Basic Rug Care Tips
Be it Oriental, woven, sisal, coir, sheepskin, fun or braided, rugs are a beautiful addition to any home and tell much of the owner’s personality, style, and taste. We’ve talked much about how to clean your favorite rug. Today, we’ll be sharing basic care tips for lots of different types of area rugs, determined by material, construction, and size.
Let’s start with the basics!
How to Wash a Small Rug
If your rug can be machine-washed, use your washer’s program for delicates (always cold water). Tumble dry (low setting) and that’s it. However, if you just throw the rug in the washing machine, the fringe will most likely become tangled. To avoid ending up with a rug with knotted fringe, divide it into hanks and wrap each one with white (not colored as it may bleed on your fringe) string. To be entirely sure, place the rug in a pillowcase or a mesh laundry bag and then wash it.
How to Dry your Rug
Many people hang their rugs over a clothesline. It is a common mistake that should best be avoided because doing so will distort the shape of your rug. Wet rugs should be placed on a slatted picnic table or clothes-drying rack. A counter will also do (for small rugs). Just ensure you lay towels or old sheets on it to protect it before you place the wet rug on it.
How to Store a rug?
When it’s time to store your heavy, winter rug, better have it cleaned and wrapped by a professional, who will also store it in a climate-controlled area. This will help your rug maintain its beautiful appearance for long without any damage to its fibers whatsoever (or mildew issues). The same applies to your summer area rugs, too.
How to Care for your rugs?
We have talk quite extensively about how to properly take care of your rug, be it an expensive Oriental carpet or any other type. But, it’s always suggested you don’t throw away the rug’s care tag. Keep it intact or file it for later reference.
The same goes for dry cleaning them. The rug’s care labels will give all the necessary information. Should your rug be spot-cleaned? Dry-cleaned? Laundered (for small rugs)? Don’t be tempted to make your own decisions based on how washable the rug seems to be. If a rug is labeled dry-clean only, it means that even if it is a cotton one, chances are it’s not colorfast. This means that if you attempt to hand-wash it, colors may bleed.
Related Articles: 1. How to Care for your Rug.
Tip: Although vacuuming your rugs is highly recommended to keep them clean and to look great, small rugs, such as entry mats, are difficult to vacuum. A good way to remove dust and dirt from them is to take them outside and beat them with a broom (you can hang them on a clothesline). Alternatively, you can shake them vigorously.
Note: Before you spot-clean your rug, always test it.
Specific Care per Type of Rug
There are many different methods and several materials to use to create a rug, and it is advised to try to find out as much as you can about the rug’s composition. Below are just some basic tips regarding the care of some of the most favorite and most preferred rugs.
1. Braided and Woven Rugs
If it is washable, follow instructions as given above. Also, check the stitching before and after you clean the braided or woven rug to see if there’re any breaks. If you notice breaks, it’s best to have a professional repair and clean your rug next time to avoid further damage.
To wash a large rug, place it on a concrete floor and use some carpet cleaning foam (you can find many products at the nearest supermarket) to sponge it over the surface. Follow the product’s instructions and then rinse. Make sure the rug is completely dry before you place it back to its original place or you may damage your flooring, especially if you have wood floors.
2. Oriental Rugs
Delicate antique or vintage Oriental area rugs require special care. To vacuum them, you can tie nylon mesh over the attachment of the vacuum before you start vacuuming the rug. This will allow you to remove dirt without damaging the rug. Just change the mesh when dirt and dust accumulates. Or you could use a piece of nylon instead. Lay it over the rug and use books to weight it around the edges. Vacuum as you would normally do (over the screen, of course).
To remove stains from Oriental rugs, it is critical to treat them immediately, especially if you are dealing with wine or beverage spills. In this case, use baking soda that will help soak up liquids, as well as sauces and gravy. If the rug is placed in an area with heavy foot traffic, having it professionally treated once a year is the best thing you can do for it, without a doubt. It’s like taking it for a spa-like treatment!
Tip: Exposure to direct sunlight will damage the fibers and cause the colors of the rug to fade. To prevent this from happening, rotate the rug so that wear is even and find the right window treatments to protect your valuables, including your expensive Oriental rug from UV damage.
3. Natural Materials (i.e. Sisal, Grass, Rush & Coconut)
These rugs usually have an open weave. This means that dust and dirt can easily penetrate them and make it to the floor, so vacuuming them often is important to prevent dust accumulation, which could trigger asthma attacks and allergies.
If you need to treat stains, remember that rugs made from natural materials should have the least contact with water as it weakens their fibers. Work your way as quickly as you can with soapy water and a soft brush and dry thoroughly (you can use a hair dryer or fan) to extend your rug’s lifespan. When done treated the stain, rinse with water and place towels on the surface to blot the treated spot.
Also, put a towel or plastic drop cloth on the floor beneath the rug, to protect your flooring.
If your rug is reversible (most of these rugs are), flip it over as often as you can (ideally, after each vacuuming) to ensure even wear. Also, since dirt gathers on the floor beneath, remove the rug frequently and vacuum the floor, as well. If you want to freshen up your rug, take it outside and beat it with a broom (gently) to loosen any dirt trapped in the fibers.
4. Sheepskin & Fur
Talcum Powder works miracles on sheepskin and fur rugs. Shake some over the rug and let it sit for a few hours. Then brush it through the hair and gently shake it out. This will help reinvigorate your rug and get it ready for cleaning. Then, make a solution of lukewarm water and mild liquid detergent or dish washing liquid, dip a cotton cloth in it, and wipe off the back with it. To rinse, don’t place under running water. Instead, use a cloth dipped in water to rinse. Let it dry completely before you place it back and you are done!