A Comprehensive Guide To Cleaning Your Rugs
Do you absolutely need a steam cleaner or a cleaning service to thoroughly clean your rugs? Not necessarily. If you know and use some of the tricks and DIY household remedies to keep your plush floor covering fiber-deep clean, in many cases, you will not need to use professional cleaning services.
Most people already have the means and potentially the appliances and devices for a deep cleaning of rugs at home. And even if you do not, there are quicker, less complicated and cheaper options than professional steam cleaners etc…
In this article, we are going to discuss MANY ways to ensure a thorough and seamless cleaning process for your area rugs. Ready? Let’s begin!
How to Clean Rugs Without a Steam Cleaner
This cleaning method proves that you can get a rug properly cleaned without buying or renting a steam cleaner.
What you need for this: A good quality vacuum cleaner, baking soda or detergent, a bucket, as well as a used toothbrush, a brush, a clean towel or cloth.
And this is how it works: First, carefully vacuum the rug to remove all of the loose dirt and dust. Then, fill the bucket with warm water and pick up your first cleaning utensil.
If you clean your rug with baking soda, you should cover all soiled areas (or, to avoid color blotches, the entire rug) with baking soda. When using detergent, one teaspoon per 1 to 2 sq. ft. is sufficient. Gently add some sprinkles of water, and the cleaning agent should now start to foam.
After a short period, 5-10 minutes, the area can then be carefully dabbed and gently rubbed with water using the cleaning utensil of your choice (cloth, toothbrush, cleaning brush). Caution, do not make the rug too wet, just moisten it as much as is necessary to remove stains.
Finally, let the rug rest and dry completely - ideally with a draft (e.g. open windows, fans or air conditioning). Rugs can also dry well outside on a clothesline. If the rug is completely dry, it should be vacuumed again.
Washing The Rug: Tips and Tricks
A rug made of natural fibers can generally be washed. If it is an oriental rug, however, do proceed with extreme caution. Rugs made from silk are very delicate and the yarn used is not always color-fast. There is always a risk of damage.
Washing Machine or Hand Wash?
For smaller cotton runners, washing is as easy as washing clothes in a machine. Just put it into the drum, pour in some washing machine detergent and select a gentle cycle without spinning. With pure cotton rugs, however, only the size can prevent you from machine washing it.
Larger rugs and rugs with different fibers MUST ALWAYS be hand washed. The transition between cleaning and washing is fluid. When washing a rug, it becomes completely soaked. This always brings in risk, as many of the rugs do not tolerate water well. Nevertheless, with the appropriate precautions, an oriental rug can also be washed by hand.
Step By Step Rug Hand Wash Process
Vacuum the rug and remove any loose dirt. Collect the lint, check the linking and any fringes for damage.
- Check For Color Fastness
Soak a clean, light-colored cloth with the selected cleaning agent or detergent and rub the rug surface in an area that will not be visible after (like for a test). If there is discolouration, stop washing and have the rug cleaned professionally immediately.
- Lay Out flat
Lay out the rug on a clean, smooth surface without creasing it. Ideally, the area is sheltered from wind and free from direct sunlight. If not possible, the rug can also be hung on a rug rod.
Carefully spray the rug with water without totally soaking it. The amount of water should be as close as possible to an even film of moisture.
- Brushing or scrubbing
Using a brush or proper scrubber, rub in the detergent with the line of rug fibers. Do not apply excessive pressure. Water lightly again. Brush out foam with stroking movements.
- Hang up
Hang or lay out the damp rug on a rug rod or slat without creases. Protect against extreme sun with a umbrella or awning.
Alternative Method For Cleaning Rugs Without Any Tools
This technique for cleaning rugs is perfect for removing simple spots with minor dirt. But if you use a sufficiently large brush (for example a classic scrubber), you can also deeply clean a complete rug by hand.
What you need for this: A brush with bristles (that are as stiff as possible) and rubber works best, a spray bottle, laundry liquid or cleaning agent, salt, baking soda and a few cleaning rags or terry towels.
This is how this cleaning method works:
Fill the spray bottle with warm water and add a small amount (really only a few drops) of detergent. Do not shake excessively, but mix well.
