Area rugs do so much to add definition and comfort to our rooms at home. But layer in all the daily traffic, shoes, kids and pets, and those beautiful, cozy accents are full of unavoidable dirt, dust, stains and dander. Rest assured, here’s how to get those rugs refreshed and gorgeous again.
First, take into consideration what kind of rug you have. Most antique, Persian and Oriental rugs are ornate and full of color and require professional cleaning. Everyday rugs that aren’t too delicate can withstand some regular maintenance and DIY care. That regular maintenance can be vacuuming (best for large and flat rugs) every few weeks and/or shaking them out outside (best for smaller, easy to handle rugs).
When dirt or stains are visible, some good old-fashioned spot treatment is best. Give the surfaces (front and back) a good vacuum to pick up any loose particles or pet hair. Then gather your cleaning products to test an area first to make sure your rug doesn’t suffer any discoloration. Ideally, this is done outside since a good deal of water is involved.
Mix your rug shampoo with water per the directions on the label. If you have pets, opt for a shampoo soap that’s gentler and pet-safe. Use water that’s not too hot, as hot water can make colors run and can shrink certain textiles, such as wool.
It’s always a good idea to check cleaning requirements and recommendations for specific rugs and special materials. For example, sisal and jute and grass rugs can often be flipped and reversed for a fast refresh as they don’t love water, so best not to soak with cleaner. Hides and sheepskin best respond to spot cleaning or even powder cleaners.
For basic rugs, scrub a corner of the carpet gently and make sure any colors do not bleed or run. If all looks good, continue scrubbing in gentle circular motions. Once you get a good lather, let the soap sit for a few minutes and then rinse it with water. It’s important just like hair or laundry, to get all the suds out either with more rinses of fresh water from the bucket or a garden hose.
Let the rug dry completely before bringing back inside. And, voilà! Consider your rug filtered, free from dirt and new again.