How To Clean Area Rugs: A DIY Guide

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Tips for clean area rugs at home.

DIY Guide - How to clean area rugs

Deep cleaning your area rugs not only makes them look and smell fresh, it protects them from wear. Dirt and grit trapped in the rug actually wears down the fibers from within. While professional deep cleaning is ideal, you can also clean and maintain your area rugs yourself.

Small area rugs are the easiest to clean, but even large rugs can be cleaned at home. Be sure to check the care instructions on the rug’s tag for specific recommendations. Then follow this cleaning guide

How To Vacuum An Area Rug

It’s important to vacuum and sweep your area rugs weekly to remove dirt before it gets embedded in the fibers.

How to clean area rugs, a DIY guide

Deep cleaning your area rugs not only makes them look and smell fresh, it protects them from wear. Dirt and grit trapped in the rug actually wears down the fibers from within. While professional deep cleaning is ideal, you can also clean and maintain your area rugs yourself.

Deep cleaning your area rugs not only makes them look and smell fresh, it protects them from wear. Dirt and grit trapped in the rug actually wears down the fibers from within. While professional deep cleaning is ideal, you can also clean and maintain your area rugs yourself.

Small area rugs are the easiest to clean, but even large rugs can be cleaned at home. Be sure to check the care instructions on the rug’s tag for specific recommendations. Then follow this cleaning guide

If your rug is in a high-traffic location, like an entry area or kitchen, it may need to be swept or vacuumed every day or two. Small rugs near doorways can be shaken off outside before vacuuming. Then follow these tips:.

Check the settings on your vacuum cleaner. Turn off the beater bar, or raise it to the highest setting to protect the rug pile and prevent it from getting stuck in the vacuum.

Check the settings on your vacuum cleaner. Turn off the beater bar, or raise it to the highest setting to protect the rug pile and prevent it from getting stuck in the vacuum.

Vacuum the rug; avoid vacuuming the fringe. Use a broom to briskly sweep the fringe instead.

If the rug is small enough, flip it over and vacuum the back to dislodge dirt from the fibers.

DIY Guide - How to clean area rugs

For larger rugs, roll up each side and vacuum or sweep the floor under the edges.

DIY Guide - How to clean area rugs, roll and vacuum

Vacuum or sweep the floor in the rest of the room. Then make a final pass over the surface of the rug with the vacuum.

Follow up vacuuming with spot cleaning if necessary.

The Best Way To Spot Clean Area Rugs

Spot-cleaning prolongs the life of the rug and extends the time between deep cleanings. A gentle laundry detergent like Woolite is a good choice. Commercial spot cleaning products can be difficult to rinse out and cause stains to reappear. However, they’re effective on pet stains and help remove odors.

It’s important to spot clean rug stains as soon as possible. Spills like wine, coffee and pet stains can be very hard to clean if left too long.

IY Guide - How to clean area rugs

Always use a minimal amount of detergent so it rinses out easily. Spot test your cleaning solution on the back of the rug first, to make sure it won’t affect the color. Let the spot-tested area dry completely before using a product on the rest of the rug.

Spray the stain on the front and back of the rug with spot cleaner or detergent mixed with water – you don’t need much. Blot with a clean cloth to work the dirt out. Then place a large bowl under the stain and rinse the area well with cold water. Blot the area to dry.

For thicker rugs, you can place a folded towel under the spot and another on top, and weight it with a brick or a few books overnight to draw the water out.

How To Clean Area Rugs At Home

Area rugs should be deep cleaned once or twice a year. While most rugs can be steam-cleaned or washed and rinsed, some materials need to be dry cleaned. Always follow manufacturer cleaning instructions if possible. While a deep cleaning will extend the life of your rug, be careful not to overdo it. Too-frequent or aggressive cleaning can dull and fade the rug’s fibers.

How To Clean Synthetic Polypropylene Rug

Synthetic fiber area rugs are usually made from olefin, nylon, or polypropylene. All of these fibers can be steam-cleaned or washed with a rug cleaning machine. You can also shampoo them with mild detergent and let them air-dry.

