Home Cleaning Tips: How To Clean Rugs

A comprehensive guide to caring for and cleaning rugs. Includes advice, tips and techniques for long term rug maintenance strategies.

Purchasing floor coverings for your home can be a costly endeavor. Considering the high amount of foot traffic and dirt that your rugs are exposed to on a daily basis, it can be a daunting task to keep them clean and allergen-free. If you follow these tips and suggestions, however, you will be well on your way to curbing the long-term damage bought about by day to day living and make less work for yourself overall.

Perhaps the best defense in regards to keeping rugs and floors clean is a good offense: adopt a "shoe-free" policy in your house. Bare feet and socks will be much gentler on your carpet than heavy outdoor soles. If this shoeless attitude does not mesh with your lifestyle needs, then at the very least make sure that you have high-quality doormats at every entrance to your home. Rugs in high traffic areas should ideally be vacuumed everyday to prevent the dirt from penetrating the fibers. If you can't vacuum every single day, aim for at least twice a week to properly rid your house of the dirt and dust that daily living can cause.

If you properly care for your rugs on a daily or weekly basis, then you may not have to do a deep cleaning for a year or more. At such time, you can either opt to have your rugs cleaned by a professional or do it yourself. It may not be as difficult or expensive as you might think to do it yourself. First, decide if your rug really needs cleaned by one of the following methods:



1. Grab on of the rugs corners and kick it while holding the edge. If a lot of dirt flies out, then it is time to clean it.

2. Rub the pile vigorously for 10 seconds. If your hand is dirty, it's time to clean.

Once you've decided to clean you rug, try to move it outside to your garage or driveway. Begin by vacuuming both sides of the rug thoroughly, in both the horizontal and vertical directions. Next, shampoo the rug with cold water and a mild detergent. Be sure to test a small area for colorfastness to make sure that you won't damage the color. Use a soft brush with long bristles or a strong soft sponge to release the dirt and grime. Resist the urge to scrub too vigorously as you may damage the delicate pile. Next clean the fringe using a laundry brush and the same soap. Brush repeatedly away from the rug in one direction. Rinse the entire rug with more clean, cool water. Using a small shower or car window squeegee, squeeze out the excess water. Once you have removed all the water you can, lay the rug flat to dry. When the top is dry, flip the rug over and allow the back to dry thoroughly. If you do not allow the rug to dry properly, you may have dyes from the rug bleed trough to your carpet or floors. Finally, if the carpet seems stiff vacuum or brush lightly to regain some softness.

Between cleanings, make sure you address stains and spills as soon as they occur so that they do not become permanent. With a little preventative maintenance, a little daily upkeep and a yearly deep cleaning your rugs should last quite along time.

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