Cleaning Area Rugs

Cleaning Area Rugs

Everybody has a weakness, mine is a long term commitment area rugs and endless cleaning routines to keep them fresh and pretty.

I simply can’t walk past a carpet shop without peeking in and dreaming how each would look in every room of my home. Some women have a shoe thing, my thing is carpets.

Because of my affinity for area rugs, I’ve built up a rather wonderful knowledge base on how to keep them spotless. Of course, keeping your woolen or synthetic rugs clean depends largely on what type of rugs you have at home.

Here’s an important cleaning tip – all rugs are not made equal. Certain area rugs require specialist treatment like Persian or Kelim.

If your home’s anything like mine – Sand, dirt and bits of the great outdoors make their way inside on the shoes of my friends and family members.

When accidents happen as they do, the best course of action is to clean your rug immediately, using the right agents to make sure color-fastness isn’t compromised. Most manufacturers have made their rugs stain-resistant, which gives you a head start.

Always do a thorough vacuum first before you attempt the washing routine and make sure all other areas of your home are clean too!

Soaking Up Spills:

Grab a paper towel (white) and put it on the spot where your coffee, juice or soft drink has fallen. Let it soak up the spill and resist the temptation to wildly stamp or mush it into your carpet.

After you have soaked up the spill on the top, put another towel on the rug and apply a little pressure with your foot to blot up as much liquid as possible, blotting until it’s fairly dry. If something solid has fallen on your rug, remove it using a knife or spoon and then towel it dry.

Excellent Recipe for Quick Spills on Woolen, Nylon and Synthetics:

  • 1t white vinegar
  • 1t mild detergent
  • A quart of warm water
  • Plastic squeeze container

The Cleaning Process:

Mix these ingredients together in a plastic squeeze container. Shake them up, and squeeze a little onto a white cloth. Clean the stain, following the direction of the pile – do not rub and scrub! Blot only. Rinse with clean water to remove any residue from the carpet. Once you’re finished use the paper towels to dry it well.

Dry Powder Cleaners:

I use dry powder cleaners because they’re particularly effective on low pile area rugs that are slightly dirty. The powder absorbs the dirt, and then it’s just a matter of a quick vacuum and your rugs look and smell sweeter. This is a quick way to keep your carpets clean all year round, especially when you don’t have time for a full steam or scrub down.

Steam Cleaning:

It’s not clean until it’s steam-clean. That’s why you need to buy a steamer if you want your carpets to look as radiant as they did on the day you bought them. I tried renting a steamer, but it left this horrid residue on my rugs, so be careful when buying or renting – its quality you want.

Fill your water tank with hot water (not boiling), and make sure its set for carpets. Add your carpet cleaner, and test a piece of carpet to check for residue deposits! Work from front to back. You can repeat the process if your carpet has just suffered from a family mud march, but don’t put in any more carpet cleaner, just let the brushes remove any remaining grit.

Make sure you empty the dirty water and fill the water tank when you need to. Let it dry before you start walking on it. I put my carpets out early in the morning, and by lunchtime on a sunny day, they’re dry. Steam cleaning also kills bacteria and mites, so it’s a win-win for hygiene in your home.

Cleaning Wool Rugs:

Woolen rugs need that extra bit of care when you’re cleaning them. They hate direct sunlight or exposure to heat, and should be treated gently to preserve their fluffiness.

Heat from water temperature or even exposure to sunlight will shrink wool so use cold water to clean.

Wool fibers are fragile, do not scrub or agitate.

Clean wool rugs with pH neutral cleaners such as woolite and dried quickly. Do not use bleach, ammonia or other alkaline products as they will damage the rug. Lay the rug flat to dry. Avoid exposure to sunlight.

That sums up how I clean my carpets. It always helps to keep the good ones away from walking paths in your home as well. Clean all of your rugs at least every 6 months, so that they stay fresh, colorful and beautiful. Even the oldest rug can look new if you give it some much needed attention.