How to clean rugs?

It's often thought that rugs can be cleaned in the same way as carpets. However, they need special care. Read further on how to clean a rug in 4 easy steps!

Updated

blue rug with crumbs ready for rug cleaning

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 to keep them looking clean and fresh.

Rugs come in many shapes, sizes and fabric compositions, so it’s essential that you check the label of your rug before attempting to clean it. Test any stain removal treatments on a small, unnoticeable area before applying them to the rug as a whole.

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:

Step 1:

Firstly, turn the rug upside down. Vacuum the rug backing, loosening any ground in dirt. 

Step 2:

Turn the rug right-side up, and vacuum, being careful to avoid any tassels. 

Step 3:

Fluff out the tassels using your hands, as they can damage the vacuum’s suction pipe.

Step 4:

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.

How Often Should I Undertake Rug Cleaning?

Rug cleaning should be added to your weekly cleaning schedule if possible, especially for rugs that get a lot of use, and for homes with pets. Vacuuming should be done on a weekly basis, although rugs that see very little use could be done every two weeks. Spot-cleaning should ideally be undertaken as soon as the stain occurs. Stains are always easier to clean up when they are fresh, rather than when they’ve had time to dry and cake into fibres. You should also consider a thorough clean and rotation of your rugs every 6 months to a year to keep your rugs looking fresh and new.

Key Steps:

  1. You should vacuum rugs on a weekly basis.
  2. Certain types of rugs can be placed in the washing machine. Check the care label on your rug.
  3. For stains on delicate or oriental rugs use a gentle homemade solution made from natural ingredients.

Rugs come in many shapes, sizes and fabric compositions, so it’s essential that you check the label of your rug before attempting to clean it. Test any stain removal treatments on a small, unnoticeable area before applying them to the rug as a whole.

Originally published