Stylish yet comfortable, area rugs are the perfect foundation to build any room around. Whether your rug is placed in a high or low traffic area, accidents are unavoidable and part of life. Taking time to learn how to clean area rugs can pay off down the road when you are faced with spill, and properly cleaning your rug can help to extend its life, giving you the most out of your investment.
Cleaning Your Rug: Vacuums Versus Brooms
Though your first instinct might be to reach for the vacuum when it’s time to clean your rug, because of their gentle nature brooms and manual sweepers are actually the most effective way to clean area rugs. Vacuums can often be too powerful and can pull out threads in your rug. If you must use a vacuum, we recommend using canister vacuums without beater bars. If your vacuum has a beater bar, on some models you can turn off the bar or simply use the handheld attachment. If your rug has fringed edges, handheld attachments should always be used to avoid fraying.
Cleaning Spills & Preventing Stains
The first time your spill something on a new rug is always heartbreaking, but acting quickly can go a long way to remedy the situation. Cleaning spills immediately is always your best bet. Though it seems like the natural thing to do, NEVER rub in a spill. Rubbing might work on counter tops and hard surfaces, but when your rub in a spill on a rug you are actually forcing the spill deeper into the rug. Instead, blot the spill with a clean cloth or paper towel. Always use clean water and dye free towels when blotting. Once you’ve removed most of the stain as possible, mix a small amount of dish soap with cold water. Gently remove the remainder of the spill, and finish by blotting the area again with a dry towel. Since wool is more susceptible to liquids bleeding into its fibers, always use lukewarm water instead of cold water to remove spills on wool rugs. If you’re cleaning a spill on an outdoor rug, after blotting the stain initially spray your rug with a mixture of soap and water and rinse with a garden hose.
Cleaning & Caring For Natural Fiber Rugs
Natural fiber rugs such as jute, hemp, and sisal rugs inherently have loose fibers and knots. When cleaning these rugs with a vacuum, always use a low power setting to avoid pulling out loose threads. Vacuuming from different angles can also help to avoid fibers getting accidentally ripped out from the vacuum. When cleaning spills on natural fiber rugs always use an un-dyed cloth to avoid transferring any color from your towel to the rug. For stubborn stains, always use a professional cleaning service that specialized in wool or natural fiber rugs.
Cleaning & Caring For Shag Rugs
Though it might be alarming at first, shedding is normal for wool rugs like shag rugs and will decrease over time. If you’d like to remove excess threads in your shag rug, use a house hold scissors. Never pull the yarn out with your hand as this may result in damage. When vacuuming shag rugs it’s best to use canister vacuums without a beater bar. Using a vacuum with a beaters bar or vacuuming on too low of a setting may abrade the face of the rug.
To learn how to choose the right rug size for your space, check out our Rug Buying Guide here.