Area rugs are perfect for defining living spaces, sprucing the place up, and adding character and visual interest to your home. And, like any décor or furniture investment, quality area rugs are worth protecting with some basic cleaning and care that preserves their appearance and condition and ultimately extends their life.
It’s not difficult learning how to care for area rugs, and it takes minimal time and effort on your part. Keep in mind that the production style and the material an area rug is made from can affect some of the details of optimal cleaning and care, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and warnings, and do a bit of internet research on caring for the specific material.
In general, though, the below tips on how to care for area rugs will help keep yours looking as great as possible for as long as possible.
Area Rug Care Tips
- Don’t worry if a new area rug has an odor; the smell will dissipate within a week or so. Let fresh air circulate through the room to speed the process.
- Limit the direct sunlight that hits the area rug, as sunlight fades the colors over time. If your rug is placed where the sun hits for an extended period, close your window coverings when you don’t need the light.
- Use rug protectors under the legs of heavy furniture.
- Rotate the area rug every few months to avoid exposing the same spots to the same traffic patterns and weight from furniture legs for too long. This is the most important part of minimizing wear.
- Reverse roll the area rug if it has creases or it’s starting to curl.
- Vacuum the area rug once or twice per week to remove dirt, which can quickly get ground in, as well as foreign matter that can damage the fibers when stepped on. Use handheld attachments to prevent loosening or pulling out fibers with too much suction or the vacuum’s beater bar. Be careful not to vacuum fringes or linger over finished edges.
- Brushing is the best way to remove pet hair from an area rug.
- Wool and certain other types of area rugs can be expected to shed a little. This usually stops over time, and vacuuming helps.
- Clean spills up immediately so they don’t have time to stain. Always blot; never rub.
- Check the label to determine whether you can machine wash a smaller area rug. If so, follow the instructions for an occasional cleaning on delicate. Only machine wash when necessary, though, as the process will fade colors and weaken the rug’s structural integrity over time.
- After washing, thoroughly dry an area rug before returning it to the floor. If the underside is still damp, this can lead to mold, mildew, unpleasant odors, and possibly floor damage.
- When it’s time for a spot-clean or a deep clean, use a carpet cleaning solution that’s safe for your area rug’s material; check the rug and cleaning product labels, and the internet if necessary. If you’re using a solution for the first time, test a tiny quantity of it on the rug before applying more widely.
- If you have a handmade rug, use a carpet cleaning professional rather than cleaning it yourself.
- Consider placing a rug pad under area rugs. Not only does the extra padding provide more comfort, it also helps prevent slips, reduce wear, increase circulation, and protect the floor.
- Take steps to prevent high humidity in any room with an area rug, as the atmospheric moisture will break down many material fibers over time.