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There are few things so cherished in a home quite like a fabulous rug. Whether it’s a one-of-a-kind find from your global excursions or something you fell in love with online, rugs tie an entire room together, making it feel more beautiful and establishing a natural flow.
While rugs don’t typically require a great deal of upkeep, they do require proper care, and they may need a little extra TLC while our houses are fuller and more bustling than usual. Experts from iconic rug brands Mansour, Merida, and New Moon Rugs shared their top tips for rug care with us so that you can keep yours looking as eye-catching as the day you bought it.
How to Clean a Rug, According to Experts
1. Beware of Chemical Cleaners
One resounding theme our experts shared with us is to avoid chemical cleaners. Erika Kurtz, COO of New Moon Rugs, says that the company’s motto is that with a good rug made with all-natural materials, less is always more.
“Do not use chemicals on a fine, hand-woven rug,” Kurtz says. “White bar soap or a few drops of dish soap mixed in warm water and blotted on with a tea towel is all you need. When drying, the rug should be lifted enough so that it can air-dry from both the top and bottom.”
Kurtz also advises steering clear from household cleaners or anything with “oxy” in the name when it comes to caring for your rug. She says that in some cases, the chemicals found in these cleaners will actually react with whatever has been spilled on your rug and end up bleaching or lightening the area. Furthermore, Kurtz says it’s wise to consult a professional for detailed stain removal.
“Synthetics like viscose and bamboo silk can be a bit trickier,” she says. “We recommend that people contact the manufacturer for rug-specific cleaning guidelines, because some synthetic fibers can be more temperamental and some do not react well to water.”
DIY Rug Cleaners
Experts from Merida advise mixing your own cleaning solutions in a spray bottle and misting them lightly on a stain. They shared three of their favorite solutions made with common household products, listed below:
Detergent Solution: Mix 1 teaspoon clear dishwashing liquid with 1 cup lukewarm water
Vinegar Solution: Mix ¼ cup white vinegar with ¼ cup water
Ammonia Solution: Mix 1 tablespoon clear household ammonia with ¼ cup water
2. React Quickly to Spills
“Before adding water, blot, vacuum, or scrape up as much of the spill or mess as possible,” Kurtz says. “Water can spread or increase the stain area if this is not done first, or make your cleanup more difficult.”
Experts from Merida advise immediately blotting the area with a clean, absorbent white towel. Yes, it’s important that it’s white!
“Don’t rub, as rubbing can cause damage by working the liquid deeper into the fibers or spreading it to a larger area,” a Merida representative tells us.
This tip is especially important for those with rugs made of plant fibers (think sisal, jute, abaca, and linen), as they should be dried as quickly as possible. This may be a job for your hair dryer if necessary!
“Everybody fears red wine stains,” says Benjamin Soleimani of Mansour. “I know this from personal experience. My trick for when this happens is to immediately pour white wine over the stain to dilute the spot. Put a towel over the stain, stomp on it, and leave it be for a day or two to let it completely dry up.”
Soleimani says you can also put something underneath the rug to prop up the stained area, allowing for more airflow underneath. Plus, you now have an excuse to pour yourself a glass of white wine!
3. Make Vacuuming Part of Your Weekly Routine
Establishing a regular vacuuming schedule is especially important for rugs placed in high-traffic areas. The team at Merida advises vacuuming twice a week in these areas, if you can, but otherwise stick to giving it a good weekly clean. Consider sticking to suction vacuum cleaners, as beater bar vacuums could damage the floor-covering material.
Soleimani says rugs partially covered by a large sofa or bed need some T.L.C. to ensure moths don’t nest in the dark spaces.
“Moths don’t like vacuums or light, so those hard-to-clean places on your rug need vacuuming every three months to ensure moths aren’t making a home there,” Soleimani says.
4. Even Rugs Deserve a Vacation
Soleimani says proper rug care also includes letting your rug air out away from other furniture, or, even better, out in the sunlight, for several days to help deter moths from nesting.
After moving your rug out from underneath furniture and vacuuming it, you can leave it in the middle of the room or, even better, in your outdoor living space to let it breathe and be exposed to light before finally washing it and setting it back in its proper spot. This may sound like a tedious task, but Soleimani says it’s absolutely worth it to preserve your rug from being eaten up.
5. Flip It and Reverse It
Merida’s rug experts advise occasionally moving your rug around — especially in areas like living and dining rooms where rugs get more use — to ensure it gets evenly worn. This should happen every six months to a year. It’s the perfect task to do after you’ve already removed your rug from its usual place and let it air out for a few days.
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