Cleaning 101: How to Clean an Area Rug

Cleaning 101: How to Clean an Area Rug

Warming up floors, injecting color and pattern into space, and creating zones in your home’s living area is fun and exciting with area rugs. They can easily add a lively accent or an elegant touch to any room that you want to improve aesthetically. The only downside with area rugs is that they collect stains and debris over time, so it is indeed vital that you clean them regularly or call the professionals specializing in rug cleaning services.

Keeping your area rugs looking fantastic and new is possible with primary care, deep cleaning, and effective stain removal. But to do these properly, you must first identify the material or fabric of your rug. This is a critical step in extending its life because different rug structures require specific and unique area rug cleaning materials and methods.  Let us then see the basic rug care, the material-by-material cleaning guide, and the tips on how to remove stains from your area rugs.

Primary Area Rug Care

Your rug’s size, construction, and fabric will determine the best and safest way to clean it. Below is the care routine that you can follow for cleaning and maintaining small or bigger area rugs.

Remove dirt from large area rugs using a vacuum

Just like how you maintain your carpet, frequent vacuuming is the most essential area rug cleaning step that you should take. If you have a reversible rug, ensure to vacuum both sides. This is an effective way of removing grit and grime that can wear out your rug sooner. Make sure not to vacuum your rug’s fringe or tangle its long fibers by turning off the vacuum’s beater bar.

Remove pet hair by brushing them out

Sometimes, a vacuum leaves pet hair behind. To remove the hair, use a stiff brush and remember to stroke the brush according to the direction of the rug’s nap.

Decrease stress from your rugs by turning them once or twice a year

Turn your rug every year to even out the wear and tear caused by foot traffic and sun exposure.

Remove dirt from small area rugs by shaking them

If you have smaller rugs, you can take them outside of your house and shake or beat them vigorously to get rid of dirt and grit. But before doing this, ensure to check your community’s ordinance about shaking rugs outdoors.

Area Rug Cleaning Guide: Material-by-Material

Special types of are rugs also require special and specific cleaning care. For easy reference, file away the care tags when you buy new rugs. Deep cleaning and shampooing your rugs can be tricky, so pay close attention to the care instructions. The following tips,  suggestions, and care instructions can help you take care of your specialty rugs. But if you are not confident to clean them on your own, you can always rely on rug dry cleaning companies who know exactly how to deal with all types of area rugs.

Cleaning Woven or Braided Rugs

Before cleaning this kind of area rug, check the labels first to determine if the woven rugs are washable. If they are safe to wash, place them in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase before throwing them in the washing machine filled with cold water, and set on a gentle cycle. Use a low setting if you will tumble dry your rug.

For larger braided rugs, you can use a sponge and carpet-cleaning foam to wash them. Brush and rub them in the product’s directions and rinse or vacuum after. Dry them thoroughly before storing or putting it back on the floor.

Cleaning Hand-knotted, Oriental, and Antique Area Rugs

Persian and antique runners are the common rug options for kitchens. Vacuuming them is possible, but special care must be used as their fabrics are usually delicate and sensitive. You can place a nylon screen over them before vacuuming to protect them. Vintage and antique rugs must be cleaned by professional rug cleaning services at least once a year to preserve its intricate design and fabric.

Cleaning Natural-Fibered Area Rugs

Rugs made from coir, rush, grass, or sisal materials typically feature an open weave, which allows dirt and grit to sift through to the floor underneath. As they are customarily used as welcome mats or mudroom rugs, vacuuming them and the floor beneath regularly is a must.

Cleaning Sheepskin, Hair-on Hides, and Fur Area Rugs

To clean these kinds of area rugs, pour unscented talcum powder on them and leave for some hours. Brush the powder through the fur or hair and shake it out. Depending on the fur’s length, repeat these steps several times. Use a piece of clean cotton fabric or cloth and dip it in lukewarm soapy water to clean the back of your rugs.

Deep-Cleaning Area Rugs

Consult first the care labels to check if it is safe to dry-clean, spot-clean, launder your area rugs. Even though it is recommended to get your area rugs deep-cleaned every twelve to eighteen months, it is still best to determine if cleaning them using home equipment will not ruin or damage their fabrics or designs.

For safer and better results, use the primary care listed above to clean your rugs regularly and have them cleaned by the experts annually. Check out the rug cleaning services offered in your area to estimate and budget for your area rug cleaning cost.

Removing Stains from Area Rugs

When your area rugs become stained, remember that time is of the essence. Do not rub the stain, just blot them and remove the spills’ moisture as fast as you can.

Alcohol, soda, coffee, or tea – Use a mixture of 1 tsp. of liquid dish detergent, a quarter of warm water, and 1/4 tsp. of white vinegar. Apply the solution to the stain, rinse, and blot it dry. You can also try using a spot carpet cleaner available commercially.

Butter, margarine, and gravy – For fat-based stains, you can apply a commercial dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner.

Gum – Remove the stain by peeling off what you can. Harden the remaining gum by placing a plastic bag with ice cubes on top of the rug. Once hardened, scrape the gum using a knife.

Paint – Use a sponge with odorless mineral spirits to remove oil-based paint. For latex or acrylic paint, clean the stain using a detergent solution. Use rubbing alcohol if the color remains.

Vomit, urine, and feces – To remove these stains, apply a detergent mixture or a citrus-oxygen cleaner to your rug. Rinse and blot it until it gets dry.

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