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Your rug shouldn't crawl. Ever heard of maggots hatching out of a rug?
October 27, 2008 10:37 PM   Subscribe

IKEA Rag Rug nastiness: Has this happened to anyone you know? (Somewhat gross explanation ahead)

(Warning: Grossness ahead.)
A couple of years ago, a very strange home furnishing-related thing happened to me and I've always wondered if it affected anyone else. I know it kind of sounds like an urban myth, but it absolutely happened to me.

I lived with a flatmate in Los Angeles at the time and we were having breakfast one sunday morning when we looked down and noticed a lot of large white maggots, or larvae of some kind, crawling over the floor. Keepers of a very clean home, we were horrified by this, and quickly moved everything out of the kitchen and swept and mopped before noticing that they were back again. Three or four times we swept them up, covering the floor in hot, bleachy water, only for them to return, seemingly from nowhere. We checked the drains and under the fridge and all cupboards, but couldn't figure out the source, and we both started to come unhinged. The maggots were the size of small dried beans, white and rubbery when we tried to crush them with the mop-head.

It was only later on in the morning when, giving up, we started moving some of the things which had been in the kitchen that we picked up an IKEA rag rug that had been on the floor, and literally dozens of these maggot things fell out of it. We remembered then that we had the same rug in the bathroom, and sure enough - a shower of them fell out when we picked it up. The floor was absolutely crawling with maggots.

Now neither of these rugs were very old, nor were they dirty. We'd actually bought them because we knew we could launder them frequently. We paid about $2 for them, and so getting our money back wasn't really an issue, it was more "What the heck?!". I called and complained, and (surprisingly) customer service kind of went "Meh. These things happen. They were hand loomed in India." (like that somehow explains it) and they offerded us a refund, which we turned down - it was just a really small amount and we really didn't care. I was more interested in letting them know that their rugs seem to be hatching, and sparing anyone else the anguish of having their homes crawling with larvae. I actually thought they would have been more alarmed, or have heard of this happening before. No big deal.

I can only guess that they were some kind of egg that was woven into the rug and the right conditions of moisture and heat had them hatching in our kitchen and bathroom. Would really like to know if this is a common sort of thing with these rugs. Anyway, has anyone else ever experienced this? Any idea what they were?
posted by lottie to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Googling "carpet maggots" and "rug maggots" reveals that this is a pretty common problem. I highly doubt it has anything to do with IKEA in particular (data point: I'm not a paid shill, but we've been using IKEA rugs for years—we just buy new ones when they get old—as have pretty much all of my college friends, and I've never heard of anything like this).
posted by halogen at 10:55 PM on October 27, 2008


I have a few of those rag rugs from IKEA (they are great dog rugs for tiled floors) and haven't experienced maggot action but then again, it's possible the dog ate any bonus critters before I saw them.

Wild ass theory 1: those rugs are made of strips of recycled cotton cloth. Some of the cloth was previously used to as sacks to store grain. Meal moths infested the sacked grain and laid their eggs, some of the eggs stayed in the fibers of the cloth as they were rendered into rugs and transported halfway around the world to your local IKEA.*

*big plot hole: the time elapsed from egg to hatched larva doesn't seem to be able to accommodate the lengthy container ship trip.

Wild ass theory 2: Something in your kitchen attracted meal moths (don't fret, we all get them eventually) who laid eggs. The larva can travel quite a distance from the hatching spot and congregated in the rugs to nosh on collected crumbs.**

**big plot hole: doesn't explain the bathroom rug.

On the other hand, I have one of their wool rugs and it sheds like crazy. I've had it for at least 3 years now and every time I vacuum it, it just about fills up the canister with loose fiber. I'm amazed it isn't bald by now.
posted by jamaro at 11:07 PM on October 27, 2008


WAT 3 - They're actually from cotton-loving field pests, eggs laid in the field or after gathering and not killed by whatever dyeing process was used.

**big plot hole - would eggs even be laid on the fuzzy fluffy parts of the plant? Would any dyeing process be survivable?
posted by amtho at 11:21 PM on October 27, 2008


Often the Master Gardener clinic receives samples of fly maggots from clients. The most common scenario that the customer describes is “maggots are crawling out of my carpet!”
posted by dhartung at 1:46 AM on October 28, 2008


eeek! I got a few of those rugs in my bedroom.
(hurriedly leaves with bleach in one hand and a flamethrower in the other)
posted by _dario at 1:52 AM on October 28, 2008


Back when we used to have a lot of those IKEA rugs, we had a huge maggot problem we never tracked down.

There might actually be a connection.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:05 AM on October 28, 2008


Consider the origin of the rug, its transport and consequential storage along the way. It's not such an uncommon occurrence. Beating the rug, leaving it in the sun, then treating it with Borax powder, then vacuuming - will get rid of the issue.
posted by watercarrier at 3:59 AM on October 28, 2008


Yeah, when I was little the carpet in my bedroom suddenly started producing maggots (I can't remember if we had introduced a new [non Ikea] rug or if the carpet spontaneously just did it). Definitely creepy-crawly-gross but not something totally unusual
posted by olinerd at 4:01 AM on October 28, 2008


Incidentally, be careful vacuuming those IKEA rag rugs. If it gets caught on the beater bar, it will screw it up good.
posted by smackfu at 6:03 AM on October 28, 2008


Long time ikea rag-rug owner here. Never ever had a maggot problem. I live in a significantly cooler climate though... I don't think I've run into maggots beyond spoiled meat in the garbage at the height of summer's heat.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:49 AM on October 28, 2008


ok, just reread that this was not at home, but in LA. My comment on climate still applies.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:50 AM on October 28, 2008


OK, a story. I was homeless in the 80's for a while and slept outdoors. One day I found a discarded bathroom rug that looked fairly clean, so I began to use it under my pillow when I slept at night. One morning I awoke and happened to be staring about two inches from the rug's surface ( I am very nearsighted ) and noticed that it was ALIVE with tiny white maggots.
posted by telstar at 8:29 PM on May 15, 2009


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