Area Rug Cleaning & Maintenance
Walk All Over That Rug.
It’s important to understand that even though a handmade rug is valuable, it’s made to be used. Don’t keep it covered in plastic like Aunt Edna’s sitting room sofa. With usage, most handmade rugs gain a certain patina that enhances their beauty and value. If you’re not going to enjoy it, why have it?
Vacuuming Is Good
You should vacuum or sweep your area rug as you would wall-to-wall carpeting. Watch the fringes. You don’t want to have to pull them out of the vacuum cleaner. Handmade area rugs can benefit from being turned over and vacuumed. Lift the rug up carefully and you will see all the dirt that has filtered down. Yuck!
Turn, Turn, Turn
Rotating your rug occasionally (annually) will help even wear patterns and prevent uneven fading. When rugs are exposed to the sun evenly, the colors harmonize and the rug ages nicely. If parts of the rug receive too much or too little of sun, one side might fade faster than the other.
See Spot? Go!
Clean your area rug immediately after a spill. A water spill should be dried with a hairdryer set on a warm temperature. Try to dry both sides of the rug if possible.
Anything else should first be blotted with paper towels to absorb as much as possible, and then apply salt or baking soda to the spot for a few minutes to absorb the rest. Once it dries, vacuum off the salt or baking soda. Professional grade rug cleaners are available. Be sure to test for color fastness before using.
Take the rug to a professional handmade rug cleaner to deal with old or persistent stains. Do not try to clean it yourself. You might make it worse!
Read The Labels And Listen To The Pros
If you purchased a handmade rug, it’s best to have it cleaned by professionals. If you have a machine made rug, look to the manufacturer for the best way to clean it. Some can be machine washed. Others can be scrubbed by hand and dried outside.
Does Your Rug Need Padding?
Consult with your retailer about the proper padding to be placed under the area rug you choose. A pad can help stabilize and protect your rug. Some rugs come with a non-skid backing or a nice foam padding already attached.
If your area rug needs to be stored for a long time in a place without exposure to light or air, first vacuum it or get it professionally cleaned. For handmade rugs and those made of natural fibers, you might consider packing it with mothballs to protect against insect damage.
Never fold your rug — roll it. And store it in a dry location.
Repairing a handmade rug is an art form in and of itself. It is time consuming and labor intensive and therefore, often costly. Get the opinion of a professional before you have work done on a handmade rug— and be sure to use a reputable repairman.