Maintaining a clean home is important, not only for creating a better atmosphere, but for protecting your family and your belongings as well. Just as everything else in your home needs a good cleaning from time to time, your rugs should be routinely maintained and protected for years of beauty, comfort and function. However, cleaning rugs can be tricky and should be done carefully to ensure effectiveness without causing permanent, irreversible damage. So, how do you know when it’s time for a thorough cleaning and what’s the best way to do it at home?

Reasons for Cleaning Your Rugs

Sprucing up your rugs does help improve their appearance. Removing layers of dirt can prevent colors and patterns from looking dull, keeping those hues vibrant and well defined. It also helps remove unsightly stains and spots for a more uniform look. Perhaps even more importantly, cleaning your rugs can help eliminate irritating allergens and harmful bacteria, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. It can also help freshen up your home by reducing or eliminating musty smells and odors.

If you start to notice a dirty or dull appearance that doesn’t improve with vacuuming, it’s probably time to clean your rug. Unpleasant scents can also signal that it’s time to address this area of your home. If an accident occurs, such as a large spill or pet stain, it’s usually best to clean the entire rug right away rather than do a large spot treatment.

Cleaning a Rug Step-By-Step

Once you’ve determined that it’s time to clean your rugs, you’ll want to follow some important procedures to ensure better results. By using the right techniques in the right order, you’ll be able to achieve a more thorough clean without causing harm to your rug.

An Important Warning

Rugs are an investment in your home. Even if you try only the gentlest products and use a careful technique, it is still possible to ruin your rug. Certain rugs should only be cleaned by professionals.

Be sure to determine what materials your rugs are crafted from. Water can cause permanent staining or shrinkage to certain textiles. Others may not do well with brushing or scrubbing since it can damage the weave or fibers themselves. Research the types of rugs in your home and when in doubt, call a professional for an evaluation or treatment.

Seven Steps to a Thorough Clean

When you’re ready to clean your rugs at home, follow these steps in order. This way, you’ll be more likely to achieve a deep-down clean without causing problems down the road.

1. Find an outdoor spot to treat your rug.

A driveway or patio is a good choice for cleaning rugs but make sure the area is prepped first. If these locations have any staining or residue, start by sweeping, pressure washing or hosing them down. Laying down a tarp and securing it in place is a wise choice, and can also make it possible to clean your rug in a grassy area. It’s best to do this in the morning on a hot, sunny day so your rug can dry faster.

2. Remove loose dust and dirt.

Once your outdoor area is prepped, give your rug a good vacuuming. Be sure to flip it over and vacuum the underside as well. Next, drape your rug over a fence or secured ropes and give it a good beating with a broom. This can help shake loose some of the embedded dirt and dust, making it easier to clean once the water is applied.

3. Assess your cleanser options.

Test out your chosen carpet cleaner in a small, inconspicuous spot. Consider where your rug is normally positioned in your home. If any part is usually hidden under a piece of furniture then it’s the perfect section to use for testing out a shampoo. Wet the chosen area, keeping it as small as possible, follow the instructions for the cleanser and rinse clean. Allow it to dry for a few minutes and check for any damage. If the colors and fibers are still intact, continue to the next step.

4. Rinse, shampoo and scrub the rug.

Using your water hose, choose a high pressure setting and sweep the water over the entire surface of the rug. Take your time, as the concentrated stream of water can help loosen stains and debris. Once the rug is thoroughly saturated, apply the shampoo as instructed. Using a brush that’s safe for the material, use gentle circular motions to massage the suds into the fibers and loosen buildup. Work in small sections, moving from left to right, top to bottom to ensure you don’t miss any areas. Otherwise, choose a different product or call a pro.

5. Rinse thoroughly using a high-pressure stream of water.

Some rug shampoos should be allowed to set so the foam can penetrate deeper into the fibers. Others should be rinsed right away. Follow the instructions for your chosen cleanser and rinse accordingly. Once again, utilize a high-pressure water stream to remove all soap and debris. You may need to repeat this step a few times until no soapy residue remains.

6. Allow the rug to dry completely.

At this point, you’ll have a very heavy, fully soaked rug. Try to manually remove as much water as possible by utilizing a squeegee or a water safe vacuum. Just be sure the tools are completely clean and won’t leave any residue on your freshly cleaned rug. For smaller rugs, you may be able to wring or squeeze sections to release excess water.

Next, drape the rug over a sturdy, clean section of fence or rope and allow it to air dry in the sun. You can also lay it flat to dry, but be sure to flip it every so often onto a clean, dry surface. Do not bring your rug back into your home until it is completely dry. Otherwise, you could run the risk of mold and mildew growth, sour or musty odors and damage to your floors.

7. Vacuum your rug one more time.

Once you’ve returned your rug to its designated spot, vacuum it one last time to remove any outdoor dust and dirt. This will also help soften and release any fibers that may have stiffened during the cleaning process. Be sure to vacuum the underside first.

The Safer, Easier Way to Clean

While it is possible to clean your rug at home, it can be a difficult and lengthy process. In addition, it may cause irreversible damage to your beloved items. If you have a larger rug, limited outdoor space or a rug made from sensitive materials, contact our experts at Safe-Dry® Carpet Cleaning. We’re committed to giving you safe, stress-free and affordable options for keeping your floors and rugs looking their best.