Area rugs add warmth and coziness to a room, especially those with tile or hardwood floors. However, as area rugs are often integrated into high-traffic areas, they may succumb to a buildup of dirt, dust, and grime. Proper rug care is determined by material, construction, and size. When deciding on the best way to clean your area rugs, keep these tips in mind.
1. Remove Loose Debris
Area rugs are easier to clean than wall-to-wall carpeting due to their portability. Before you dive into deep cleaning an area rug, take it outdoors and shake it out well. Shaking will remove a majority of loose dirt, dust, and debris that has settled in between the fibers. Finish by vacuuming the rug to remove any excess crud. Use caution when vacuuming over delicate bindings and fringes.
2. Test for Colorfastness
Whether you’re using natural cleaners or store-bought formulas, testing for colorfastness is a must. Some cleaning ingredients have been found to discolor certain fabrics. By testing for colorfastness, you can avoid ruining your area rugs. To test a cleaning solution, apply a small amount on a corner of the rug. If the colors don’t run, it’s probably safe to use.
3. Tackle Stubborn Stains
Stains are a common occurrence in area rugs. While most can be easily removed if you clean it right away, stains allowed to sit may require additional measures. Choose a stain removal product based on the material of the rug and the type of stain. No matter the type of stain, start with the same basic steps. Blot the stain from the outside working inwards, and then rinse with water. Repeat these steps if necessary. Don’t rub or scrub the rug as this can ruin the fibers.
4. Clean Based on Material
Area rugs should be deep cleaned at least once per year or more often if you have pets or young children. Determine the best course of rug cleaning based on the material. Delicate area rugs should be hand washed, while small, durable braided or woven rugs may be put in a washing machine inside a mesh laundry pouch on gentle cycle. Natural fiber rugs like sisal or jute should be cleaned using minimal water and a gentle cleaner.
5. Dry Sufficiently
Be sure to dry your area rugs sufficiently. After it has been washed, gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Lay the rug flat to dry and flip it over once the top has dried to allow the bottom to dry. Direct a fan at the area rug to quicken the drying process or place the rug out in the sun. When a rug is left wet too long, you risk mold and mildew growth.
6. Loosen Compacted Fibers
Over time, walking on an area rug can cause the fibers to become flat and compacted. Use a vacuum attachment or soft-bristle brush to loosen the rug fibers gently. Brush the fibers in an upward motion so that the rug looks fluffy and new again.
7. Hire a Professional
If you’re dealing with set-in stains or ground-in dirt, seek the assistance of a professional carpet cleaner like Embassy Cleaners. Expert area rug cleaning can help maintain your home’s appearance and extend the life of your rugs.