Sometimes area rugs are used over carpet to add interest or define a space. If that’s your plan it’s important to know which rugs are safe to place over carpet.
What many of us don’t know is many rugs are not colorfast meaning their dyes can bleed. This opens up the potential of ruining your wall-to-wall carpeting. I’ve seen it happen and it’s an expensive mistake. Sometime a good cleaner can get it out but often not.
First of all what does colorfast mean? If a rug is colorfast it means it will not bleed or run its color or dye. How can you tell if a rug is colorfast? There are hot water tests, which are difficult to do while shopping in a store but good to know if you have a rug over carpet now. Here is a video that shows how to test for colorfastness.
Most of us don’t want to carry a thermos of hot water with an eyedropper and a white rag into a rug store, besides how do we know we are doing it correctly or worse yet ruin the rug we are testing. So, what are the things you can do or look for to make sure the rug is colorfast and safe to place over your wall-to-wall carpeting?
Looking at the fiber and cleaning instructions can help. Some natural fibers such as wool and cotton can bleed, but so can rayon or viscose rugs. There are also wool rugs and synthetic rugs that can be soaked with water and will have no transfer or loss of dye. Asking to see the cleaning instructions can help get a better picture. It could mean a potential problem if the rug says dry clean only or has a warning that after steam or wet cleaning the dyes may lighten.
What about putting a protective pad under the rug separating the area rug from the wall-to-wall carpet? It’s an option. We have an excellent rug over carpet pad that really slows down the movement of the rug however if the rug travels off the pad at all or the perimeters of the rug touch the wall-to-wall carpet you have the potential of dye transfer at the edges. If you care about your wall-to-wall carpet this may not be worth the risk.
The best guarantee of knowing an area rug is safe over your wall-to-wall carpet? Purchase your rug from a local store that specializes in area rugs, understands fiber and can answer your questions and give you the guidance to make the right purchase.