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Your Guide to Caring for Rugs

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After a while, a rug needs to be cleaned with more than just a vacuum. Dirt and dust will collect deep into an area rug where a vacuum just can’t reach. Luckily, there are several solutions to getting those pesky dirt particles out of your favorite rug. After all, area rugs are an investment for your space and must be handled with care. Depending on the type of rug, it’s important to take special precautions so as not to damage them. Here are several ways to clean your rugs and maintain them for many years to come.

Supplies Needed To Clean A Rug

Before you get started, there are a few things you’ll need:

  • Rug shampoo or mild liquid dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Vacuum
  • Soft-bristle brush or sponge
  • Wet-dry vacuum Or squeegee

How To Clean An Area Rug

Step 1) Vacuum Your Rug

Vacuum the topside and bottom of the rug. Collect as much loose dirt and debris as you can. If you have pets, use a brush attachment to collect any lingering pet hair.

Step 2) Outside Cleaning

Take the rug outside and prop it up against a railing or fence. Hit the rug with a broom to release any more dirt or dust that might be trapped — you want to hit the rug until there’s no more dust coming out of it. If your rug has a latex backing, hit it gently so you do not destroy the latex.

Step 3) Shampoo Your Rug

There are several cleaning products you can use to clean your rug. Also, look for what the rug manufacturer recommends for cleaning. But, whichever brand of shampoo you use, follow their specific directions for optimal cleaning. If rug shampoo isn’t an option, you can use dish soap or detergent, preferably mild formulas. Mix the detergent with warm, but not hot, water as hot water can shrink or fade the rug’s colors.

Before you begin scrubbing, spot test the shampoo in a corner to make sure it doesn’t bleed the rug’s colors. If the colors begin to bleed, take the rug to a dry cleaner.

If the colors don’t bleed, rinse the rug completely and begin to scrub. For scrubbing, use a soft bristle brush and work the solution into the rug.

Step 4) Rinse Your Rug

Let the rug sit with the shampoo for five to 10 minutes before rinsing it off. Hose off the remaining solution until the water runs clear and no suds remain.

Step 5) Remove Excess Water

To completely remove any remaining water, use a wet-dry vacuum if you have one. If there isn’t one available, a squeegee will work. Make sure to squeegee in the direction of the nap (fibers).

Step 6) Dry Your Rug

After removing all excess water from your rug, let it dry outside. If leaving outside isn’t an option, a garage, or laundry room will work just as well. Let the rug lay completely flat on one side and allow it to dry completely. This may take up to 24 hours, but be patient with it. After one side is dry, flip it over and allow the other side to air out. Rushing the drying process can lead to mold growing in parts of the rug.

Step 7) Vacuum Again

Place the rug back in its original position and vacuum one last time. You can also use a soft-bristled brush. This is done to loosen up the fibers in your rug that may have compacted during the scrubbing phase. 

You’re all done and can enjoy your clean area rug once more!

How To Clean A Wool Rug

A wool rug is handled similarly to a regular area rug, but more care and attention is needed to not damage the wool fibers.

Supplies Needed

  • Vacuum
  • Sponge
  • Laundry detergent made for wool
  • Buckets
  • Broom
  • Towels

Step 1) Vacuum Your Rug

Just like a standard rug, vacuum both sides of your rug to remove any loose dirt and dust. If your vacuum has a beater bar, remove it, if possible, as to not damage the wool fibers.

Step 2) Outside Cleaning

Take your rug outside and hit it with a broom. This is done to remove dirt and dust that are trapped in the fibers. Hit the rug until there are no remaining dirt and dust clouds.

Step 3) Wash Your Rug

Before washing your rug, slide your hand over the rug toward the soft direction. Make sure to wash the rug in the direction of the soft side. Also, it’s important to use a damp sponge rather than a soaked sponge as too much moisture can damage the rug’s fibers.

Mix a bucket of cold water with a teaspoon of laundry detergent made for wool. Dampen the sponge in the detergent solution and test it on a corner of the rug. If the colors bleed, take the rug to a dry cleaner. If they don’t bleed, continue to carefully wash the rug in small sections.

Step 4) Rinse Your Rug

With a second bucket of cold water, dab the rug lightly, being careful not to soak the rug completely. Rinse away any remaining soap suds. Any soap left behind will attract mold.

Step 5) Air Dry

Let the rug dry completely before moving it back to its original place. To speed up the process, you can hang the rug or elevate it for better air circulation.

Area Rug Maintenance

There are several ways to keep your rugs looking fresh and clean. Properly maintaining your rugs regularly preserves their lifetime and color. Here are some ways to keep them looking spotless.

Shake Out Your Rugs

Give your rugs a good shake once a month to loosen dirt and dust that has become embedded in the fibers. If the rug is too large to hold, you can roll it up and carry it outside to be dusted. Use a broom to beat out the dirt until there are no more dust clouds.

Vacuum Regularly

After removing the hard to get dirt and debris, use the vacuum cleaner to pick up the rest. Regular vacuuming should be done once or twice a month. If the rug is in a high foot traffic area, you may want to vacuum weekly.

Address Those Stains

Tackle stains before they linger too long. If you missed a stain, there’s still a way to remove it. Blot the stain with stain remover and then rinse. Avoid scrubbing the stain as it can damage the fibers of the rug and lead to more problems.

If treated well, your rug can last for generations. Your rugs are more than just an accent to a room, but an anecdote of your family’s history. It may be where your child took their first steps or your pet’s favorite spot to nap. By providing proper care, rugs can last a lifetime. To some, it may be a rug, but to a family, it can hold memories for decades to come.
Now that you’re equipped to properly care for your rugs, you’ll need a place to put them! If you’re looking for a new home, contact us today. Our expert home builders can show you plenty of custom floor plans and model homes to help you turn your dreams into reality.