If you have hardwood or tile floors chances are you have an area rug in your home. Area rugs (especially delicate oriental rugs) need special care and treatment, Gatesway Cleaning & Restoration recommends that if you are unsure of the fibers or question your care techniques to contact a carpet cleaning specialist before you take action to prevent permeant damage to your area rugs.
How to Clean Area Rugs
Take a moment and think about the dust that settles on your hard surfaces – bookcases, hardwood floors, etc. This same dust settles on your rugs and needs to be removed, otherwise it works its way into the fibers and causes damage you cannot correct. However, you do not want to overly “brush” these fibers, so we recommend a standard vacuum or upholstery attachment.
Just like sanding or staining wood you want to vacuum with the nap of the rug’s ‘fuzzy’ side. The rug’s fibers are similar to your pet’s fur – you know when you are petting with the nap, and when you are not. Going ‘with’ it causes less friction.
For your entry rugs or other high traffic areas, then turn these rugs fuzzy side down and run an upright vacuum along the back side. This “shakes” the dirt out of the base of the area rug’s foundation. Then flip the rug over and vacuum away all of the now shaken dust, dirt, allergens, mold spores, bacteria, and other “unmentionables” that have been brought into your home by shoes, feet and paws.
Entry rugs with high traffic should be “dusted” twice a week (or more) with your canister or upholstery attachment. Rugs with moderate traffic should be dusted weekly. Even rugs in areas with no traffic will still have dust settling on them daily, so attend to them bi-weekly.
A consistent dusting routine will help keep your rugs cleaner and healthier longer. It will also (especially when using a HEPA-filter vacuum) help keep your indoor air cleaner.
- Entry High Traffic Rugs: Vacuum 2+ times per week/Wash every 1-2 years
- Medium Traffic Rugs: Vacuum weekly/Wash every 2-3 years
- Low Traffic Rugs: Vacuum bi-weekly/Wash every 3-4 years
If you don’t remember the last time you washed your area rugs then it may be time to get it done. Gatesway Cleaning & Restoration can help you with your carpet cleaning needs and make sure that your oriental area rugs last from generation to generation.
Area Rug Care Tips
- Rotate Your Rugs In order to eave out any possible sun fading and to also not allow one specific area to get all the foot traffic wear; rotate small rugs every three to six months, larger rugs every time it goes for a bath put it back down in the opposite direction.
- Inspect Your Rugs Look closely quarterly for any insect activity. Moths and carpet beetles generally begin feasting in areas that have little light and air flow – this means they prefer the back of the rug, or places under furniture. The larva looks like ‘sticky lint’, so make sure to flip over the corners of the rug to see if you have any activity. American Indian weavings hanging on the wall are particularly vulnerable, so take them down bi-annually to shake, dust and look for bugs. Use this time to check your area rugs for signs of repair or pet urine stains. Worn fringe tassels begin to pull away from the rug and if they are caught early enough they can be repaired. Again, you need to look at the back of the rug for wear and if all the knots are tight and securely fastened to the area rug body.
- Protect Your Rugs Chinese rugs and other newer area rugs have been chemically washed to give them a sheen. This process makes your rugs extremely sensitive to sunlight and you’ll see fading quickly. Take care to place these rugs in area away from direct sunlight. If this is not possible you may want to treat your windows with a UV-filter coating or close your drapes during peak sunlight hours.
- Avoid DIY Carpet Spot Removers Products like Folex®, Resolve® and even Woolite® are too strong and meant for synthetic fibers not quality area rug fibers like wool and silk. Using these products often result in chemical discoloration or bleach the rug dyes completely. We recommend using a microfiber or terry cloth to pick up spills on a area rug but if you need to use an absorbent compound stick to club soda and corn starch verses baking soda. Baking soda can yellow the fibers causing permanent damage, thus devaluing your rug.
- Keep Plants and Plastic Protectors Away Keep your potted live plants and even their plastic protectors off of your rugs. When watering plants even the most careful can spill a bit of water. This water seeps into the area rug foundation which leads to mildew growth and dry rot. While the plastic protectors seem like a great idea they inhibit airflow and can often speed the mildew and dry rot process. If you think you may have a mildew or dry rot issue please call us immediately to access your rug.
- Oriental Rug Cleaning Scam We shared some common carpet cleaning scams with you recently and oriental rugs should not be surface-cleaned in your home. Wall-to-wall carpet cleaning chemicals and equipment are meant for wall-to-wall carpet not oriental or other specialty rugs. Area rugs, especially wool area rugs are meant to be washed at a proper rug cleaning facility such as Gatesway Cleaning. When wall-to-wall carpet cleaning is used on specialty area rugs it leaves behind chemicals and dirt in the fibers. It will become soiled faster and can lead to other problems like fading, bleeding and dye migration.
Do you have a question on how to clean your area rug? Please ask below and we’ll give you the best tips and tricks we have gained over 25 years of professional carpet cleaning.
For wool and other fine area rugs give Gatesway Cleaning & Restoration a call (814) 726-2730 to ensure your family heirloom is handled with the utmost care and diligence making it last through the years.
Image Credit: Alyshaan Fine Rugs