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Why Do My Area Rugs Look Splotchy?  Has Something Spilled?

Why Do My Area Rugs Look Splotchy?  Has Something Spilled?

Ruthie here with Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care and I just wanted to share this little video explaining pile reversal and pooling in area rugs.  This is a condition that we see here at our facility pretty often and most people don’t know what it is or what it’s caused by.


Also known as watermarking (because of the way it looks like someone spilled water all over the rug and left a stain), pooling shows up most often in area rugs with a thick pile (think Chinese rugs).  However, it can be found in all kinds of area rugs, both tufted and woven. Some seem to think this condition should only be found in cheaper rugs, but that’s not the case at all! Any area rug with any type of pile is susceptible.

It isn’t that something was spilled on the rug, though!  It’s actually a redirection of the rug’s face fibers. When rugs are first manufactured, the pile stands straight up like a line of little soldiers at attention.  Eventually, these fibers are worn down by heavy foot traffic. Sometimes, this causes the fibers to permanently change direction. Instead of standing up straight, some of them get twisted and end up pointing toward the direction they got twisted in.

This condition is especially common in area rugs that experience high traffic, especially where we turn on them a lot.  Light gets reflected differently off of these redirected fibers, causing the areas to look wet or mottled.

Unfortunately, no one isn’t quite sure why it happens, just that it’s been happening for centuries!  Pooling is also something that is not able to be corrected with cleaning.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have your rug cleaned, of course!  You should always have your area rugs cleaned every 1-3 years by a professional (like us here at Arizona Oriental) to make sure your rug will last a long and happy life in your home.

Till next time, enjoy your beautiful art for your floor and remember a clean rug is a rug that can last you a lifetime!

Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care serves Prescott, Prescott Valley, Sedona, Flagstaff, and much of the Northern Arizona areas.  We meet the highest standards in professional cleaning of area rugs with rug wash specialists having earned the highest training, including certification as WOOLSAFE FIBRE CARE SPECIALISTS through the WOOLSAFE ORGANISATION.  Such extraordinary certification ensures our client’s area rugs receive the highest quality care.

Call us for more information about pooling in area rugs and for a free quote on cleaning at 928-445-1718, visit our website at, or stop by Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at our rug washing facility at 565 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (pick-up and delivery also available). 12-06-2018

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