How To Clean Area Rugs — Pro Housekeepers Leave a comment


You might think that your area rugs don’t need any special treatment but rug cleaning is important to extend the life of your area rugs and keep them looking their best. Whatever your area rugs are made from, and no matter how large or small, our Pros have the tips you need to keep your rugs clean!

How to clean area rugs at home

Some people think you need to take rugs to a dry cleaner to have them professionally cleaned, but most rugs can be cleaned at home just as easily. Deep cleaning your rugs will help keep them looking vibrant and smelling fresh, so it’s a chore worth doing.

Area rug maintenance:

  • Vacuum area rugs at least weekly, more often in high-traffic areas
  • If possible, flip the rug and also vacuum the back each time
  • Lift or roll large rugs to vacuum underneath as part of your routine
  • Use the highest vacuum setting to protect long pile rugs
  • Use the upholstery attachment to vacuum sheepskin or hide rugs

You should aim to deep clean area rugs 2-3 times per year. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Vacuum the rug as normal.

Step 2: Take the rug outside and shake it vigorously

Step 3: If the rug is too large to shake, hang it over a railing or clothesline and beat it by smacking the back to dislodge dirt

Step 4: Hang the rug or lie it flat on a driveway and spray with water until wet, but not saturated

Step 5: Use an appropriate detergent to clean the rug

Step 6: Massage the detergent into the pile by hand or with a brush, moving in the direction of the fibers

Step 7: Rinse the rug to remove the soap

Step 8: Blot dry with an old towel, or use a wet/dry vacuum to remove as much water as possible

Step 9: Hang the rug and allow to air dry completely 

This method of cleaning is suitable for most area rugs made of natural or synthetic fibers. However, some rugs, including sheepskin, cowhide, and jute, need a different approach. Check out our tips for those rugs below!

Pro Tip: Some small rugs are machine washable. Check the label for instructions. 

Want to see a professional cleaning in progress? Check out this video!

How to clean large area rugs

Some area rugs are difficult to clean because they’re too large to easily move. Enlisting the help of a friend is the easiest way to get the job done. If you don’t have the outdoor space to clean a large area rug properly, consider visiting your local car wash. There you can use the self-service tools to hose and shampoo your area rug without any fuss.

Pro Tip: Got pets that shed everywhere? Learn how to keep your house clean when you have dogs!

How to clean an outdoor rug

Outdoor rugs are much more durable than indoor rugs and can be cleaned relatively easily. Just follow these Pro tips!

  • Give the rug a good shake from each corner to dislodge loose dust and dirt
  • Use a hose or bucket to wet the rug
  • Massage a suitable soap or detergent into the rug using a soft-bristled brush
  • Hose the rug off until the water is clear of soap suds
  • Use a wet/dry vac to remove the excess water, or roll the rug up and stand upright to allow water to drain out
  • Lie the rug flat and allow to air dry

Outdoor rugs are usually very durable and dry quickly. However some detergents can cause discoloration, so always spot check an inconspicuous area first.

If you notice mold or moss growing on your outdoor rug, you can treat it by washing with a solution of 1 cup bleach to a gallon of water. Spray the solution onto the rug and let stand for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with plain water.

How to remove stains from rugs

It’s easy to accidentally stain an area rug. The best method to remove it will depend on the material the rug is made from, and the type of stain. Some stains, like vomit, need some extra treatment. For everything else, here’s some guidance from our cleaning Pros to help you find the right stain removal for the job!

STAIN

Synthetic

Cotton

Wool

Jute

Red wine

Club soda

White vinegar

Hydrogen peroxide

Club soda

Chocolate

Detergent

Detergent

Detergent

White vinegar

Coffee

Detergent

White vinegar

White vinegar

White vinegar

Lipstick

Detergent

Detergent

Rubbing alcohol

White vinegar

Blood

Detergent

Detergent

Detergent

White vinegar

With every stain, it’s important to blot up as much as possible to contain the spread. Use cold water to dilute and lift stains without setting them. Then tackle each stain with the appropriate cleaning solution for the best results.

Pro Tip: Some stains are harder to treat than others. Learn how to clean nail polish off carpets and other surfaces now!

How to clean rugs with baking soda

Baking soda is every cleaning Pro’s best friend! This cheap kitchen ingredient is a powerful cleaner and deodorizer, and that means it can help keep your area rugs fresh all year round.

Here’s how to clean area rugs with baking soda: 

  • Vacuum the rug to remove any loose dirt and debris
  • Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the rug
  • Leave for 30+ minutes to allow the baking soda to absorb dirt or smells
  • Vacuum the rug again to remove the baking soda

That’s all it takes! Sprinkling your area rugs with baking soda is a fast, easy way to keep them clean. For extra cleaning power, you can also mist the rug with hot water or white vinegar after applying the baking soda. However, you’ll need to leave the rug for longer to fully dry out before vacuuming. This method takes at least 3 hours, ideally longer.

Pro Tip: Area rugs aren’t the only tricky fabrics to keep clean in your home. Check out our Pro guide on how to clean lampshades!

How to clean a wool rug

Whether you’ve got a pure woolen rug or a sheepskin, this natural fiber needs a little extra TLC to keep it looking good. Luckily, our Pros know all the tricks to keep your wool rug looking like new!

Step 1: Vacuum the top of your rug 2-4 times a month with the beater bar turned off

Step 2: Vacuum the back of your rug every 2 months

Step 3: Take the rug outside and shake or beat it every 2 months

Step 4: Rotate your rug every 6 months to prevent uneven wear and discoloration

Step 5: Spot clean any spills or stains immediately

Step 6: Always use wool-safe detergents and never soak a wool rug

The secret to keeping your wool rug looking amazing is regular maintenance. However if your woolen rug does need a deep clean, we recommend calling in a professional. They have the right equipment to get deep into the wool pile and clean it without risking the fibers.

How to clean a cowhide rug

Cowhide rugs are a popular choice because they’re large and easy to maintain. You can safely vacuum your cowhide rug as long as you turn off the beater bar. Always vacuum in the direction of the hair, not against it, to avoid creating bald spots.

Here are some other tips to keep your cowhide rug in top condition:

  • Use a broom or hard-bristled brush to brush your cowhide rug every 1-2 weeks
  • Treat stains using non-alkaline shampoo
  • To lift grease stains, try a little eucalyptus oil
  • It’s safe to steam clean your cowhide rug, just don’t get it excessively wet

With the right treatment, your cowhide rug will look amazing for many years to come.

How to clean a jute rug

Jute is a popular natural fiber that many people choose for area rugs. Treated right, jute is hardwearing and easy to clean. Just follow our tips to keep your jute rug looking good!

  • You can vacuum a jute rug just the same as any normal carpet
  • Using your vacuum’s brush attachment will help get between the woven strands for a more thorough cleaning
  • Avoid getting jute rugs wet, always spot-clean sparingly
  • Don’t use detergents on jute rugs, stick to natural and non-toxic cleaners like white vinegar
  • Water can stain jute rugs, so use a hairdryer on a gentle heat after cleaning

Final thoughts

Whatever material your carpet is made from, there are ways to clean and maintain it. You can also remove even the trickiest of stains with a little Pro know-how! Just follow our guide to keeping your area rugs clean and you’ll enjoy beautiful rugs for years to come.

Pro Tip: Now your area rugs are clean, it’s time to do the rest of the furniture. Learn how to clean your fabric couch and sofa now!





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