We often take our area rugs for granted. They offer a soft touch underfoot while adding decorative detail to our bare hardwood floors. However, to keep them looking their best they require some TLC. Here we explain how to clean an area rug to make it look new again.
Confirm The Materials
Area rug cleaning should never begin until you know what the rug is made of. Using the wrong cleaning products or treatments on a wool or silk rug for example can completely ruin the fibers. Of course, it is difficult to know what materials were used unless you happen to have the original sticker on the back of the rug. Common materials for area rugs include:
- Woven or Braided Rugs
- Hand-Knotted, Antique, and Oriental Rugs
- Coir, Sisal, Rush, and Grass Rugs
- Fur, Sheepskin, and Hair-on Hides
When you aren’t sure about the materials, it’s best to call a professional rug cleaning service. They will know how to clean your area rug based on the materials and ensure the right methods and cleaning products are used to prolong the life and beauty of your rug. As well, professional cleaners always check for colorfastness to avoid damaging your rug.
Vacuuming removes dirt and debris that can dull your rug and damage the fibers. Depending on what your rug is made of, the fibers of the pile can collect grit and grime that make your rug look worn and old. Vacuuming both sides of your area rug helps remove more debris caught in the fibers as you also reach the older grit that’s been pushed down to the backing over time. If you have a shag area rug, you can only vacuum if your vacuum cleaner allows you to turn off the beaters. Otherwise, you’ll damage the long fibers — and possibly your vacuum — if the shag gets tangled on the beater.
Area Rugs And Pets
If you have pets, you’ll probably find the vacuum doesn’t completely remove the hair. A good rule of thumb is to vacuum first, then use a stiff brush to remove pet hair left behind. Follow the direction of the rug’s nap. Often the same brush you use on your pet can remove the hair from your rug. But again, you have to be careful as the wrong brush, or brushing too aggressively, can damage the pile. Professional cleaning removes grit, grime, and pet hair.
Tips On How To Clean Area Rugs
Not to sound like a broken record, but the type of materials used for the area rug and even the size dictates the proper, safe cleaning method. Here we offer some general tips to keep your rugs looking like new:
Rotate Your Rugs: Area rugs wear and fade due to foot traffic and sun exposure. To maintain even tone and color, you should rotate your rugs once a year, so the same areas aren’t constantly exposed to sun and foot traffic. This helps avoid obvious spots of discoloration and wear.
Shake Your Rugs: Area rugs of manageable size can be shaken every once in a while. Just take them outside and give them a vigorous shake to dislodge the grit. If you’re feeling extra energetic you can also hang them and beat them with a broom. Condo dwellers beware: Most HOAs frown on shaking rugs on balconies!
Spot Treat Stains: As soon as something is spilled, spot treat the stain. Always blot at the stain as rubbing ruins the pile while also forcing the stain further into the fibers. Alcohol, soft drinks, coffee, and tea can be removed using a mix of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent, 1 quart of warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Spritz some on the stain, blot away the stain, add a bit more of the cleaning solution if required, and then blot some more. A clean wet cloth can then be used to blot up the cleaning solution, and a final blot with a clean dry cloth removes excess moisture.
Pet Stains: Pets can ruin your area rugs quickly so be ready to remove their urine, feces, and vomit with an oxy pet stain remover. If you don’t catch it right away the smell and stain will be permanent.
These tips will help maintain the beauty of your rug in between professional area rug cleanings.
How To Clean An Area Rug Professionally
If you want your area rugs to look like new, they should be deep cleaned professionally every 12-18 months. Some rugs require more cleanings depending on use. Our professional area rug cleaning service is very thorough, following a proven cleaning technique that includes:
- An inspection of your rug for colorfastness of the dye
- Extraction of dry soil from the rug to remove all the debris caught in the foundation and fibers
- Full immersion in a mild conditioner
- Light agitation to remove soiling
- A rinse of the dirt and residues left behind from the conditioner
- Odor removal as required
- Moisture extraction
- Grooming of the knap
We also apply a professional-grade fiber protector that improves the durability and stain resistance of your rug. This is an important bonus for rug cleaning as it also helps make vacuuming easier. The fibers are smoother with the protector which helps resist grit and debris, so your area rugs become more resistant to not just stains but all types of soiling. This is also a must for pet owners.
Benefits Of Area Rug Cleaning
When it comes to area rug cleaning, regular professional cleaning is your safest bet. The benefits of area rug cleaning include:
- Extends the life of your carpet by protecting the pile from grit and grime
- Removes carpet stains you are unable to treat successfully at home
- Maintains a healthier living environment by removing allergens, pet hair and dander, and odors that can irritate allergies and asthma
- Avoids unpleasant and damaging residue left behind by rental and residential home carpet cleaners
- Removes deep-down soiling from high traffic areas
- Removes odors and mustiness from pets, spills, and dampness left behind from home carpet cleaning
- More effective and efficient than DIY area rug cleaning methods
- Ensures manufacturers’ warranties remain valid
Professional area rug cleaning is also convenient and makes your life easier.