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 contact a carpet cleaning specialist before you take action to prevent permeant damage to your area rugs. This article will give you the best tips on how to clean an area rug.
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 removing, or it works its way into the fibers and causes damage you cannot correct. However, you do not want to overbrush 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. Going with the rug's nap will cause less friction than going against it.
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 area rug over and vacuum away all of the now shaken dust, dirt, allergens, mold spores, bacteria, and other unmentionables 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. Vacuum rugs with moderate traffic 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
Even out sun fading and traffic wear by rotating your rugs routinely. Rotate small rugs every three to six months. Adjust large rugs every time it goes for a bath. Simply put the area rug 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 with little light and airflow. Bugs prefer the back of the rug or places under furniture. The larva looks like sticky lint, so flip over 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 area rug. If you catch them early, you can repair them. Look at the back of the rug for wear and make sure all knots are tight and securely fastened to the area rug body.
Protect Your Rugs
Chinese rugs and other newer area rugs get chemically washed to give them a sheen. This process makes your area rugs extremely sensitive to sunlight, and they will fade quickly. Place these rugs in an area away from direct sunlight. If you can't do this, 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 results in chemical discoloration or bleaching of the rug dyes. We recommend using a microfiber or terry cloth to pick up spills on an area rug, but if you need to use an absorbent compound, stick to club soda and corn starch versus 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 their plastic protectors off your rugs. When watering plants, even the most careful can spill a bit of water. This water seeps into the area rug foundation leading 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
Recently, we shared some common carpet cleaning scams with you and explained why oriental rugs should not be surface-cleaned in your home. Carpet cleaning chemicals and equipment are for wall-to-wall carpets, not oriental or other specialty rugs. Area rugs, especially wool, need washing at a proper rug cleaning facility such as Gatesway Cleaning. Applying wall-to-wall carpet cleaning on specialty area rugs leaves behind chemicals and dirt in the fibers. It will become soiled faster and lead to problems like fading, bleeding, and dye migration.
Do you have a question on how to clean your area rug? For wool and fine area rugs, call Gatesway Cleaning & Restoration at (814) 726-2730 to ensure your family heirloom is handled with the utmost care and diligence to last through the years.