Area rugs are a beautiful addition to your home, but after a while, the daily grind of (sometimes dirty) feet walking across them, pets having ‘accidents’ on them, and food or soda being spilled on them by mistake can turn your beautiful rug into a mess.

Luckily, unless your rug has had a serious mishap that can only be fixed by a professional carpet cleaning team, you can maintain a clean area rug and deal with the smaller day-to-day stains and spots by yourself.

Basic care – Cleaning the rug

Basic cleaning of the rug helps keep it free of dirt and dust, and making sure that you regularly maintain the rug ensures that it remains looking good as new for a longer time. First of all, vacuum the rug. If you have a reversible area rug, make sure that you vacuum both sides, as this removes the dirt and sand. Mind that you don’t vacuum the fringes, as they can tear off, and require additional repair. Second, use a stiff brush, brushing in the direction of the rug’s weave, to brush out any ingrained dirt or pet hairs that you might have missed. Thirdly, try to turn the rug over a couple of times a year, as feet and sun can and will wear out your rug – turning the rug over makes sure that the damage is minimal.

Different rugs require different attention

Make sure that you know what type of rug you have before cleaning it – that will help keep you from making mistakes that can cause anything from slight to serious damage to the rug.

With woven or braided rugs, you should examine them to see if you can see any stitching breaks both before and after you clean them. If they are washable (it should say so on the label), then place the rug into a pillowcase, and wash it in cool water on a gentle cycle. With the larger rugs, you can just place them on a concrete floor, and sponge them down with a commercial carpet cleaning material. Don’t forget to ensure that the rug is dried out before you replace it.

With handmade or Oriental rugs, you need to be much more gentle. Don’t vacuum the rug directly, but place a nylon sheet over the whole rug, and vacuum over that. Make sure that you get a professional rug cleaning team to clean the rugs at least once a year, so as not to damage it with standard carpet cleaning solutions.

How to remove stains from the rug?

Sometimes your area rug will get stained – it could be from greasy food, soda, dirty and muddy boots, and so on. In most cases, using warm water, and a soft brush to brush the stain in a circular motion will be sufficient, as long as you start treating the stain as quickly as possible. Make sure that you towel up the excess water after cleaning your rug in this way, and that you dry it out completely before putting it back where it belongs. You can speed up the drying process by using hair dryers. If you want to learn more about specific types of stains and how to clean them, check out this article on how to clean carpet stains.