How to Clean Your Area Rug and Make It Look Brand New Again | Maid4Condos

How to Clean Your Area Rug and Make It Look Brand New Again

How to Clean Your Area Rug and Make It Look Brand New Again
July 5, 2023

Area rugs add warmth underfoot, help anchor and separate spaces, and provide a punch of colour and texture. However, neglecting them in your cleaning regime can find them quickly looking matted, drab, and old. 

How to clean your area rug and make it look brand new again

Your area rugs can also be magnets for pet hair and dander, dust, and allergens, which can reduce the quality of the air in your home. To help bring your area rugs back to life, here we explain how to wash rugs, with tips to keep them looking brand new.

Vacuum Both Sides Regularly

All area rug types should be vacuumed regularly during your weekly cleaning regime. This will help remove debris as well as pet hair and dander. If your area rugs have a particularly long pile, like “shag” or faux fur, you might hesitate to vacuum. 

However, these rugs are even more in need of a little vacuuming TLC as they are more apt to collect dirt and debris. It’s also easier for these rugs to become matted, due to their longer pile. 

You might want to vacuum area rugs a few times a week in higher-traffic areas, such as entryways. You should also vacuum the back of the rug while you’re at it. If this seems like too much work, then do the backs at least once every few weeks. 

Vacuum Under the Rug

It’s just as important to vacuum the floor under your area rugs as it is to vacuum the rug itself. This is because the dirt on the floor can work its way up into the fibres, contributing to wear and tear. It also rubs against the backing, which becomes worn, ruining the integrity of the rug. 

Shake Them Out

Smaller area rugs are easy to manoeuvre and can be shaken out once a month. This ensures you keep the dirt buildup to a minimum. If you live in an apartment, shake the rug out on your balcony. Be careful, though, as you can send debris flying onto other balconies.

Although this isn’t so bad in the winter and fall when most people are safe inside, on a nice summer morning you don’t want to fill your neighbour’s cup of coffee with dust!

Flip Two-Sided Rugs

If you have two-sided area rugs, flip them every few months. This will help keep the wear even, and reduce having tread marks on higher-traffic areas of the rug.

Rotate Sun-Exposed Area Rugs

UV rays can fade area rugs. If you have sun exposure, you should rotate your area rugs at least twice a year to help keep fading even and less noticeable. 

Check the Materials Before Tackling Stains

Before you clean anything in your home, it’s best to know what it’s made of. This is particularly important for soft items like rugs. Today, area rugs come in all kinds of materials, from wool to silk and grass to various synthetics. 

Natural materials are more delicate, and the dyes used can be damaged by cleaning agents. To be safe, check the back of your area rug to see if the tag tells you what materials were used, and, better yet, if there are any cleaning instructions.

If there isn’t a tag, proceed with caution, testing rug shampoos and other cleaning agents on a less obvious spot on the rug. If it seems safe to proceed, follow the instructions on the bottle. If you’re not sure, or your rug is expensive or an antique, have them professionally cleaned to avoid damage.  

Avoid Too Much Moisture on Natural Fibre Rugs

There are many natural fibre area rugs, including grasses, sisal, and rush. It’s easier to determine these types of materials, as they have a distinct look, like rattan furniture, baskets, or even straw hats. They are low maintenance, as the natural fibres stay fresh, and just need vacuuming to keep them clean. 

To remove stains from natural fibres, you need to minimize water exposure, as this will degrade the fibres, which can start to break apart. You’ll have to work fast, using a soft brush and soapy water to scrub the stain.

Rinse away the soap, and then use a thick towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. 

If it still seems wet, you can dry it with a hair dryer. The good thing about this material is that it tends to stay fresh smelling unless you allow the dampness to set in. It’s essential to avoid letting your rug stay damp, as this might promote the growth of mould and bacteria

Keep Area Rugs Fresh

Area rugs can get stinky if you have pets, but sweat from bare feet can also cling to the fibres, which can contribute to odours. If your area rug is smelling a little funky, an easy tip is to sprinkle it with baking soda and let it sit for about 15 minutes before vacuuming it up. 

You can also spray most area rugs with products like Febreze as often as you like to keep them smelling fresh. 

Tackle Stains Quickly 

Most cotton and synthetic rug fibres can withstand either a carpet shampoo stain remover or a mix of water and liquid dish detergent. If there are solids involved, remove them first, and then gently try to blot up the moist areas.

You can then apply the cleaning solution and continue to blot and reapply the solution until the stain is removed.

Follow up with a clean damp cloth to remove the soapy residue and allow it to air dry. Avoid getting the carpet too wet. If the rug is small enough, find a place to hang it so air can circulate better.

For specific stains, follow these steps:

  • Urine: Blot up the excess and then use an enzyme cleaner that will tackle the stain and the smell. Follow the instructions on the bottle, and blot test to make sure it is colour-safe.
  • Wine or dark beverages: Sparkling, clear water is best to manage these stains. First, blot away access, then spritz and blot the stain until it is gone.
  • Gum: Gum is tricky. First, remove as much of the gum as you can, then apply ice in a plastic sealable bag to harden it.

    Once it’s hard, you can try to remove it in pieces, reapplying the ice bag as it becomes soft again. 
  • Fatty stains like suntan oil, salad dressing, butter, etc.: Sprinkle the stain with baking soda and let it sit for at least six hours to absorb the grease.

    Vacuum the mess and then apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth to remove the remaining grease.

    There are also “dry solvent” carpet cleaners you can try if the baking soda doesn’t work. And, as always, test to make sure the cleaner or rubbing alcohol is colour-safe.

Contact the Cleaning Experts

Following these cleaning tips will help keep your area rugs looking brand new. However, if you hate cleaning, or are simply too busy, you can hire the professionals at Maid4Condos to keep your clean and looking its best. You can call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online for more information.

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