Despite your efforts when it comes to cleaning your rugs and carpets, they and other similar household items will, after some years of use, attain stains of various drops, spills and accidents. After so many years of walking over them, whatever sticks on your shoes, leaves its mark on your rugs and carpets as well. This article will guide you through a number of ways and techniques which will help you to clean your area rugs in a better and more efficient manner.
Rugs and their types
Before we begin with the best ways to clean area rugs, we should be aware of the various types of rugs and carpets that are used around our households.
For better rug care it is important that their construction methods, size and the material they have been made by is determined. Care for your large-sized area rugs is similar to the manner you care for a wall-to-wall carpet.
Vacuuming large sized area rugs in order to remove dirt
Similar to a large carpet, the most critical aspect when it comes to cleaning area rugs is that you need to vacuum them to take dirt particles out of them. In case an area rug is double-sided you need to vacuum both sides, as recommended by experts of the industry. This will help you to remove grime and grit that tends to wear rugs and carpets out long before they should become useless. Also, it is important to take care so as to not vacuum the outer fringe of your carpets and area rugs.
Brush out your rugs in case of pet hair
A regular vacuum cleaner tends to leave a large number of pet hairs behind on your rugs. Using a brush with stiff bristles will help you to remove the hair in an efficient manner; brushing the stiff bristled brush in the opposite direction of the nap of the rug.
Turn your area rugs annually
Area rugs bear a lot of stress Owing to environmental factors and regular walking over them, also known as Foot traffic. If you make sure that you turn them over a couple of times a year, they will last longer as the stress over them is divided.
Shake smaller area rugs to remove dirt and grit
If your area rug is small in size, what you can do is, take it outside and shake it vigorously to beat out all the dust particles that have stuck to it over time. Make sure that you check your local codes as some areas have laws which prohibit shaking of rugs outside homes.
Cleaning areas rugs of finer quality
Rugs of a finer quality need to be taken care of in a more careful manner. As they tend be more expensive than ordinary rugs, you need to make sure that you avoid mistakes that may ruin them. Follow the below mentioned tips for taking better care of your finer rugs.
For rugs that have been braided or woven
Make sure that your rugs are intact before and after cleaning as they tend to tend to break and tear due to vigorous cleaning. Check your area rug’s label in order to determine the best possible way to clean them without causing them any damage. Some of the woven types of rugs are not meant to be washed, make sure that you use alternate cleaning methods in such a case. If the rug at hands is of a washable type secure them in a bad made of cloth or may be a pillowcase. Use cool water to clean your area rugs and rinse thoroughly to take out all the soapy water out of them. Set up a low setting to tumble dry the washed rugs before rubbing carpet cleaning liquids over them. Follow the directions that are mentioned on the label so your rugs do not get damaged in the process.
Handmade area rugs
Oriental and handmade rugs are to be vacuumed as any other carpet, however if your area rugs are of an antique variety you need to be more delicate about their cleaning methods. Before you start vacuuming them place a nylon screen over them to protect them from the affects of vacuuming them. As these rugs are more expensive them regular ones, it is also recommended that you get these cleaned by a professional cleaner at least once a year. Also, ensure that they do not come in direct contact with sunlight and other harmful factors.
Rugs made of natural fibers
Rugs made from natural fiber need to be vacuumed more frequently as compared to other rugs as dust sifts through them and settles on the floor. Most of the rugs made of natural fibers can be used both ways; flipping them over a couple of times a year can also help them to clean better.
If these rugs have spots and stains over them, you need to brush them off gently so as to not damage the rugs. Scrub the stains off by rubbing a soapy brush over them and later rinse them off with clean water. To dry the freshly cleaned area, place a towel over it and let it absorb excess water and dry off the dampness by using a hairdryer over it.
Rugs made by sheep-skin and other hides
Spread a small amount of odorless talcum powder on rugs made of animal hides for example, fur or sheepskin and leave them untouched for a few hours. Make sure that you brush off the powder and repeat the process a few times depending up on the length of the fur. Clean the back side of such rugs by rubbing them with soapy water, followed by thorough rinsing and drying of the rugs.
Deep cleaning rugs
In any case, the labels on the rugs have to be read carefully in order to determine the best to clean them. Rugs can be cleaned by a number of ways including spot cleaning and dry cleaning etc. For labels that indicate dry cleaning, it is better that you perform a test wash on a smaller area first. In rugs that can be machined washed, make sure that you set up the washing machine on low settings so as to not damage the rugs in any way.
Drying wet rugs
Freshly washed rugs are best dried by hanging them over a rack or a table in a breezeway. Hanging wet rugs over clotheslines is not recommended as the original shape of the rug can be distorted which will make them appear unkempt.
It is recommended that you clean your area rugs once a year and test commercially made products on a small area first before using them all over your expensive rug.
Effective removal of stains from your area rugs
Follow these instructions for effective removal of stains from your area rugs:
For stains of alcohol or soft drinks make a solution using a teaspoon of dish detergent, a quart of warm water, and a quarter teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply this solution on the portion of your rug with the stain, rinse with clean water followed by blot drying.
Tomato ketchup stains can be cleaned off by a mixture of white vinegar and water. You need to blot clean the spot until it goes away completely. Dabbing the area with ketchup stain with liquid detergent is also an effective way to remove the stain.
For stains of coffee or tea make a similar solution using the above mentioned products. Rub this mixture over the stain, rinse with water and blot dry the spot. If the stain does not go away with the first wash you may move on to using a commercial carpet cleaning product.
For rigid paint stains it is better that you clean the spot while it is still wet as it is easier to clean it with a liquid detergent or any similar product. For more stubborn paint stains rub them off with rubbing alcohol or spirit to ensure effective removal of the stains.
Gum is included in some of the toughest things to remove from area rugs. If your rug has a gum stuck to it, try and peel off as much as you can. Use cold ice cubes packed inside a plastic bag over whatever has remained on your rug. This will make the gum hard and it will become easier to scrape off by a knife or any other sharp object.
As tough as gum, melted wax can also prove to be a difficult spot to remove. As with gum, you need to use cold ice cubes to make it as hard as possible so it can be easily scrapped by a sharp object. Using rubbing alcohol with a cloth and blotting the area with the spot is another way of effectively cleaning a melted wax spot.
In some cases, depending up on the manner your rug has been weaved and the material it is made of, rug cleaning methods can wary. If any of the above mentioned methods do not work, it is recommended that you hire the services of professional rug cleaners.