Although area rugs may look a lot like carpet from the top, the two are actually quite different in their construction. Carpeting is constructed with a backing that is made of plastic and is designed to be vacuumed from the top. Foundation of area rugs however are made of tightly wrapped fibers that trap and hold dirt. This means vacuuming alone won’t remove this soil. With an area rug, the soil must be removed using special rug dusting equipment and that can’t be done in the home.
Carpet cleaning equipment isn’t designed to clean the foundation of an area rug. The real damage from dirt occurs deep in the foundation of the area rug and if it is cleaned in the home, the dirt deep in the foundation simply isn’t removed and any moisture added as part of the cleaning process mixes with the dirt and the cleaning agents and hardens into a plaster like substance in the base of the rug. This cuts the fibers, accelerates wear, and can cause the foundation fibers to become brittle and crack. This can ruin the rug!
Once the damage from carpet cleaning methods is done to the rug, it can take very aggressive cleaning techniques to reverse the damage. This means using harsher chemicals to break down the deposits left from the carpet cleaning process.