  1. Vacuum your rug; then take it outside and shake it out.
  2. Hang the rug over a clothesline, or lay it on a sloping driveway.
  3. Spray the rug with water until the surface is wet.
  4. Use a spray bottle to apply a mild detergent lightly across the surface of the rug. Spray heavily on any stains.
  5. Use a soft brush to gently work the soap into the rug, following the direction of the fibers. Don’t scrub the brush back and forth.
  6. Rinse the rug clean with the hose until the water runs clear.
  7. Remove as much water as possible by rolling the rug in a dry towel, or gently using a wet-dry vacuum.
  8. Hang the rug or lay it flat on a dry surface to dry. Rotate the rug occasionally so it dries evenly.

How To Clean Wool Area Rugs

Wool rugs are popular for their durability. Because of the lanolin in their fibers, wool rugs release dirt easily. These popular rugs can be steam-cleaned or washed with a rug cleaning machine on the gentlest setting. A mild solution of gentle laundry detergent (like Woolite) is the best product for DIY cleaning.

  1. Vacuum your rug thoroughly on the front and back.
  2. Hang the rug over a clothesline, or lay it on a sloping driveway.
  3. Don’t pre-wet the rug – you should never saturate a wool rug.
  4. Use a spray bottle to apply a mild detergent lightly across the surface of the rug. Spray a little more heavily on any stains.
  5. Dip a soft brush in water, then gently work the soap into the rug’s surface, following the direction of the fibers. Don’t scrub the brush back and forth.
  6. Rinse the rug surface clean with a gentle hose spray until the water runs clear.
  7. Remove as much water as possible by rolling the rug in a dry towel, or gently using a wet-dry vacuum.
  8. Hang the rug or lay it flat on a dry surface to dry. Rotate the rug occasionally so it dries evenly.

How To Clean Cotton Rugs

Cotton is a popular rug fiber because it’s light weight and less expensive than wool. It’s also washable. Some cotton rugs aren’t colorfast, so always test your rug before cleaning to make sure colors won’t run or fade. (If your rug isn’t colorfast, you can use the dry-cleaning method described below.)

Small cotton rugs can vacuumed or shaken out and washed in the washing machine. A front-load washer set on the delicate cycle is ideal. Use gentle laundry detergent and cold water. Wash one rug at a time, and hang the rug to dry.

Large cotton rugs can often be washed at a laundromat. Choose a front-loading commercial machine with a gentle cycle, and use mild detergent and cold water. Hang the rug to dry if possible, or lay it flat and rotate it frequently as it dries.

You can also dry-clean large cotton rugs at home. Purchase a rug dry-cleaning kit for this DIY method.

  1. Vacuum the rug thoroughly, front and back if possible.
  2. Sprinkle the dry-cleaning powder from the kit over the entire surface of the rug.
  3. Using the brush from the cleaning kit (or a soft-bristled brush) work the powder gently into the rug’s fibers. Don’t scrub.
  4. Vacuum up the powder thoroughly.

How To Clean Jute, Sisal and Seagrass Rugs

Natural fiber rugs have grown in popularity because they’re affordable and add an organic touch. However, fibers like jute, seagrass, coir and sisal shouldn’t be exposed to water. The fibers are very absorbent, so wet-cleaning will ruin them.

Regular vacuuming is the best way to keep natural fibers clean. Vacuum the rug front and back. For thicker rugs, turn them face down and tap them firmly with a broom to dislodge dirt. Then vacuum both sides.

Natural fiber rugs can also be dry-cleaned. You’ll need an at-home rug dry-cleaning kit, and a vacuum with adjustable beater bars.

  1. With beater bars turned off, vacuum the rug thoroughly, front and back, and tap to dislodge dirt.
  2. Sprinkle the dry-cleaning powder from the kit over the entire surface of the rug.
  3. Using the brush from the cleaning kit (or a soft-bristled brush) work the powder gently into the rug’s fibers. Don’t scrub.
  4. Vacuum up the powder thoroughly. If you can’t remove all of the powder with beater bars off, you can use the brush attachment for upholstery.

Deep cleaning your rugs at home is an easy DIY project that saves time and money. However, if you don’t have the space to clean rugs and hang them to dry, professional cleaning is recommended. For more information about area rugs, visit our online Rug Guide.

February 24, 2020