We all come to a point in our lives when we want to have something beautiful in our homes. For some it’s a nice TV, for others – new kitchen or living room furniture, and for some it’s a nice area rug made of luxurious materials. Having a special type of rug in your home makes it look brighter, and the entire interior becomes more sophisticated.
But these rugs also require special attention and regular care. So, keeping the care tags in a drawer somewhere is a must because this way you can remind yourself what to do and what not to do when cleaning it. Here are some additional cleaning tips for special rugs, which you might find useful.
Woven and braided rugs
Regular maintenance: These are probably the most popular types of rugs lately. But the fact that they are braided makes the cleaning a little difficult. Of course, having a modern washing machine can make absolutely everything a lot easier. First, you should remember to always check for stitching breaks before and after the cleaning. After that you should remember to check the labels on a small-braided rug, to make sure that it’s washable. If it is, you just need to place the rug in a zippered laundry bag or a pillowcase and wash it with cool water and on a gentle cycle without much detergent. If it’s absolutely necessary, you can tumble dry it on the lowest setting. If the rug is large-braided, then you should put it on a concrete or vinyl floor and place an old blanket or rag beneath it. Then you can get a sponge and apply some commercial carpet cleaning foam on the surface. Rub it gently according to the instructions on the product label. Finish the cleaning process by rinsing the product or vacuuming it away. The rug must be completely dry before you place it on the floor.
Stain removal: In case of stains, you can use an easy homemade trick to remove them:
- First, you’ll need to spread some baking soda onto the stain and use an old toothbrush to embed the soda into the rug.
- Get some white distilled vinegar and pour it.
- Leave it to foam, and when it’s done, use the toothbrush to gently scrub until the stain starts to fade.
- Leave for another 10 minutes, then wipe the stain out with a damp towel.
* Try to work in the same direction as the braids rather than against them, to avoid damage to the structure of the rug.
** If the stain is old, you might have to repeat the whole process.
*** Ammonia can also be used on woven and braided rugs, but only if the dyes are color fast.
Handmade, antique, hand-knotted and Oriental rugs
Regular maintenance: The Oriental rugs can be vacuumed. For delicate vintage and antique rugs, you will have to put a little more effort to preserve them. You can protect them from the vacuum cleaner by placing a special nylon screen over the rug and using weights like books and bricks to keep it in place. Then use the vacuum over the screen. Or, you can attach a piece of mesh nylon to the head of the vacuum cleaner and vacuum the rug this way. Remember to change the mesh frequently, because all the dirt will accumulate on it. These types of rugs should also be professionally cleaned about once a year. Remember to rotate the rugs to wear them evenly. Direct exposure to sun can cause discolouring, so be careful.
Stain removal: You’ll need to act quickly. As soon as you make a stain, you need to blot it with a clean WHITE absorbent towel or some napkin (don’t use coloured ones, because colour run-off is a common issue with these rugs). As for the cleaning product, you can either use the mildest detergent you can find in the store, or just plain warm water in a spray bottle. You can also use soapy water or a vinegar solution, but make sure there is very little soap or vinegar, because large amounts can damage the fibres. Also, before you use any solution, first you need to test it on small part of the rug (preferably a corner), because some of these rugs contain dyes that react to common cleaning materials, which causes the colour to fade or smear. Avoid scrubbing the stain at all costs. The only allowed moves here are spraying, blotting and pressing the stain with a towel for a few minutes. After you remove the stain, dry the rug immediately. Many people even get portable deep cleaners for these rugs, because all they do is spray the stain and then extract everything using suction
Rush, coir, sisal and grass rugs
Regular maintenance: Rugs made from these natural materials are very specific, because they have an open weave, which allows the dirt to sift through it and settle directly on the floor beneath it. In this case the rug maintenance would include daily vacuuming, and removing of the rug, so you can vacuum the space beneath it. Also, many of these rugs are with two sides, which can be used as a top, so you can flip it frequently to provide an even wear.
Stain removal: To clean stains of such rugs, you will need some soapy water and a soft-bristled scrub brush:
- Dip the brush in the water and gently scrub the stains until they disappear.
- Rinse everything away with some water.
- Place a towel over the wet spot and try to blot as much of the moisture as possible. You can also use a hairdryer to help you dry it faster.
*Have in mind that water weakens these fibers, so you need to act quickly and dry thoroughly.
Sheepskin, fur and hair-on rugs
Regular maintenance: Not many people own such rugs nowadays, but it’s still a good idea to mention them, because keeping these rugs clean is a very specific task. The best thing you can use here is unscented talcum powder twice a year. Just spread some of it over the entire rug, leave it to work for a couple of hours, and then shake it out. Repeat this a couple of times, depending on the length of the fur. And if you want to clean the back of these rugs, you can use a clean and soft cloth dipped in lukewarm, soapy water. Use the cloth to wipe all the dirt and dust away. Then rinse the back of the rug with a new cloth, dipped in clean water this time. Allow it to dry completely before placing it back on the floor. Avoid direct heat or sunlight.
Stain removal: The unique organic structure of these rugs makes stain removal extremely difficult. So difficult that most people prefer to leave the cleaning to a professional leather cleaning company or establishment. If you have to do it by yourself, it’s important to use a mild, bleach and enzyme free detergent, because they can dry out the fur and crack the backing.
- Mix a small amount of the cleaner with 500 ml of warm water, put it in a spray bottle, then apply on the stain.
- Wait for a couple of minutes, then rinse the mixture thoroughly.
- Using a clean towel and some patting, remove the excess moisture and hang the rug to dry.
- Furry rugs need to be brushed twice after cleaning or stain removal – first when they are damp, and then once more when they are dry.
* To make your rug fluffier, shake it before placing it on the ground.