How to Clean an Area Rug

Area rugs can serve a practical purpose of better defining the open spaces in your home. At the same time, a well-placed area rug can provide warmth and comfort on otherwise cold or uninviting floors while also making a design statement within your space.

Still, if you have area rugs in your home, you’ll also need to add one more cleaning task to your list: cleaning your rugs. It’s not the most exciting chore in the world, and the process of deep-cleaning a large area rug can actually be quite laborious—but it’s an important part of keeping your home clean and refreshed.

By knowing how to deep clean your area rugs and keep them fresh in between deep cleanings, you can keep your space looking and feeling great.

The Importance of Cleaning Area Rugs

Even if your area rugs don’t look dirty, it’s important to clean them on a regular basis for quite a few reasons.

Get Rid of Allergens and Bacteria

Area rugs, just like carpet, can easily collect allergens, dust mites, bacteria, and other debris. Some of this can irritate your respiratory system, especially if you (or anybody living under your roof) suffer from a condition like asthma or allergies. By taking the time to deep clean your area rugs, you can pull the majority of those allergens, dust, and other debris out from the fibers of the rug and enjoy improved indoor air quality.

Prolong the Life of Your Rug

Area rugs aren’t cheap; depending on the material, size, and quality of your area rug, there’s a good chance you paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars! By cleaning your area rug regularly, you can keep it in the best possible shape and avoid having to prematurely replace your rug down the road. That saves you some hard-earned money and the time/hassle involved in picking out and laying down a new rug.

Present Your Space With Pride

When your area rugs are clean, you can entertain guests with confidence. Take more pride in your home by keeping your rugs clean, especially in high traffic areas.

How Often to Clean an Area Rug

How frequently you should clean your area rugs will really depend on how much foot traffic they see. Rugs in areas of very high traffic, such as hallways and living rooms, will need to be cleaned more often than area rugs in less frequented areas of your home, such as an office or guest bedroom.

Regardless, you should aim to clean your area rugs at least once every week or two—although a deep cleaning may only be necessary once or twice a year.

Basic Care and Cleaning for an Area Rug

Basic cleaning of an area rug will help to remove surface debris and keep your rug looking its best in between deep cleanings. You don’t need much time (or much in the way of supplies) to do a maintenance cleaning on an area rug.

Before You Get Started…

Always check the care instructions on your area rug’s label, which should be located underneath the rug itself. Defer to those instructions above all else, as some rugs may be made of fabrics and materials that are delicate or need to be cleaned a specific way.

Shake it Out

While most area rugs will be too large to completely remove from the room and “shake out” outside, you may still be able to lift the corners and sides of your rug and give them a few good shakes to loosen up the debris.

Neutralize Odors

Next, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the surface of your area rug. You can also use a store-bought carpet-refreshing powder, which will likely contain baking soda and a scent. If you’d prefer to avoid additional chemicals or want to save money, however, baking soda will work just as well to neutralize odors without adding any artificial scents or perfumes.

Vacuum With Care

After letting the baking soda sit for a few minutes, vacuum your area rug thoroughly; depending on the pile and thickness of the rug, you may need to adjust the height settings on your vacuum to achieve the best results.

What About Deep Cleaning?

Once or twice a year, aim to give your area rugs a deep cleaning to remove surface stains and tough debris. Again, be sure to check the care instructions on your rug before you get started. While many rug materials (such as cotton and wool) can be cleaned using this method, others may become damaged if exact care instructions aren’t followed.

Hand-Wash With a Homemade Cleaner

Begin by running a vacuum over your area rug to remove any loose dust, pet hair, or other debris. From there, create your own cleaning mixture by combining a bucket of cold water with a cap of your favorite laundry detergent. Next, using a scrub brush or some clean microfiber rags, begin working in one corner of the rug by dipping the brush/rag into the mixture and scrubbing away in circular motions. Repeat this process until the entirety of the rug has been scrubbed.

Next, “rinse” the cleaning mixture away using clean, damp rags–again working out from one corner of the rug. Be careful not to drench the rug’s fibers with water. You should be able to blot them most of the way dry using a few clean towels when you’re done. However, you may be able to speed up the drying process by using a couple of strategically placed fans. Try to avoid walking on your rug until it has had a chance to dry completely.

When to Get Help From a Professional

Very large area rugs or those made of delicate materials may need to be professionally cleaned. If this is the case, check with local dry cleaners or carpet cleaners to see which option will be most practical and cost-effective for you.

Save Time With a Maid Service

Even if you only have one area rug in your home, you can easily spend most of an afternoon deep-cleaning your rugs. The good news is that you can reclaim your valuable free time in other ways, such as by hiring a professional maid to clean the rest of your home. Maid Sailors offers a number of office cleaning services and home cleaning services to save you time and hassle, including deep-cleaning and move-in/move-out cleaning. We even offer organization services to help bring more order to your everyday life!

Find out more about all that Maid Sailors can do for you by calling us at (212) 299-5170. You can also schedule an appointment with us using our convenient online form.

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