tufted rug made of fine wool that has an exquisite design. You’ve paid in the price range of a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand. And you have maintained it by vacuuming religiously and storing it correctly. But now, it’s time to professionally clean it, and the challenges of doing so may come as a surprise because no one ever educated you on how hand-tufted rugs are made.

Britain’s Prince Charles tries his hand at tufting while touring the New Zealand Shear Brilliance Event — an exhibition showcasing a diverse range of wool products — in his role as patron and founder of the Campaign for Wool, a project launched in 2010.

Deconstructing the Construction of Hand-Tufted Rugs

Hand-tufted rugs often have the look and feel of hand-knotted (handmade) rugs, however their creation is much less labor intensive.

Unlike hand-knotted rugs, for which an experienced weaver might tie about 10,000 knots per day for a very dense pattern, hand-tufted rugs are created with a “tufting gun.” Loops of wool are pushed through a backing that has been imprinted with the overall design. When the rug maker is through with this process, another foundation, called a scrim, is applied with latex glue. After this dries, the protective cloth backing is applied.

The last step is to shear the rug so that all of the loops on the top of the rug are cut, which creates the pile. A fringe is then either sewn or glued on to the edges.

 Hand-Tufted 411:

  • The lifespan of hand-tufted rugs (10 to 12 years) is much shorter than handmade rugs.
  • Some lesser-quality tufted rugs can start to emit an odor, because the latex glue used by the manufacturer had soured, but it was used anyway.
  • The cotton backing, which lies over the latex glue, tends to discolor overtime.
  • Bulking and cracking can happen if you place the hand-tufted rug on a soft surface, such as a wall-to-wall carpet, then place heavy furniture on top. Always place a durable pad beneath the rug to support the furniture.
  • Latex glue will deteriorate over time.
  • Delamination (separation of the backing from the rug) can occur due to the “fillers” used by some manufacturers, who want to extend their batches of adhesives.
  • White or yellowish powder appearing underneath your tufted rug is actually dried up glue particles. 

How to Get Hand-Tufted Rugs Properly Cleaned

When your rug gets dirty from normal traffic, pet accidents or other stains, you must get it cleaned, not only by a professional, but by one like revitaRUGS, who understands the complexities of hand-tufting.

Your hand-tufted rug will go through our entire organic wash process. After it’s completely dry, we examine the rug, the condition of the cotton backing and the deterioration level of glue. Then, if necessary;

1-     We remove the cotton backing.

2-     We vacuum all the old dried-up glue and any chunks of filler.

3-     If the cotton backing is in good, re-usable condition, then we reapply latex glue, use the exiting cotton and close up the seams.

4-     If the cotton backing has deteriorated with age, or is damaged, a new cotton backing will be used.

5-     The tufted rug gets a new secure foundation.

Occasionally, even after this professional cleaning, you might notice some very fine yellow residue from the old glue still lurking underneath the rug. This is normal. Just keep vacuuming and it will eventually be gone for good.

Ready To Professionally Clean Your Hand Tufted Rug?

Get your fast, free, no-obligation quote from one of our Revita Experts today at the premier NYC revitaRUGS! Call us at 1.855.5.REVITA or, fill out our contact form here