Rugs are a great piece of decoration. They can give an elegant and colorful appearance to every room. And, as any other implement in your house, it needs care, cleaning and (sometimes) emergency actions to save their beauty.
Rug care is determined by size, construction, and material. However, the first step to have is to limit how much dirt gets into the rug and then to procure a frequent cleaning process.
As with any carpet, if the rug covers a larger area, vacuum it 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.
Remember that sometimes, vacuums leave pet hair behind. You can use a stiff brush to remove the hair, brushing in the direction of the nap of the rug.
Take it out
If the rug is small enough, you can take it outside and shake it or beat it vigorously to remove dirt and grit. This is recommended for large rugs as well, because of the dust that collects in them may contribute to health problems—particularly asthma.
Cleaning according of your rug’s type
- Woven or braided rugs
- Check rugs for stitching breaks before and after cleaning.
- Check labels to determine whether small braided rugs are washable.
- If they are, place them in a zippered pillowcase or mesh laundry bag. Wash in cool water on a gentle cycle, rinsing thoroughly. Tumble dry on a low setting.
- Place large braided rugs on a vinyl or concrete floor or place an old blanket beneath them.
- Sponge commercial carpet-cleaning foam over the surface and rub it in according to the product directions. Finish by rinsing or vacuuming. Dry thoroughly before replacing the rug on the floor.
- Oriental rugs, handmade, hand-knotted or antique
- Vacuum a new Oriental rug as you would carpet and wool area rugs.
- Use special care with delicate vintage or antique rugs.
- Protect them from the vacuum by placing a piece of nylon screen over the rug and weighting it down with books or bricks.
- Vacuum over the screen.
- Have these rugs professionally cleaned once a year.
- Coir, sisal, rush, and grass rugs
- Vacuum frequently, removing the rug occasionally to vacuum the floor, as well.
- Many of these rugs are reversible; if so, flip every time you vacuum for even wear.
- To clean stains or discolorations on a room-size natural-fiber rug, leave it in place.
- Protect the floor beneath it with a plastic drop cloth and towel.
- Scrub the stains with a soft brush dipped in soapy water. Rinse with clear water.
- Place a towel over the wet area.
- Blot the cleaned spot as dry as possible.
- Use a portable fan or hair dryer to speed drying.
- Move small rugs to a protected table or counter to clean. Water weakens the fibers, so work quickly and dry thoroughly to extend the life of these rugs.
- Fur, sheepskin, and hair-on hides
- Shake unscented talcum powder on fur, sheepskin, and hair-on hide rugs and leave for several hours.
- Brush the talcum powder through the hair, then shake it out. Repeat this process several times, depending on the length of the fur.
- To clean the back of such a rug, use a clean cotton cloth dipped in lukewarm soapy water. Wipe off any dirt or spills.
- Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water and allow to dry completely before putting back in place.
Emergency actions: stains removal
There are a lot of causes for stains, and we can provide some emergency actions to remove them:
- Alcohol and soft drinks: Use a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent, 1 quart of warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply to the stain, rinse, then blot dry.
- Coffee or tea: Using the detergent mix above, apply to stain, rinse, and blot. If a stain remains, use a commercial spot carpet cleaner.
- Fat-based stains: For foods such as butter, margarine, or gravy, use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner.
- Gum: Peel off what you can, then put ice cubes in a plastic bag and harden the gum, scraping the gum off with a spoon or dull knife. Vacuum and use a dry-solvent spot cleaner if needed.
- Melted wax: Use the same treatment as gum, hardening it with ice cubes in a plastic bag and scraping. Dampen a clean white cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and blot to remove any remaining wax.
- Paint: For acrylic and latex paint, while the stain is still wet, spot-clean with the detergent solution. If color remains, dab with rubbing alcohol. For oil-base paint, sponge with odorless mineral spirits, being careful not to soak through to the backing.
- Tomato sauce: Sponge with cool water, dab with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse with a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water and blot until dry.
- Urine, feces, and vomit: Apply detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner, rinse, and blot until dry.
- Foot traffic, sun, and other factors use to wear the fabric of your rugs. Turn them once or twice a year to even out the wear.
- Some natural-fiber rugs are constructed in squares that are sewn together. Buy a few extra squares or a smaller size of the same rug. If a rug square becomes irrevocably stained, clip the threads that hold it in place and replace with a new square. Hand-stitch it in place with heavy-duty carpet threads.
Do you know any other way of cleaning rugs that we haven’t covered? Please let us know!