How to Clean Your Area Rugs


A welcoming area rug is the key element of a room. It’s an easy way of styling up a room. Available in a variety of colours, patterns and sizes, area rugs play a vital role in adding a personality to any space.


Regular care and maintenance are necessary to keep area rugs looking like new. Failing to do so can invite dust, dirt, odours, and stains to ruin them. It’s essential to follow a cleaning and maintenance routine to prevent them from aging prematurely.
Today’s post discusses how to clean your area rugs properly without damaging their beauty.

Steps to Clean Area Rugs


Check the Label

First, check to see if your area rug has a care label. If it does, read it before attempting to clean it at home to ensure you don’t damage the material. The label will let you know if you need to take any special cleaning considerations or avoid cleaning it entirely. For instance, if the rug has a jute backing, it’s best not to clean it at home as drying it completely will be difficult. Also, if not done properly, it can develop mould or mildew that can emit a foul smell.

Vacuum Thoroughly

The first thing to do while cleaning your area rug is to vacuum it thoroughly on both sides. Use the brush attachment to clean the fibres first and then vacuum the other side to remove lingering dust on the rug. Don’t vacuum the fringe or else it can get damaged.

Brush Out Pet Hair

If you have pets in your home, then it’s likely your area rug is filled with pet hair. Sometimes, the vacuum leaves pet hair behind. Therefore, use a stiff-bristled cleaning brush to remove pet hair from the fibres by brushing in the direction of the rug’s nap.

Choose a Mild Cleaner

When looking to clean your area rugs at home, choose the right product. It’s vital that you use a product designed specifically for the material you are dealing with to prevent it from getting damaged. Read the instructions from the manufacturer to know what type of cleaner can be used.

Test for Colour Fastness

A colour fastness test is necessary to ensure that your rug is safe to be washed with a cleaner or shampoo. Mix 2-3 capfuls of mild dishwashing soap in a bucket of lukewarm water. Apply the solution on a small area of your rug and watch carefully for signs of discolouration or colour change. If the colour remains intact, then you can go ahead with the washing.

Saturate the Rug

If you’re dealing with a large area rug, your best bet is to take it outside. Using a garden hose, saturate it before applying cleaner all over it. If you don’t have a hose, use multiple buckets of water.
If you can’t clean it outside, place the rug in the middle of your shower area and saturate it using your showerhead. If the carpet is too big for your shower area, roll it and wash it in sections.

Wash with a Cleaning Solution

To wash your area rug properly, you can use a store-bought cleaner/shampoo or make your own cleaning solution by mixing liquid dishwashing soap into a bucket of warm water. Don’t use hot water or else it will make the rug shrink. Apply the cleaning solution on the rug and use a sponge or a soft-bristled brush to work it deep into the fibres. Scrub with care so that the intricate design doesn’t get damaged. Let the solution sit for a few minutes.

Spot Clean Stains

If you’re dealing with a stained section on your area rug, put a placemat or plastic tablecloth beneath the affected part to protect the surface beneath. Spot cleaning is a great way to get rid of stains caused by food or dirt.
For this, make a solution of two cups of warm water with one teaspoon of mild detergent. Spread this solution on the stained area using a brush with soft bristles. Let the solution sit on the stained area for 10 minutes and then blot the stain and water with a clean cloth. Next, wash the same cloth with clean water and blot the same areas again to get rid of any soap residue left behind.
If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn stain, make a solution of oxygen-based bleach and warm water and apply directly to the stained areas. Let the solution sit for about one to two hours and you will notice that the stain has lightened.

Rinse Properly

Take a garden hose and rinse the cleaning solution from the rug. Keep rinsing until the water is clear of soapy suds. Use a squeegee to remove excess water by moving in the direction of its nap. But, be careful with the fibres while doing so.

Let it Dry

Keep your rug in your garage or laundry room for a protected drying. It can take more than a day or two for your rug to become completely dry. Once the top side becomes dry, flip it onto the bottom side so it can dry as well. Finally, vacuum the rug once again to loosen the flattened fibres and restore its appearance.
Follow these steps to clean your area rugs without damaging the fibres, colours and fringes. Don’t forget to turn the rug once or twice every year to even out the wear.

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