A mistake many homeowners make is to treat their rugs in the same way they treat their carpets. That is, they vacuum them all over, and treat stains and long-term dirt and grime with store-bought carpet cleaner. The truth is that rugs are often much more delicate than carpets. Whereas carpets are specifically designed to handle high volumes of foot traffic, and are more hard-wearing, rugs are designed for much less use, so they are typically much more susceptible to damage. Understanding how to clean a rug is important for to keep them looking clean and fresh.
Is a Rug Cleaner Really Necessary?
For everyday rug cleaning and maintenance, a rug cleaner really isn’t a necessity – but for removing stains and dirt you might consider purchasing a dedicated rug cleaner, or a carpet cleaner that is suitable for delicate materials. Alternatively, opt for a homemade remedy to tackle stains. A mixture of warm water, a dash of white vinegar, and just a drop of laundry detergent is ideal, but ensure you use the bare minimum – you don’t want to saturate the rug or wet the rug backing.
For everyday rug cleaning, all you really need is a good quality vacuum cleaner and a medium bristled brush. Here’s how to clean a rug:
- Firstly, turn the rug upside down. Vacuum the rug backing, loosening any ground in dirt.
- Turn the rug right-side up, and vacuum, being careful to avoid any tassels.
- Fluff out the tassels using your hands, as they can become damaged in the vacuum’s suction pipe.
- After vacuuming, use a brush to remove any leftover hair and dust – this is usually more of a problem in households that have cats and dogs.
Do Washing Machines Make Good Rug Cleaners?
You should always check the label on your rug before putting it through the washing machine, as some materials can be washed and others cannot. As a general rule, woven and braided rugs are often robust enough to withstand a thorough wash, whereas other materials are usually too delicate. Even with woven rugs, it’s best to try to provide it with some protection – put it in a pillowcase or washable cotton bag first. This will mean the material is not in direct contact with the drum, reducing the risk of damage.