All You Need to Know About How to Clean a Rug

Rugs can be the perfect addition to your decor, adding warmth and style to a room. But how often should you clean an area rug? What is the best process to do it? Rug cleaning doesn't have to be complicated and we've answered some common questions about how to care for your area rug.

What is the best thing to clean a rug with?

What you choose to clean a rug with will depend on the type of rug. Most rugs can do with regular vacuuming and a good shake. If you're looking for information about sheepskin rugs, we recommend you look at Wilson and Dorset's specific sheepskin rug cleaning information here.

Clean a Rug

If your area rug is in need of a deep clean, then check the manufacturer instructions first. A little warm water and a damp cloth to spot clean areas is the best first approach. If that's not enough then add a small amount of mild dish soap.

When dealing with an area rug that's taken a spill, immediate action is best. Contain the spill as soon as it happens, if possible. You can do this by blotting excess liquid with a paper towel or clean, absorbent cloth. Some area rugs may be thrown into the washing machine. Others can take carpet cleaner products with ease (good for stains), and some are best dry cleaned only.

Can I use a carpet cleaner on a rug?

Once again, it depends on the type of material your rug is made of. You should be able to use a carpet cleaner on most rugs, but be sure that it's safe for the type of material.

Clean a Rug

Carpet cleaners are particularly helpful if you have any stains or spills on your rug that are not coming away with a little water or a damp cloth. You can also use a carpet cleaner for spot cleaning between deep cleansing if needed. Try to go natural with a cleaning solution where you can.

What gets stains out of rugs?

It depends on what kind of material your rug is made from, however for most area rugs, you'll want to take action for any spills immediately. This means blotting liquid spills and a vacuum of loose debris. Don't be tempted to add too much water - the stain may spread further.

Clean a Rug

Occasionally a stain remover product may be needed. Again, try to go natural where possible and use as little as you can. It's a good idea to dilute a carpet cleaning product with a little water and gently sponge it directly over the stain. We highly recommend perusing the Wilson and Dorset Sheepskin care document to learn more about how to clean a rug, as these techniques can apply to many types of material, not only sheepskin.

Do dry cleaners clean rugs?

Yes, but not necessarily all types of rug. Talk with your local dry cleaner to determine whether they'll clean the type of rug you have. Dyed products are best dry cleaned as the colours can run if a home clean goes wayward. We also recommend an actual carpet or rug cleaning professional if your regular dry cleaner isn't overly confident.

What is the cheapest way to clean a rug?

For most rugs, a regular vacuum and shake should be enough to keep your area rug looking its best. This is particularly so for sheepskin, which will rarely need more care than this. With a great investment like a sheepskin, you'll be remarkably surprised at how easy they are to care for.

If you need to do more to clean an area rug, we suggest a very mild detergent, or in the case of wool, a quality wool soap. Don't use excess water and be very gently with sponging the area that needs cleaning. If it's the whole rug that is need of a good wash, gently hand washing and laying flat or hanging to dry naturally is the best approach. We suggest checking any specific instructions from the manufacturer first.

How can I clean my rug at home?

The best way to remove dirt from a rug at home is to vacuum and shake it often. Spot clean with a mild detergent and a little water, or a mild cleaning solution. A damp cloth is the best first approach.

There are also several ways to reduce how often you need to wash area rugs: If there's not too much foot traffic on your carpeting, try vacuuming every day instead of using mops or brooms; if possible place mats around high traffic areas such as entrances and exits from rooms; and take off shoes when walking into buildings (or cover them up!).

How do I clean under my rug?

Cleaning under your rug is best done with a broom or vacuum cleaner while the rug is taken elsewhere. Take it outside and shake any dust and loose debris out. You can also hang the rug and beat it to remove dirt. While the rug is off the floor, get to cleaning with your regular floor-cleaning method before replacing the newly dust-free area rug.

How do you clean a thick rug?

Thick rugs can seem a little more difficult to clean because it's often hard to reach all the way down into the pile, or fibres. Be careful not to rub stains as natural fibers (sheepskin being one such example) can be damaged. Gentle sponging is best and make sure you don't use excess water - simply air dry.

For a thorough wash and the best result, we recommend dry cleaning, if your type of rug can handle it.

How do you dry a rug after washing it?

Air drying is best for most rug types, especially sheepskin. Never place a sheepskin area rug in the dryer and be careful not to stretch the fibers when hanging your rug to dry. Avoid direct sunlight if possible and your rug can also be dried by laying it flat on a clear dry surface, or over large towels. Be very careful if you're tempted to use a dryer - not many rugs can handle this drying treatment.

How long does a rug take to dry?

It can take time to get your rug dry and this really depends on how large and thick the rug is, and what type of material it is. Make sure the back of the rug gets drying time as well - turn it when hanging and do the same when laying flat to dry.

Let the rug dry completely before placing back in the home. You can use a timer for the first time you clean an area rug to help plan the next deep cleaning.

Brushing of wool and sheepskin products can restore them to their pre-wet glory. Often, wool fibers will revert back to their naturally curly look. Brushing with a wire comb when wet (as opposed to a soft bristle brush), will help revive the fluffy appearance and natural loft of your sheepskin.

How often should you clean area rugs?

Area rugs should be vacuumed regularly - at least once per week, especially sheepskin. In fact vacuuming and shaking is the easiest way to maintain the integrity of your area rug. Avoid placing area rugs in direct sunlight if possible as this can damage and discolour some products. Attend to spills and stains quickly and be gentle when cleaning in order to keep your rugs looking their best and lasting a lifetime.

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