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area rug maintenance

Area Rug Maintenance

An area rug is a great way to tie a room together and make the room have style. However, they won’t do you any favors if they are looking tattered and dirty. Area rugs can get expensive, so its best to stay on top of them and not let the dirt get out of control. If there are specific recommendations for cleaning, stick to those. However, you can use the following tidbit of information and maintain them quite easily.

As we mentioned before purchasing an area rug can be a costly investment so chances are you won’t want to replace it very often. However, a neglected rug can make your whole home look unappealing. So let’s look at what it takes. From weekly vacuuming maintenance on basic area rugs to deep cleaning antique rugs. Here are some tips on how to keep your rugs in great shape and keep your home feeling inviting and warm.

Basic Area Rug Care

  • First thing is the most obvious….vacuum your area rugs just as often as you vacuum your carpet. Also, its important to sweep your hardwoods as often as you vacuum the rugs.  This eliminates dirt and grime that can very well ruin the rugs before you know it. Careful not to suck up any rug fringe. This could be costly to have fixed.  Also, note that some vacuum cleaners will have a rug setting. Basically, this stops the rollers from spinning and just uses the suction of the vacuum to remove the dirt.
  • Be sure to rotate the area rug a couple of times per year. We’ve all seen how one part of the rug can get a ton of wear while another part is safely out of reach from everyday foot traffic. This  heavy traffic and sunlight can add more stress on them which can wear out one side quicker than the other.
  • If you have smaller rugs, take them out back and beat them with a broom or handle to remove the dirt and grime. Or just give them a good shake.
  • Another thing is hair. Whether it’s hair on a bathroom rug or pet hair on the living room area rug it’s more than likely that the vacuum wont get out all of the hair; even after several passes. Simply brush the hair off with a carpet rake (brush).

Specialized Care for the Natural Fiber Area Rug

Not all rugs are made the same. Some area rugs require specialized care.  Always follow the cleaning instructions on the tag of the rug for best practices. If there are no instructions  just follow these basic steps. One of the best ways to take care of your wool, sheep skins, silk area rug is to make sure it stays clean in the first place. Although, we understand accidents happen to the best of us. This should be a simple as a cleaning schedule that you can maintain.

  • For an area rug made of wool, silk, fur, or sheepskin; shake talcum powder onto the rug. Let it sit for a few hours. Gently brush it through the fur or hair and then take it outside and shake it out. Depending on how long the fur is, you may need to repeat the process until you feel it is thoroughly cleaned.
  • If you have a handmade or antique area rug, use a little more caution. A little tip to add an extra layer of protection is to place a nylon screen over the rug. If you have an attachment  to your vacuum is this and brush over your rug gently. Remember, if you’re at all hesitant about cleaning your rug, talk with an antique dealer or the rug manufacturer (if possible).  If you need additional help and tips on how to care for your antique rug refer to a professional carpet cleaning service
  • For a braided area rug, put a blanket or towels down on on the floor. Put the rug on top of the blanket. Using a commercial carpet cleaning solution, sponge it onto the rug and rub it in. Rinse the rug with water and leave it on a dry blanket or hang until dry.


Deep Cleaning Time

Word of caution, if you’re using a store-bought rug shampoo, follow the instructions precisely before cleaning your rugs. Sometimes these cleaners can leave a soapy residue behind if not use and rinse correctly. I personally recommend making your own cleaner. A few squirts of liquid dish mixed with some rubbing alcohol into a bucket of warm water. Don’t use hot water as it could shrink and fade the rug. Test the solution in a small, inconspicuous area of the rug to make sure it’s colorfast. If the colors don’t run, it’s time to start cleaning

Using a sponge or a soft-bristled cleaning brush, apply the cleaning solution to the area rug and work it into a lather. Do not over saturate the rug. Allow the cleaner to sit on the rug for a few minutes to break any soil loose. Use a garden hose to rinse the rug off. Then use a wet/dry vacuum to remove as much water as possible from the rug. Leave the rug outside until it’s completely dry. Also, when your rug is ready to come back inside, be sure to sweep up the area where the rug will be put. It is best to make sure everything is cleaned before putting it back.

  • Using cleaning product specific for the material your area rug is made of, test a small inconspicuous area of the rug for colorfastness
  • Remember slightly dampen the rug and with a sponge or soft bristle brush work in the soapy solution gently as to not tear the rug fiber.
  • Rinse the rug as thoroughly as possible to get all of the soapy residue out. If this step isn’t done correctly you’ll find later on a tacky residue left behind. This in turn will cause dust, dirt, and debris to stick the the rug much easier. This means your rug will get dirtier quicker in the future.
  • Let the run dry out is the open air.
  • Then vacuum rug once you are certain it is complete dry. Job well done, Your rug is now clean!


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