Rugs can be beautiful additions to your home, but they can be expensive and sometimes delicate. It’s important to know how to clean and maintain them to protect your investment. These few tips can keep your rugs looking new for as long as possible. There are a few very common mistakes that people make when it comes to cleaning area rugs. These mistakes can end up subtracting years from the life of your rugs, and they should be avoided.
- The best way to keep your area rug looking its best is once a month flip it upside down and vacuum the back of the rug. It is okay to use a beater bar/rotating brush vacuum on the back of a wool rug, on the front it is recommended to only use suction. The beater bar/rotating brush sucks up the small fine wool fibers wearing away your wool rug. For synthetic area rugs it is fine to use the beater bar/rotating brush vacuum on the front and back of the rug.
- It is not advisable to vacuum fringes/tassels. When you run the vacuum over the fringes they get sucked into the beater bar of your vacuum. Use suction only using the upholstery brush if you have to vacuum the fringes.
- Be aware of carpet shampoos or sprays! Carpet shampoos are usually made for synthetic wall to wall carpet not area rugs. Always check the label before using any spot cleaners or rug shampoos. When you use a spotter or shampoo make sure you rinse it all out if there is any soap residue left in the rug it will attract dirt. ALWAYS TEST YOUR RUG WITH A DAMP WHITE COTTON TOWEL TO MAKE SURE THE COLORS WILL NOT RUN OR BLEED. 
- Make sure that you clean up spills or stains as as soon as they occur. Blot or scrape the spillage up depending on the type of spill. Blot, using a clean white 100% cotton dry towel and pressing down very hard from the outside towards the middle. Do this repeatedly, turning the folded towel over and over until you have absorbed as much moisture as possible. When you blot the spot move the towel in straight lines, NEVER RUB IN A CIRCLE, THIS CAN CAUSE PERMANENT DAMAGE TO YOUR RUG. If the spillage is milk care must be taken to rinse the area thoroughly with mild detergent and water to prevent souring of the residue. For red wine spills, use equal parts of 10% hydrogen peroxide and Dawn liquid dish soap apply to cotton towel and blot. Other types of soils such as sugar based drinks and greasy spills will require careful cleaning and rinsing with appropriate cleaners as well.
- To neutralize pet odors by mixing 1part white vinegar with 3 parts water and blot with white towel.
- Weekly vacuuming on both sides is ideal. If that’s not possible, you should do it at least once every two weeks.
- It is recommended that you rotate your rugs at least once a year. This means turning the rug end for end or 180 degrees. This helps the rug to wear more evenly. You may also rearrange furniture to change traffic patterns.
- Rugs should be rolled, not folded. When transporting in a moving van, a rolled rug should be placed on top of furniture and then have nothing heavier than a lampshade placed on top of the rug. Folding can cause permanent creases or wrinkles in your area rug.
- Rugs and carpets eventually get dirty. For the best possible clean get a professional area rug cleaner to do the job. Check to see if they are Woo Safe Approved company by going to http://www.woolsafe.org
- Another way that you can clean your carpet is by renting or purchasing a carpet cleaner/extractor. This type of machine will do a fairly good job of cleaning your carpet superficially, but because they don’t have the ability to actually steam the fibers, all of the stains and dirt may not be removed. These types of machines are made for synthetic wall to wall carpet or upholstery.
- When you use any type of spot removers always put the spotter on a white cotton and then blotting the spot. Putting the spotter on the rug can make removing the spot tougher or can make the spot into a stain, which is permanent.
- After you have removed a spill from your rug it needs to be dried as quickly as possible, a fan can aid in this.
- If your rug get really wet from a flood or other water source get it to a professional rug cleaner as quickly as possible to help prevent permanent damage to your area rug.
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Sources and Citations
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