Then the areas to be cleaned should be generously sprinkled first with baking soda, then with salt. The stains do not have to be covered completely, but still sufficiently. After that, the same areas should be carefully moistened with soapy water. Then give it a few minutes (5-10) to react.
The cleaning brush comes next. However, you should only work with this in one direction - this way you can easily collect and pick up hair and other residue afterwards. If everything cannot be removed in one attempt, repeat this cleaning procedure, but start at a 90 ° angle to the previous brushing direction.
Now spread the cloths and rags on the rug (or the cleaned areas) and press them down a little so that they absorb the excess water. When the cloths have absorbed most of the moisture, replace the soap mix from the spray bottle with lukewarm water and carefully spray the rug again. Again, clean and dry cloths are pressed down to help dry the rug.
Tip: If you only clean isolated areas, you can also place a few heavier objects on the cloths and leave them there for a while to speed up the drying process.
Removing Stains: The Best Remedies for Rugs
There’s no way you or your kids can avoid spilling your orange juice or splashing tomato sauce on one of your rugs every now and then (let’s admit it, even the best of us have our bad days).
But how do you ensure a thorough removal of stains on your rugs? Here are 5 quick ways to do it right:
- Use a Rug Cleaner
Most rug cleaners are alkaline, which means that they contain lye. It is easy to clean rugs made of synthetic materials through rug cleaners. Natural fibers such as cotton and jute are more sensitive and can fade. Try the cleaner on a small area (as a test), like under the rug before treating the entire stain with it. Never use an alkaline rug cleaner on wool, leather and other animal fibers.
- Clean the Rug With Salt
Salt has proven to be very effective against red wine stains. Sprinkle the stain from the outside in and let it dry. The grains of salt soak up the liquid and after a few hours can simply be vacuumed off.
- Try Baking Soda
Baking soda or, alternatively, baking powder can both remove small stains and can be used for thorough cleaning of your rug. Sprinkle the powder on the spot, pour warm water over it and carefully dab the stain after a few hours.
- Wash Rugs in the Machine or By Hand
You can easily put textiles made of cotton, wool and synthetic fibers such as polyester in the washing machine at 85 degrees or wash the rug by hand. It is better to treat all other materials such as bast, sisal or coconut fiber only selectively with water and a suitable cleaner. Otherwise they can swell and lose their shape.
Also note that not every washing machine is big enough for your rug. Most drums hold a maximum of 17 pounds and can break if overloaded. In some laundromats, you can find washing machines with larger capacities.
- When in Doubt, Go to a Professional
If nothing else works or you are unsure which method is right for your rug, you can always go to a professional rug cleaner. Especially for the ones with sensitive materials such as leather or fur as well as valuable silk or designer rugs, experiments tend to cause frustration and don’t get the job done. It would be wise to spend a few bucks to get the rug cleaned properly and thoroughly.
Tip: Thorough, professional cleaning every two to three years is not only worthwhile for stubborn stains, but it also helps people who suffer from allergies or families with small children and/or pets.
Insider Tip: Rug Cleaning with Snow!
Who would have thought that snow is among the best cleaning agents that nature has to offer? Especially for outdoor fabrics such as floor mats or rugs, snow is ideal to get them clean. In addition, snow is so gentle that it does not damage handmade rugs or wool fibers. With a few helping hands, larger rugs can also be cleaned perfectly with this cleaning agent, which mother nature provides free of charge in the winter. Incidentally, the best cleaning results are achieved with powder snow.
To do this, first shake or knock the rug out thoroughly outdoors to remove as much coarse dust and loose dirt as possible. Then let the fabric get used to the temperature and let the rug lie outside for about 30 minutes before shoveling a 4-inch high layer of snow on it and spreading it evenly or laying it upside down in the snow.
Then you knock out the rug thoroughly - for example, with a rake, broom or a snow shovel. Ammonia in the snow will react with the cold air and harden deep-seated dirt. The snow should then be left on the rug for about 15 to 20 minutes before turning it over and repeating the whole procedure on the back. The rug should then be shaken well to remove as much excess snow as possible and hung up for just under half an hour. This allows the remaining snow between the fibers to evaporate without the rug getting wet.
We certainly hope these tips help.
Happy Rug Cleaning!