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Area Rug Cleaning Tips

Carpet Cleaning Tips

Your carpeting can be a showcase for any room in your house. Rugs protect your floors and your feet, adding softness and color to virtually any room. Did you know that properly cleaned and maintained carpet will last almost twice as long? Learn what the experts do to keep your carpet looking clean and new for years to come.

Caring for an area rug in your home isn’t difficult, but you do need to put the effort in. Use these carpet cleaning tips for long-lasting, beautiful rugs in every room of your house.

How to Clean a Carpet Rug By Hand

  • Vacuuming

    While you cannot completely eliminate dirt, it’s easy to stay on top of it. Regular vacuuming is the best way to keep your carpets clean and free of dirt. No matter how affordable or expensive your rug can cost, regular vacuuming is a must to keep the rug in top condition. In addition, vacuuming your rug at least once a week is manageable depending on what area of the house it resides, but twice a week is optimal.

    Before you run your vacuum, set it at the right height. If you set your vacuum rollers too low, you risk damaging the carpet. Start with the vacuum rollers at their top height, then gradually lower it until you feel the vacuum begin to tug at the carpet fibers.

    Always start with a clean bag or filter. A dirty one can reduce the suction power of your vacuum by upwards of half. Be sure to vacuum at the right speed, making sure not to go too fast. Go slow enough to pick up the dirt, but not so slow that you can’t pick up the dirt.

  • Clean stains properly

    Before you start to clean your rug, always check for rips or tears. Check again once you have finished. You can generally tumble dry any woven or braided rug on low and lay it out on a blanket or a towel to complete the process. If the rug cannot be put in the machine, using approved carpet cleaner foam, wiping the area clean and vacuuming it up is an acceptable method. If you can get to the stain immediately, there is a good chance that you can remove it. The longer a stain sits, and reacts chemically with the carpeting, the greater the likelihood is that it will become permanent.

    A handful of stains and spills are pretty easy to get out of most fabrics. For stubborn ones, a deep clean may be necessary and a professional clean is a good option to keep your rugs in optimum condition. For some rug materials you can buy a steam carpet cleaner, but always make sure that it is safe enough for use on your specific type of rug.

    Never scoop or dig wet food spills. Doing this can work the stain deeper into the carpet. Use a shop vacuum on wet spills. Keep vacuuming until no more liquid comes up. Use water first--eighty percent of stains can be cleaned using plain tap water. Tougher stains may require you to use vinegar or club soda. Try these before using harsh chemical products. Blot, never scrub the stain.

    For a deeper clean, use a carpet shampooer. Carpet shampooers or steam cleaners use a process that involves injecting a cleaning solution deep within the carpet fibers. The machine then extracts the solution, along with dirt and debris. Experts recommend doing this once every 6 months.

  • Carpet shampooing tips

    Use carpet shampooing machines carefully, using less soap than directed. Hurrying to get the job done can result in soap residue being left on the rug. If the carpet pad gets wet, it can mold or mildew. After you’re done, use a mild acid rinse to neutralize any soap residue left behind. Some rental machines come with their own. If yours does not, you can easily make your own at home using a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water.

    You can rent a steam cleaner at most grocery or home improvement stores, which tend to be on the larger side. Or, if you prefer, you can buy machines ranging in size and capacity, depending on your needs.

  • Clean the carpet before it gets really dirty

    The frequency at which you need to clean your carpet depends on the kind of traffic it gets. If you have kids or pets, you’ll need to clean it more often than if you don’t. If you wait until your carpet gets really dirty, cleaning it will be harder and take longer. You’ll even run the risk of permanent staining.

  • Pre-treat stains in high traffic areas

    Mix a drop of detergent with hot water in a spray bottle and lightly mist the dirtiest areas. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before starting the general cleaning.

Whether you clean your rugs by hand, or shampoo your carpets, taking care of your rugs will make you feel good. Keeping up with preemptive maintenance such as vacuuming, rotating and spot cleaning will ensure the life and beauty of your area rug will last for a long time.