How to Clean and Care for Area Rugs
Purchasing an area rug can be a costly investment so chances are you won’t want to replace it very often. However, a tattered or stained rug can make your whole home look dingy and un-inviting. From weekly vacuuming maintenance on basic area rugs to deep cleaning antique rugs, here are some tips on how to keep your rugs in tip top shape and keep your home feeling inviting and warm.

Area Rugs – Basic Care

  • Vacuum your area rugs just as often as you vacuum your carpet or sweep your hard floors. This eliminates dirt and grime that can ruin the rugs before you’ve even had a chance to really enjoy them. Be careful not to suck up any rug fringe with the vacuum as this could damage the fringe. Also note that some vacuum cleaners will have a rug setting, which basically stops the rollers from spinning and just uses the suction part of the vacuum to remove the dirt.
  • Brush out any hair. Whether it’s hair on a bathroom rug or pet hair on the living room area rug it’s possible (and even probable) that the vacuum will miss the hair. Brush in the same direction as the nap.
  • Rotate the area rugs a couple of times per year. Traffic and sunlight can add more stress on them which could wear out one side of the rug before the other.
  • If you have smaller rugs, take them out back and give them a good shake to remove the dirt and grime.

Specialty Care

Some area rugs require special care. Following the cleaning instructions on the tag of the rug is always your best option, but if your area rug doesn’t have instructions, you can follow these steps:

  • Fur or Sheepskin Area Rugs. Shake talcum powder onto the rug. Let it sit for a few hours. Brush it through the fur or hair and then take it out back and shake it out. If the fur is very long, you may need to repeat the process until you feel it is clean enough.
  • Braided Area Rugs. Put a blanket or towels down on concrete or a vinyl floor. Put the rug on top of the blanket. Using a commercial carpet cleaning solution, sponge it onto the rug and rub it in. Rinse the rug with water and place it on dry blankets or towels until it is completely dry.
  • Handmade or Antique Area Rugs. Place nylon screen over the rug. Using a vacuum attachment, vacuum over the screen. If you’re at all hesitant about cleaning your rug, talk with an antique dealer or the rug manufacturer (if possible) to get additional tips on how to properly care for your antique rug.

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning area rugs at least once a year is a good way to keep them in the best shape possible. When you make a list of things to do for spring cleaning, don’t forget to put the area rugs on the list. To deep clean the area rugs, first look for a care label. If it gives instructions on deep cleaning care, follow those directions. If not, follow these steps:

  1. Using a commercial cleaning product, test a small inconspicuous area of the rug to see if it is colorfast.
  2. Just like the specialty care for braided rugs, place the rug on a hard surface that can get wet and clean it with the commercial cleaning product, assuming it is safe for the fabric.
  3. Rinse the rug with clear water.
  4. Let the area rug dry thoroughly.
  5. Vacuum the rug.
  6. If the label says to get the rug dry cleaned, be sure to go that route so that you will not damage your rug trying to do it yourself.

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