Vacuums miss a lot more dirt than you would think when they’re run over rugs. Dirt tends to make its way into the fibers of your rug and, once it’s there, it is very difficult to get out. What looks like a lot of dirt in the vacuum bag is really just a fraction of what’s actually present in the fibers. Remember, we are always tracking dirt on the soles of our shoes and feet as we walk around.
Much like abstinence is the only definitive way to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the best and most guaranteed way to prevent dirt from getting in your rug is to abstain from walking on the rugs at all. We understand this is impossible, so we suggest first trying to limit the amount of dirt that can get in there. Enacting a no-shoes policy on the rugs or placing doormats at all the entrances to your home will help significantly.
Washing your rug is a relatively easy process and you will notice immediate results once it dries. Dip a sponge or brush in warm water — do NOT use hot water as it may cause the colors to run! — and add some mild, smooth-looking dish detergent (about 1/4 tsp per quart of water). Laundry detergent is too alkaline and thicker dish soaps will leave a nasty, creamy residue on the rug after washing.
Wash the rug with a sponge or brush, rubbing the soap deep into the fibers. Allow the solution to sit on the rug for several minutes before you rinse with a garden hose. Before letting the rug dry, ensure all soap is out of the fibers. With a squeegee, remove excess water from the rug while making sure to work only in the direction of the rug’s nap. After the rug is dry, make sure to run a vacuum or soft bristled brush over it so that the fibers are loosened up and looking good as new. Click here to find out more about cleaning your area rugs.
It is important to only wash your rug when it is dirty. Simply pick up the rug or pinch its ends; if dust or dirt pops up from the fibers, it needs to be cleaned. Please be aware that specific stains and rugs made of unusual fabrics will need more attentive care and different cleaning materials and techniques in order to properly clean them.
While it doesn’t hurt to attempt to clean your own rug yourself, we recommend considering hiring a professional with a pickup and delivery service every now and again, and for very serious stains. While you can clean your rug yourself and do a good job, nothing you can do at home can compare to the thorough rug cleaning done when handled by an experienced technician in possession of proper rug cleaning technologies. Plus, there are risks involved when cleaning your own area rug-for example, color migration, crocking, etc.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.