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The Professionals at Master Clean Carpet and Tile give you Tips and Ticks for Maintaining Area Rugs

Area rugs are an excellent tool for adding elegance, comfort and great design elements to your home.  But they can be a big investment.  You need to know how to properly care for your area rugs to make sure your investment lasts a long time for your home.  Here are some tips and tricks for maintaining area rugs.

a stack of colorful area rugs

Tip #1 – Do Not Let Carpet Cleaners Clean your Area Rugs

Carpet cleaners typically mean well by offering to clean your area rugs while in your home, but this can actually damage your area rug. Your area rugs are very different from your wall-to-wall carpeting, and they need to be treated differently when being cleaned. Area rugs are made from tightly woven and wrapped fibers.  These fibers trap and hold dirt.  Vacuuming alone will not be enough to keep them clean over time.  But a regular steam cleaning that most carpet cleaners try can damage them!

Carpet Cleaning Equipment is not for Area Rugs

Special equipment is needed to clean area rugs that cannot be used inside your home.  Carpet cleaning equipment is not made to clean the foundation of your area rug.  It only cleans the surface fibers.  If an area rug is cleaned inside of your home, the dirt that is deep in the foundation of your rug mixes with the water used in the carpet cleaning equipment.  This mixture can create a plaster-type substance that settles in the base of the rug and can cut into the fibers of your rug, causing damage.

don't use a carpet cleaner on your area rug

The correct way to clean an area rug is done with a combination of dusting the rug and immersion washing.  Immersion washing is when the area rug is submerged in a pool of water during the washing process.  These processes ensure that your area rug is thoroughly cleaned.  Then it goes into a giant centrifuge machine that helps to rinse and dry your rug.  This machine helps to make sure the dirt does not settle into your rug.  It also dries your rug quickly, which leaves it feeling soft and helps to avoid mold or mildew.

Chemistry Behind the Clean

Another reason why carpet cleaners are bad for your area rug is because they do not allow for the proper cleaning chemistry needed to protect the fibers of your area rug.  Regular carpet is typically made of synthetic materials, while most area rugs are made of wool or other natural fibers.  These natural fibers are much more delicate and need more specialized care.

Tip #2 – Vacuum Between Professional Area Rug Cleanings

Proper cleaning of your area rugs includes regular vacuuming of your rug on both the front and back side.  Vacuuming does not remove all the debris that has settled deep into the foundation of your rug, but it will definitely remove some of the dirt and dust.  This reduces helps to reduce allergens that are trapped in the rugs’ fibers.  Vacuuming is a good way to keep rugs fairly clean between professional cleanings.

a picture of a vacuum going over an area rug

While vacuuming, you might want to try to avoid the edges of the rugs and the fringe area.  Vacuuming can cause damage to these fragile parts of your area rugs.  A vacuum with a beater bar can help to loosen up the dirt in the rug but be careful not to let it get tangled up in the fringe. Also be sure to turn the beater bar off if you have an area rug made of delicate material.  

a picture of a bunch of pets

Tip #3 – Brush out Pet Hair

Vacuuming alone usually does not get all the pet hair out of a rug.  And if you repeatedly go over your rug with your vacuum, you could fray the fibers causing damage.  Instead, try brushing your rug.  After you vacuum, use a stiff brush to remove left behind pet hair.  Just be sure to brush in the direction that the fibers of your rug are laying.

Tip #4 – Shake out Your Area Rugs

If you have area rugs that are small enough, take them outside and shake them out.  Vigorously shaking out your rugs helps to get even more dust and dirt than vacuuming alone.  By shaking your area rugs, you can shake loose more of the settled in dirt. 

A picture of a lady shaking the dirt out of her area rugs

Tip #5 – Rotate Your Area Rugs 

Heavy foot traffic or direct sunlight can put extra stress on your rugs, making them age quicker. Rotate your area rugs every six months to a year.  This helps to prevent fading from exposure to sunlight and helps to prevent uneven wear from high traffic areas.

Some people will say rotating every two to three years is enough, but we feel the more rotating the better – especially in the high traffic areas.  Rotating allows for more evenly distributed wear, which will give your area rug a more uniform look.  This helps maintain both the appearance and value of your rug.

A picture of two people rearranging their furniture

If you able to, moving the furniture around in your room on a regular basis can also help to prevent rug wear by creating a new path or walkway in your room.

Tip #6 – Use a Rug Pad

Rug pads extend the life of your area rugs.  They prevent slipping, help to absorb sound and they provide extra cushioning and softness.

A picture of an area rug folded back to show the rug pad
A sign asking to please take off your shoes

Tip #7 – Establish a No Shoes Rule

Most of the dirt and grime in our carpets and area rugs start at our front door.  We bring it in on the bottom of our shoes.  Establishing a no shoe rule can help reduce the amount of dirt that is tracked into our house and onto our carpets and rugs.  Create an area by the front door (or whatever door you walk into your house through the most) where shoes can be kicked off and kept.  If you don’t want to go barefoot in your home, get some house slippers or shoes that are only to be worn inside your home.

Tip #8 – Air it Out

It’s a good idea on a nice, sunny day to air out your area rugs.  Any moisture buildup in your area rugs can have devastating effects on your rugs in the form of mold or mildew. To prevent any moisture buildup and help to reduce odors, hang your area rugs outside to dry out and freshen up every few months. 

Rugs hanging on a line to air out.
A picture of a coffee cup spilled on an area rug

Tip #9 – Spot Clean

Stains can easily happen on your area rugs, especially if you don’t immediately clean up a spill or accident once it happens.  Dab the stain with a dry cloth to soak up any excess liquid.  Do not use soap, bleach, or other common cleaning products on your area rugs.  Try using only water to clean up the stain by blotting it – not scrubbing it.  If that does not remove the stain, you should call the professionals to have it cleaned to remove the stain.  Trying to clean it on your home could damage your rug.

Tip #10:  Have your Area Rugs Professionally Cleaned

Even with regular home care of your area rugs, routine professional cleanings are a must to extend the life of your area rug and bring out its natural beauty and bright colors.  On average, you should have your area rugs professionally cleaned every 12-18 months.  However, if your rug is in a heavy traffic area, if you have pets, or if you suffer from allergies, it is a good idea to clean it more often. 

Professionals at Rug Cleaning of Tulsa deep cleaning an area rug

A professional deep cleaning of your area rugs is the only way to remove pet urine, pet odors, pet allergens, cigarette smoke, mold spores, dust mites, or other dirt.  Only professional rug cleaning ensures that the cleaning method is effective without damage to your rug. 

Call us today for a free quote on a professional deep cleaning for all of your area rugs.  In partnering with Rug Cleaning of Tulsa, we have all the equipment needed to clean your area rugs the right way.  Ask about how we can protect your rugs from further stains while we clean them, too!