How to Clean Your Rug in 6 Easy Steps

How to clean your area rug
Uh-oh! Better clean that rug! But learn how here.

Imagine this: you’ve just purchased a gorgeous oriental rug. You take it home and carefully select an area in your family room that will make for the perfect place for it. Every day it catches your eye with its beautiful simplicity. A few weeks later you decide to host a party. Everything’s going great until one of your guests accidentally spills her red wine, right onto your brand new rug!

Don’t panic because we’ve complied a few simple tips to help you avoid disaster when the unthinkable happens and ways to clean and care for it when it doesn’t.

Here are 6 helpful tips for cleaning your rug:

1)      Always treat stains immediately
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t let a spill ruin the beauty of your rug by letting it set in. Treat it as soon as it happens and save yourself from frustration later. So, when a spill happens, simply wipe or scrape off any excess (like in the case of ketchup or spaghetti sauce). Then, grab a white cotton towel and use it to blot up the liquid, starting from the outside and working towards the center. Press down to soak up the liquid and remember to run the towel in straight lines across the affected area. DO NOT rub the stain in a circular motion – this can permanently damage it’s fibers. For tougher stains such as red wine, use a combination of equal parts mild dish soap and 10% hydrogen peroxide and use the same towel procedure described above.

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2)      Steer clear of treatments and shampoos
For most cleaning jobs, a rug shampoo or carpet cleaner is completely unnecessary. Most of these treatments are meant for synthetic, wall-to-wall carpeting and not for area rugs. If you feel you’ve got a tough stain or you must use cleaning treatment, test a small area first and apply a damp towel to help keep colors from bleeding or running. Above all, always follow the instructions for cleaning found on its care label.

3)      Take care when vacuuming
To help ensure the freshness, flip it over and vacuum the back of it once a month using a rotating brush vacuum. This will help keep wool rugs looking new for a long time. For the front of the area rug, it’s best to only use suction as rotating brushes can suck up wool fibers and eventually weaken the rug’s surface. So, run your vacuum’s hose attachment over the front of the rug to help eliminate dirt and dust from the rug’s fibers without damaging it.

4)      Be careful with tassels or fringe
It’s generally not recommended that you vacuum their tassels. The tassels can be sucked up into the vacuum’s brushes and become tangled. Once you’ve vacuumed both sides, simply use your hand to fluff the tassels back up and rearrange them to their normal positions.

5)      Rotate and rearrange for a longer life
Each time you clean them, consider either turning it to help cut down on wear in a particular spot (kind of like flipping a mattress) or swapping it out for a different rug altogether. By moving or rearranging them from one part of your home to another, you’ll not only extend it’s lifespan but you’ll also help keep your home’s décor feeling fresh. When it comes time to store them, resist the temptation of rolling or folding them. This will create creases and wrinkles, especially with ones with a more delicate fabric. If possible, always hang or lay them flat when storing them.

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6)      Always follow the instructions
Above all, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when cleaning or caring for your rug. Don’t ignore the tag on the back of your floor covering or the information that came with it when it was purchased. The maker knows what the best care techniques are for that particular item, so when all else fails, it’s best to heed their instructions. If you’ve lost their tags, don’t hesitate to contact the store where you purchased it with any questions.

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