Keep your area rugs looking their best by following these simple tips for basic care, deep cleaning, and stain removal. Plus, learn how to properly treat specific types of area rugs.
Rug care is determined by size, construction, and material. Care for large-size area rugs as you would wall-to-wall carpet.
Vacuum large rugs to remove dirt. As with carpet, the most important thing you can do for larger area rugs is to vacuum them regularly. If a rug is reversible, vacuum both sides. This removes grit and grime that can wear out your rug prematurely. Take care to not vacuum the fringe of your rug.
Brush out pet hair. A vacuum will sometimes leave pet hair behind. Use a stiff brush to remove the hair, brushing in the direction of the nap of the rug.
Turn rugs every year. Foot traffic and sun can put extra stress on area rugs. Turn them once or twice a year to even out the wear.
Shake small area rugs. If the rug is small enough, you can take it outside and shake it or beat it vigorously to remove dirt and grit. Some areas have ordinances about shaking rugs outdoors, so check your local codes.
Special types of rugs require special cleaning care. Keeping care tags on the rug or in a file can save you from costly mistakes. Follow these tips for taking care of specialty rugs.
Washing and drying small rugs. Consult care labels for small rugs to determine whether they should be dry-cleaned, spot-cleaned, or laundered. A dry-cleaning-only label might indicate that a rug is not colorfast. Test before spot-cleaning.
When you determine that a rug is washable, machine-wash it on the delicate cycle. To reduce the risk of tangling long fringe, divide the fringe into several hanks and wrap each one with white string. Place the rug in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase to protect it from the agitator, and wash in cold water on the gentle cycle.
Hang wet rugs over a clothes-drying rack, a slatted picnic table, or several bricks stacked on a porch, patio, or breezeway. Hanging a wet rug over a single clothesline will distort the shape of the rug as it dries. Small rugs made from synthetic fibers similar to carpeting can be laid to dry on a small worktable or counter that is protected by a drop cloth, old sheets, or towels.
Area rugs will benefit from a deep cleaning every 12" -18 months. When using commercial cleaning products for the first time, test a small area of the rug to ensure that it is colorfast and not otherwise damaged by the product. To thoroughly clean a large rug, place it on a vinyl or concrete surface and apply carpet-cleaning foam and rub in according to directions. Finish by rinsing or vacuuming. Make sure the rug is dry before replacing it.
Dry-cleaning might also be an option for small- to mid-size rugs -- check the labels for care instructions.
Time is of the essence when your rug becomes stained. Remember to blot -- not rub -- the stain and remove moisture from spills as quickly as possible.