How to Clean Area Rugs

How to Keep Area Rugs Clean.

Tips for 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

Remember to always check the care instructions before you start cleaning your area rugs. It’s best to follow those instructions first but if the tag is missing, you can follow these tips.

Frequent Vacuuming Is Key

To keep your area rugs clean, vacuum often.

  1. For smaller area rugs, bring them outside first to shake them out as best you can.
  2. To help freshen and neutralize any odors, sprinkle a little baking soda over the surface of the rug prior to vacuuming.
  3. To properly vacuum area rugs, remove all furniture from them and vacuum to remove surface dirt. Use gentle suction as too much can damage the fibers. Start from the center of the rug and work your way to the edge, avoid vacuuming fringe if there is any.
  4. Next, flip the rug over and vacuum the back of the rug.
  5. If the rug is large and cannot be flipped, roll up the edges and vacuum the underside of rug and floor.
  6. 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 or once a month.

Improper Cleaning Can Ruin the Rug

People trampling all over 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 the Special Rugs

Your mom might have taken her rugs out back, hung them on a clothesline, and beaten them but you shouldn’t if they are very expensive or special. The only rugs you should beat are inexpensive rugs.

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 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.

If you run the vacuum over fringe, 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, fray 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 Overuse Carpet Shampoos or Sprays

Carpet shampoos can end up attracting more dirt as it can be hard to remove all cleaning solution and carpet shampooing machines (especially ones with several brushes) can do damage to your area rugs. If you must clean heavily soiled rugs, take them outside so you don’t damage the flooring.

Carpet stain sprays can discolor area rugs, use a gentle stain solution. If you do try and remove stains, always test the stain remover in an inconspicuous spot first and only when necessary.

It’s best to have your area rug professionally cleaned if overly stained and dirty.

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.

Basic Stain Removal Steps

  1. Place a clean towel or cloth underneath the rug.
  2. Use paper towels or a dry, clean towel and blot the stain.
  3. Repeat this until you’ve gotten as much of the spill as you can.
  4. From the top, dip a cloth or towel in a little club soda or cold water.
  5. Ring it out well so it’s only damp. Blot the stain and follow by blotting with a dry towel.

For Coffee, Tea, Soda or Alcohol Stains

Mix together 4 cups warm water, 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap. Add dish soap last and gently mix.

For Gravy, Butter and Other Fatty Stains

Spot clean with a dry solvent cleaner.

Follow the steps above and use these solutions if Step 5 doesn’t get the stain out.

If the stain remains, you may want to call a professional.

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 legs rest.

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 as well.

The more you baby your area rug, the longer you can enjoy its beauty!