Why Snow Cleaning for Rugs Is Risky Business: Debunking a Popular Cleaning Myth

On icy, winter mornings in Monmouth and Ocean County, it’s starting to smell like snow outside. Apparently, as some people are pulling out their heavy coats and gloves, they are thinking about the opportunity to clean their area rugs. We’ve found an unconventional online trend captivating the attention of rug owners seeking alternative cleaning methods – “Snow Cleaning.”

Social media and online platforms are buzzing with tutorials and anecdotes advocating this snowy approach, claiming it as a safe and efficient means to cleanse delicate and high-pile rugs. However, there’s more to this method than meets the eye. Let’s look closely at the method and recommendations, its effectiveness, and the risks it poses to your treasured rugs.

While we absolutely feel that very few people in New Jersey actually attempt to clean their area rugs this way, what we see on the internet can be very compelling and there  many exceptions as to why if someone did this, how things can go bad very quickly. You’ll see why professional area rug cleaning remains the optimal choice for maintaining the integrity of your cherished area rugs.

What is Snow Cleaning?

Recent online buzz has sparked an unconventional trend: snow cleaning area rugs. The concept involves using dry, powdery snow to clean rugs by covering them in snow and beating the snow out to remove dirt and odors. While it might sound like a creative and eco-friendly idea, there are risks that could lead to damage to your rug. If you’d rather not go shopping for a new rug right away, consider skipping this trend.

GM Carpet Care’s Insights

Not as Simple as It Seems

At GM Carpet Care, we’ve seen and understood the intricacies of area rug cleaning for years. While the idea of snow cleaning may seem appealing, especially for antique or delicate rugs, it presents several risks and falls short in many ways.

Potential Risks and Drawbacks

Moisture Issues

The success of this method relies heavily on the snow’s consistency – it must remain dry throughout the process. However, if the snow melts or becomes slushy, it can be absorbed by the rug. This moisture can lead to multiple issues like prolonged drying times, color bleeding, and dye redeposition, potentially causing irreversible damage.

Despite the claim that snow won’t quickly absorb into the rug due to its frozen state, there’s still a potential risk of moisture seeping into the rug. Delicate vintage rugs can be particularly susceptible to damage if moisture is introduced during cleaning.

One of Many Videos About Snow Cleaning
WARNING: Don’t Do This At Home!

Without knowing the details and recommended way of cleaning certain types of rug fibers, getting them wet and then trying to dry them can take a very long time. We have some wool rugs that come into the shop that even with our extraction equipment and air movers still take 12 hours or more to dry.

Color fastness of some carpets can be very weak. If excess dye was left in the rug and not completely washed out of the wool when it was made, colors can move from crocking which is essentially color transfer from dry agitation. Adding water to the mix would allow some colors to move that much faster. Also, once they move, some dyes can redeposit into other parts of the rugs again that can be a disaster. 

Inadequate Soil Removal

Snow cleaning primarily focuses on removing dry soil. While it may eliminate surface dirt, it doesn’t address deeply embedded grime, requiring proper cleaning techniques with the use of appropriate cleaning agents and methods.

There are proper steps for cleaning required in order to clean textiles the right way. Some kind of soap or detergent is needed to suspend the dirt or soil in order to have it carried away.

This process of keeping dry snow on the carpet would only ever allow the dry soil to leave the rug…..while that is great a vacuum can do that very easily. There is always a layer of soil that attaches and gets embedded into the fibers that no amount of dry soil removal can be an adequate technique by itself.

Ineffectiveness Against Stains

For tough stains like spills or pet urine, snow cleaning proves ineffective. This method would do nothing for any severe stains such as staining drinks like wine, coffee, juice or candle wax, etc. This trending rug cleaning method lacks the targeted cleaning power needed to remove stubborn stains at all.

Potential Damage and Neglect

Aggressive agitation used during snow cleaning can damage delicate fibers of wool, silk, or viscose rugs. The risk of mold growth due to moisture, browning spots, and inadequate cleaning leaves much to be desired.

The Importance of Professional Cleaning

The GM Carpet Care Solution

While the idea of snow cleaning area rugs might seem innovative, the reality is far more complex. At GM Carpet Care, we prioritize proper techniques, using specialized equipment and controlled conditions for thorough and safe cleaning. Our professional in-plant area rug cleaning services ensure a deep and effective clean without the risks associated with DIY methods. We tackle tough stains, employ proper soil removal techniques, and safeguard delicate fibers, ensuring your rugs receive the care they deserve.

While some sources advocate for snow cleaning rugs, there are further considerations to keep in mind before attempting this method.

Delicate Rugs and Snow Cleaning

Risks for Delicate Fabrics

Snow cleaning, promoted for delicate rugs like vintage or high-pile ones, may not be as harmless as portrayed. Delicate materials require specific cleaning procedures, and snow cleaning lacks the precision needed to safeguard such fibers.

Combining moisture with soil that is still embedded into the rugs can leave water rings or browning spots. Viscose rugs are susceptible to browning very easily and reversing that browning is very, very tricky. Trouble shooting this unfortunate result requires a technique that we need to have complete control over and can not be achieved by laying the rug out in the snow.

Grooming and Rug Maintenance

Missed Grooming Steps

Snow cleaning doesn’t allow for proper rug grooming, a critical step to ensure the rug fibers are set, and the rug maintains an even appearance without light or dark areas. Without this step, the rug might show uneven patches or spots.

area rug snow cleaning

Mold and Drying Concerns

Moisture and Mold Risk

The potential introduction of moisture during snow cleaning, especially if not dried properly afterward, can lead to mold growth. This is a significant concern for rugs, particularly those made from natural fibers.

GM Carpet Care’s Professional Approach

At GM Carpet Care, we prioritize the safe and effective cleaning of area rugs. Our professional in-plant area rug cleaning services are designed to address these issues. We utilize specialized equipment, controlled conditions, and appropriate techniques to ensure a thorough clean without the risks associated with DIY methods.

The Verdict on Snow Cleaning – A Risky Rug Cleaning Fad

Snow cleaning area rugs might sound appealing, but it lacks the thoroughness and precision required for effective rug cleaning. For a safe, thorough, and reliable solution that preserves the integrity of your rugs, trust the expertise of GM Carpet Care. Don’t risk potential damage or inadequate cleaning – opt for professional care for your beloved area rugs.