Basic Care of Your Area Rugs
A rug’s size, its construction, and the materials from which it’s made will all determine the best way to clean it. Most rugs should be cleaned similar to the way you clean your carpets, which means that most area rugs benefit from the following care routine:
- Vacuum large area rugs to remove dirt: As with carpet, regular vacuuming is the most important cleaning step you can take. If a rug is reversible, remember to vacuum both sides. Vacuuming removes grit and grime that can prematurely wear out your rug. But be careful not to vacuum any fringe edges, and be sure to disable the ‘beater bar’ when vacuuming a shag rug to prevent tangling those long fibers.
- Brush out pet hair: A vacuum will sometimes leave pet hair behind; just use a stiff brush to remove the hair, and always brush in the direction of the nap of the rug.
- Turn rugs every year: Turn your rugs once or twice per year to even out the wear from foot traffic (wear and tear) and sunshine (fading).
- Shake small area rugs: If your rug is small enough, you can take it outside and shake it or beat it vigorously to remove the dirt and grit.
How to Remove Different Types of Stains from Rugs
Time is always of the essence when a rug becomes stained. Please remember to blot (not rub!) the stain and try to remove moisture from spills as quickly as possible.
- Alcohol and soft drinks: Mix together 1-quart warm water, 1 tsp liquid dish detergent, and 1/4 tsp white vinegar. Apply to the stain, then rinse and blot dry.
- Coffee or tea: Use the detergent mix above. Apply to the stain, rinse, and blot dry. 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: First peel off whatever you can. Next, put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and place on top of the remaining gum to harden it. You should then be able to scrape the gum off with a spoon or dull knife. Afterward, vacuum and use a dry-solvent spot cleaner if needed.
- Paint: For acrylic and latex paint, spot-clean with the detergent solution while the paint is still wet. If color remains, dab with rubbing alcohol. For oil-based paint, sponge with odorless mineral spirits, being careful not to allow it to soak through to the backing.
- Tomato sauce: Sponge up the sauce with cool water, then dab with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse with a solution of 1-cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water. Blot until dry.
- Urine, feces, and vomit: Apply detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner, rinse, and blot until dry.
- Melted wax: Use the same treatment as gum, hardening it with ice cubes in a plastic bag and scraping. Then dampen a clean white cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and blot to remove any wax residue.
We hope these tips will help you care for the rugs in your home so that you can enjoy them for many years to come! Do you need help choosing area rugs or any other design elements for your home’s interior spaces? Give the team at AHT Interiors a call at (770) 887-7612.