Area rugs are an excellent accessory for any floor type. Not only do they add décor to the space, but they also add protection for the primary flooring. No matter why you chose to use area rugs ultimately, keeping them in optimal condition is important. If the room is immaculate and the rug dingy and spotty, it can turn the whole room down. With that in mind, we at Carpet Care 2000 would like to share an area rug cleaning guide in an effort to keep your rugs looking their best for as long as possible.
Basic Rug Care Tips
Larger rugs should be cared for like wall to wall carpeting, and most rugs can be treated according to the guide below. Whenever possible, leave the tags on the rugs and consult with them on appropriate cleaning. Periodically, no matter the type, the rugs should be deep cleaned and it is optimal to allow a professional to perform a deep clean on the rugs annually, or more frequently as needed.
Large Area Rugs: The best maintenance routine is to vacuum the rugs regularly. Vacuum both sides to avoid the dirt and grime from deteriorating the bottom of the rug in addition to the surface of the primary flooring. If your carpet features any fringe, avoid vacuuming them.
Small Area Rugs: Smaller rugs that can be easily manipulated should be taken outside and shaken as well as beat vigorously to remove the embedded grit and debris. Check your local ordinances to ensure doing so is within code.
Brush the Pet Hair Out: Brushing in the direction of the rug’s nap, use a stiff brush to remove the pet hair the vacuum was unable to extract.
Turn Rugs Annually: Direct sunlight piercing through windows and daily foot traffic causes wear and fade, turning them once or twice a year and if possible, rearrange the furniture once a year to create new foot traffic.
Types of Rug Materials & Specialty Cleaning Required
Specially made rugs require specific cleaning techniques, below you will find the basic methods for common types of rugs.
Woven or Braided Rugs: If the braided or woven rug’s label reads it is washable, place the rug in a zippered pillowcase or mesh laundry bag; set the washing machine to gentle cycle and cool water and allow the rinse cycle to complete before tossing it in the dry on a low tumble dry setting.
Handmade, Hand-Knotted, Antique and Oriental Rugs: Like wool rugs, Oriental rugs need to be vacuumed. To protect the rug, place a nylon screen on top of the rug or tie down some nylon mesh over the vacuum; change the mesh as it gets dirty. Professional cleaning is recommended once a year.
Natural Fiber Coir, Grass Rugs, Rush and Sisal Area Rugs: Natural fiber rugs such as these are weaved that allows dirt to sift through the primary flooring. Not only should you perform frequent vacuuming, but the rug needs to be removed and vacuumed underneath routinely as well. More often than not, these rugs are reversible, be sure to alternate sides every time you vacuum to even out the wear. To clean any stains, protect the primary floor with a plastic drop cloth or towel, scrub the stains with warm soapy water and a soft brush, and rinse with pure water. Blot the rug well to remove all excess moisture. Water weakens these rugs, be sure to expedite drying by placing portable fans around.
Fur, Hair-on Hides and Sheepskin Rugs: On hair-on hide rugs, fur, and sheepskin, generously shake unscented talcum powder on the surface and let it stand for several hours (just before bed). Brush the talcum powder through the hair, and then shake it out well; repeat as needed. The back of these rugs need be cleaned by using a clean cotton cloth dipped in lukewarm soapy water to wipe away any dirt or spots. Follow up with a new cloth and pure water to rinse the residues and allow it to dry completely before placing it on its back.
How to Remove Stains from Area Rugs
When stains impact your rugs, remember to tend them immediately. When treating them, never scrub or rub and never over saturate them.
Alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and soft drinks: Combine 1 tsp liquid dish detergent, 1 quart warm water, and 1/4 tsp of white vinegar in a squirt bottle. Apply to the stain, and blot the moisture, repeat until stain fades away, rinse with pure water and a damp cloth, then blot dry.
Fat-based stains: Use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner for foods such as gravy, butter, or margarine.
Gum and melted wax: Start by peeling off what you can. With the remaining gum or wax, place ice cubes in a plastic bag until it is melted to harden the gum. Once it is hard, scrape the gum or wax off with a spoon or dull knife. Vacuum the remnants and if there is any remaining residue, use a dry-solvent spot cleaner.
Paint: Spot-clean with the above formula for acrylic and latex paint, while the stain is still wet. In the event residue remains, dab clean with cotton balls moistened with rubbing alcohol. Lightly sponge an odorless mineral spirits or a citrus-oxygen cleaner on oil-base paint; be extremely careful not to soak through, rinse, and blot until dry.
Vomit, urine and feces: With either the above mentioned multipurpose cleaner or a citrus-oxygen cleaner, treat the stain by blotting clean, rinse, and dry.