Cleaning Area and Oriental Rugs

See also: First Aid for Rugs

Silly but true: when it comes to cleaning rugs, the best way to keep a rug clean is to stop it getting dirty in the first place. Bare or stockinged-feet are far gentler on a rug than shoes so if your lifestyle allows it - don't wear shoes indoors.

Also silly but true: don't clean a rug unless it needs it.

How can I tell if my rug needs cleaning?

Try one of these:

  • Lift a corner of the rug and smack or (carefully) kick the back of the rug. A large cloud of dirt at this stage means it probably wants cleaning
  • Rub your hand over the rug and see how dirty your hand becomes
  • With the rug face up, arc a portion of it between your two hands so you can see down through the pile. If the base is dirty, it's time for cleaning.

DIY Rug Cleaning

Small Rugs

Small rugs can be cleaned at home. You'll need a bit of space and a surface that won't mind getting wet - kitchen floor? clean drive or patio? garage floor?

  • Start off by vacuuming both sides
  • Test a small area first for colour run before getting stuck in
  • Shampoo with cool water and rug shampoo (or a mild liquid soap). Don't use strong detergents.
  • Brush the pile in the direction of the nap with a softish brush. Don't scrub too vigorously and use a linear rather than circular motion.
  • Wash the fringes with the shampoo and brush away from the rug
  • Use cool running water to rinse thoroughly and then squeeze out as much of the water as possible. One of those window cleaning things is good for this - but, again, only in the direction of the nap
  • Lay it out flat to dry until the nap feels dry, then turn it over until it's totally dry

Bigger Rugs and Oriental Rugs

For the bigger area rugs, and definitely for your Orientals, you should use a professional rug cleaner.

By their very nature, handmade Oriental rugs are NOT predictable. Always take professional advice when it comes to cleaning.

If you're in any doubt leave it to the professionals

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