Rugs: 3 Easiest Way to Clean Area Rugs

Area rugs not only add warmth, color, and pattern to your living space but also help define different zones within your home.

However, stains, and debris are often a concern, making it essential to know how to clean them effectively.

To clean an area rug, the first step is to determine its material.

This is crucial as different materials require specific cleaning methods and materials to prolong their lifespan. Our informative guide on area rug cleaning provides an overview of various types of rugs and offers helpful tips and instructions for cleaning and removing stains from area rugs.

Proper care

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Photo: Proper care for area rugs

Proper care depends on factors such as size, construction, and material.

For most area rugs, the following care routine is recommended:

Vacuum regularly: Similar to wall-to-wall carpet, regular vacuuming is crucial for area rugs.

If the rug is reversible, vacuum both sides to remove dirt and grime that can cause premature wear. Avoid vacuuming any fringe, and if you have a shag rug, turn off the beater bar to prevent tangling the long fibers.

Remove pet hair: Sometimes, vacuuming may not eliminate pet hair.

Use a stiff brush to brush out any remaining hair, following the direction of the rug’s nap.

Rotate the rug: Foot traffic and exposure to sunlight can cause uneven wear on area rugs.

To ensure even wear, rotate the rug once or twice a year.

Shake small area rugs: If the rug is small enough, you can take it outside and shake it vigorously to remove dirt and grit.

However, be aware of local ordinances regarding shaking rugs outdoors before doing so.

By following these basic care steps, you can keep your area rugs clean and well-maintained for longer periods.


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Photo: Deep-cleaning rugs

Deep-cleaning rugs require careful consideration of their care labels and specific cleaning instructions.

Here’s a guide on how to deep-clean rugs:

Consult care labels: Read the care labels on small rugs to determine whether they should be dry-cleaned, spot-cleaned, or laundered.

Note any dry-cleaning-only labels, as they may indicate that the rug is not colorfast. Perform a spot test before spot-cleaning to ensure the rug’s colors won’t bleed.

Machine-washable rugs: If a rug is determined to be washable, machine-wash it on a delicate cycle.

To prevent the tangling of a long fringe, divide it into several hanks and secure each one with a white string. Place the rug in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase to protect it from the agitator, and wash it in cold water on the gentle cycle.

Drying wet rugs: Hang wet rugs over a clothes-drying rack, a slatted picnic table, or bricks stacked on a porch, patio, or breezeway.

Avoid hanging them over a single clothesline, as it may distort the rug’s shape. Synthetic fiber rugs similar to carpeting can be laid flat to dry on a protected surface like a worktable or counter covered with a drop cloth, old sheets, or towels.

Deep cleaning with commercial products: Deep clean area rugs every 12-18 months using commercial cleaning products.

Before using a new product, test a small area of the rug to ensure it is colorfast and won’t cause damage. Place the rug on a vinyl or concrete surface and apply carpet-cleaning foam according to the instructions.

Rub it in and finish by rinsing or vacuuming. Make sure the rug is completely dry before placing it back.

Dry-cleaning option: For small to mid-size rugs, dry-cleaning might be a suitable option.

Check the care labels for specific instructions on dry-cleaning.

By following these guidelines, you can effectively deep-clean your rugs and keep them in good condition for years to come.

Removing stains

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Photo: Removing stains from rugs

When it comes to removing stains from rugs, acting quickly is essential.

Here are some tips for tackling specific stains:.

Alcohol and soft drinks: Create a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent, 1 quart warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon White Vinegar.

Apply it to the stain, rinse, and blot dry.

Coffee or tea: Use the detergent mixture mentioned above.

Apply it to the stain, rinse, and blot. If the stain persists, consider using a commercial spot carpet cleaner.

Fat-based stains: For stains from butter, margarine, or gravy, use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner.

Gum: Remove as much gum as possible by peeling it off.

Place ice cubes in a plastic bag and apply it to the remaining gum to harden it. Scrape off the gum with a spoon or dull knife.

Vacuum the area and use a dry-solvent spot cleaner if necessary.

Paint: For acrylic and latex paint stains, spot-clean with the detergent solution while the paint is still wet.

If any color remains, dab the area with Rubbing Alcohol. For oil-based paint, sponge the stain with odorless mineral spirits, being careful not to soak through to the backing.

Tomato sauce: Sponge the stain with cool water, then dab with the detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner.

Rinse with a mixture of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water, and blot until dry.

Urine, feces, and vomit: Apply the detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner to the stain, rinse, and blot until dry.

Melted wax: Follow the same method as for gum, using ice cubes to harden the wax before scraping it off.

Dampen a clean white cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and blot to remove any remaining wax.

Remember to blot the stains instead of rubbing them to avoid spreading the stain further.

With prompt action and the appropriate cleaning methods, you can effectively remove stains from your rugs.

*The information is for reference only.