Home Home Improvement How to Clean an Area Rug Properly

How to Clean an Area Rug Properly

by Altaf Shaikh
How to Clean an Area Rug Properly

Do you have an area rug that’s looking a little worse for the wear? Are you wondering how to clean it?

Cleaning an area rug is often a little more complicated than throwing it in the washing machine. So, how do you clean an area rug?

Check out this guide to learn how it’s done!

Basic Maintenance 

While your rug will need a good deep clean every once in a while, you should also be performing some basic maintenance to make sure that your rug stays in top shape. You’ll want to:

  • Vacuum your rug once per week to remove dirt. If the rug is reversible, vacuum both sides
  • Use a stiff brush to remove pet hair, making sure to brush in the direction of the rug’s nap
  • Turn your rug every year to prevent one area from being overexposed to sunlight and foot traffic

If your area rug is small enough, you can also shake it out to remove dirt and grime. But, keep in mind that some areas have ordinances when it comes to shaking out rugs, so make sure to check your local codes first.

Look at the Material 

In order to clean your area rug properly, you need to first look at the material. Different materials require different cleaning methods. Here’s what to keep in mind when cleaning each material:

Braided or Woven Rugs 

For braided or woven rugs, you’ll first want to check the rug for stitching breaks. You should also check for stitching breaks after you’re done cleaning.

You’ll want to check the label of your rug to see if it’s washable. If the rug is washable, place it in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase. Then, wash your rug on the gentle cycle in cool water.

Rinse the rug thoroughly, then tumble dry it on a low setting. If your rug has large braids, place it on a concrete or vinyl floor and place an old blanket underneath it. Then, dab a carpet cleaning foam all over the rug using a sponge.

Either rinse off the spray or vacuum it up. Then, dry your rug thoroughly before placing it back on the floor.

Rush, Grass, Sisal, or Coir Rugs 

Rugs that are made from fibers like rush, grass, sisal, or coir need to be vacuumed frequently, as they feature an open weave that allows dirt to easily sift in from beneath.

You should also remove the rug completely to vacuum the floor beneath every once in a while. These rugs are typically reversible, so don’t forget to vacuum the other side as well.

If your rug has discolorations or stains, pat them with a soft brush that’s been dipped in soapy water. Then, blot the stain dry. You can let the rug air dry, or use a blow dryer or portable fan to speed up the drying process.

Also, keep in mind that many natural-fiber rugs are made of smaller squares that are woven together. It’s a good idea to buy a smaller size of the rug or a few extra squares of it.

This way, if a part of the rug experiences irreversible damage, you can clip a piece off from the smaller rug and sew it on. You can use heavy-duty carpet thread to stitch the new piece in place.

Antique, Oriental, or Persian Rugs 

Antique, Oriental, and Persian rugs are popular options for high-traffic areas, so your rug may need some extra attention when cleaning.

If your Oriental rug is new, you’ll want to vacuum it as you would regular carpet. If you have a delicate antique or vintage rug, you’ll want to use special care when cleaning.

Protect the rug from damage by first placing a nylon screen over it and holding the screen down with bricks before vacuuming. You can also place a piece of nylon mesh over the vacuum attachment to clean it.

These types of rugs should also be professionally cleaned once per year. It’s also very important to remember to rotate these rugs once per year to ensure even wear.

When shopping for antique rugs, learn as much as you can about the rug’s construction and fiber content before purchasing. You’ll also want to ask the seller for care tips.

Sheepskin, Fur, and Hair-On-Hide Rugs 

Sheepskin, fur, and hair-on-hide rugs can be cleaned with talcum powder.

First, shake unscented talcum powder on the rug and leave it there for several hours. Then, brush the talcum powder through the rug’s hair, and then shake out the rug.

Depending on the length of the fur, you may want to repeat this process several times. You can use a clean cotton cloth dipped in soapy water to clean the back of the rug.

Deep Cleaning Your Rug 

If your rug is still in need of an extra-deep clean, consult the care label to see whether it needs to be spot-cleaned, laundered, or dry-cleaned.

If a rug says it’s dry-clean only, this may indicate that the rug is not colorfast, and therefore, should never be spot cleaned. To test whether or not a rug is colorfast, pat a small piece of the rug with a clean, wet cloth. If the color bleeds onto the cloth, then the rug isn’t colorfast.

You can also pick up a Safe-Dry rug cleaning solution if you don’t want to take it to the dry cleaners.

If your rug is machine washable, make sure to wash it on a delicate cycle. It’s best to hang rugs out to dry, but if this isn’t possible, you can tumble dry your rug.

How to Clean an Area Rug: Are You Ready to Clean Your Rug? 

Now that you know how to clean an area rug, it’s time to get started. Pretty soon, your rug will look brand new.

For more rug cleaning tips and tricks, be sure to check back in with our blog.

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