Tips on Cleaning Area Rugs
Area rugs can be beautiful additions to your home, but they can be expensive and sometimes delicate.
It’s important to know how to clean and maintain area rugs to protect your investment.
By following our tips, you can keep your rugs looking new for as long as possible.
How to Keep Your Rugs Clean
Frequent Vacuuming is key
To keep your area rugs clean, vacuum often.
- To properly vacuum area rugs, remove all furniture from them and vacuum to remove surface dirt.
- Next, flip the rug over and vacuum the back of the rug.
- Finally, flip the rug back over and give it one more pass on the right side.
It sounds like a lot of work, but vacuuming the back of the rug is the only way to get the dirt that settles against the backing. This should be done as often as possible.
Weekly vacuuming on both sides would be ideal. If that’s not possible, you should do it at least once every two weeks. For the fringe, do not use the beater bar on your vacuum. If your vacuum has a curtain-cleaning tool that allows you to adjust the power of the vacuum to low, use that to clean area rug fringe.
Improper Cleaning can Ruin your Rug
People trampling all over your expensive area rug causes wear and tear over time. You might be adding to that damage by cleaning your rugs the wrong way!
There are a few very common mistakes that people make when it comes to cleaning area rugs. These mistakes can end up subtracting years from the life of your rugs, and they should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t beat your rugs
Your mom might have taken her rugs out back, hung them on a clothesline, and beaten them with a baseball bat, but you shouldn’t. The only rugs you should shake or beat are inexpensive doormats.
When you beat rugs, you can cause the woven threads to loosen, and you can damage the backing of the rug. Some rugs will separate from their backing after only one beating if they are poorly made. Don’t take the chance.
Don’t vacuum the fringe
If you run the vacuum over fringe when you are vacuuming your rug, you will suck the fringe up into the beater bar of your vacuum. At the very least, you will damage the fringe. It starts to loosen and look like a curly, stringy mess.
Even worse, you could pull out chunks of fringe. The threads can get caught in your vacuum and you’ll have to unwind them from the beater bar. You can end up damaging your rug and your vacuum!
Don’t use carpet shampoos or sprays
Carpet shampoos usually end up attracting more dirt, and carpet shampooing machines (especially ones with several brushes) can do damage to your area rugs. Drenching your area rug with water is never a good idea. It can ruin the rug and the floor underneath.
Carpet stain sprays can discolor area rugs. It’s best to have your area rug professionally cleaned and only spot clean when necessary with a gentle stain solution.
Area Rug Stain Removal
If you spill something on your area rug or notice a stain while you’re vacuuming, you should attend to the stain right away.
For new stains;
- Place a clean towel or cloth underneath the rug.
- Use paper towels or a dry, clean towel and blot the stain.
- Repeat this until you’ve gotten as much of the spill as you can.
- Next, try to remove the stain.
- Replace the cloth or towel underneath the rug with a clean, dry one.
- From the top, dip a cloth or towel in a little club soda or cold water.
- Ring it out well so it’s only damp. Blot the stain and follow by blotting with a dry towel.
- If it doesn’t get out the stain, try blotting some shaving cream onto the stain.
- If the shaving cream doesn’t work, try a gentle solution of 1 teaspoon dish soap to 1 cup of water.
If your stain remains, call a professional. Trying anything harsher can damage your rug.
Maintaining Your Area Rug
Besides vacuuming, there are several ways to keep your area rug from wearing too much. If you have furniture on your rug, place a support underneath the rug where the legs rest.
There are special rug supports, but you can also just use a small tile under each leg. This keeps the furniture from severely indenting the rug. It’s also a good idea to rotate your rug every six months if you don’t rearrange your furniture often.
Rotating the rug keeps the furniture from poking the same part of the rug all of the time. If your area rug is reversible, flip it over every six months.
Periodically Call in the Pros!
Most area rug manufacturers recommend professional cleaning only. Some dry cleaners clean area rugs and most carpet cleaning services will clean area rugs, but make sure you ask which method they use. Read the care tag on your area rug to see what your manufacturer recommends.
Any method of cleaning will be hard on your rug, so only do it when necessary. Most rugs can be cleaned once every year or two.
Area rugs in high traffic areas will require more frequent cleaning. The more you baby your area rug, the longer you can enjoy its beauty!