Keep your area rugs looking their best by following these simple tips for basic care, deep cleaning, and stain removal. Plus, learn how to properly treat specific types of area rugs.
Area rugs warm up floors, inject color and pattern into a space, and create zones in your home’s living quarters. But along with area rugs comes stains and debris, so it’s important to know how to clean an area rug. First, identify your rug’s material. This is an important step in prolonging its life, as different materials require unique cleaning methods and materials. Our handy area rug cleaning guide will introduce you to the many types of rugs, and offer tips and instructions for rug cleaning and stain removal.
How to Clean a Rug: Material-by-Material Guide
Special types of rugs require special cleaning care. File away care tags on the rug for easy reference. Pay close attention to recommendations for deep cleaning and using a rug shampooer or a cleaning machine. Follow these tips for taking care of specialty rugs.
Woven or Braided Rugs
Check rugs for stitching breaks before and after cleaning. Check labels to determine whether small braided rugs are washable. If they are, place them in a zippered pillowcase or mesh laundry bag. Wash in cool water on a gentle cycle, rinsing thoroughly. Tumble dry on a low setting.
Place large braided rugs on a vinyl or concrete floor or place an old blanket beneath them. Sponge commercial carpet-cleaning foam over the surface and rub it in according to the product directions. Finish by rinsing or vacuuming. Dry thoroughly before replacing the rug on the floor.
Handmade, Hand-Knotted, Antique, and Oriental Rugs
Vacuum a new Oriental rug as you would carpet and wool area rugs. Use special care with delicate vintage or antique rugs. Protect them from the vacuum by placing a piece of nylon screen over the rug and weighting it down with books or bricks. Vacuum over the screen. Or, tie a piece of nylon mesh over the vacuum attachment and change the mesh frequently as dirt accumulates. Have these rugs professionally cleaned once a year. Rotate rugs to ensure even wear; direct exposure to sun will cause fading.
Editor’s Tip: When buying antique rugs, learn as much as you can from the seller about the rug’s fiber content and construction. Ask for care tips.