Erin Doman on August 17, 2016 3 Comments Area rugs serve a number of different functions in your home. Not only do area rugs add beauty, style and elegance to any room, but these rugs can also help boost the life of your carpet, especially if you place them in areas of high traffic. Rugs also soften places in the home that have hard wood or tile. A good area rug can make you feel comfortable, and it is important to care for it properly. Use the following tips to keep your rugs looking brand new so they last longer. Vacuuming Schedule and Tips Click Here to View All Upright Vacuum Cleaners Rugs, like carpet, should be vacuumed often and in a particular way. Be sure to know what your area rug is made of in order to decide how best to go about vacuuming. Follow these carpet and rug cleaning tips to make the most of your time spent with the vacuum cleaner. What is the best vacuum for cleaning area rugs? If you have ever shopped for a vacuum, you know that there is a huge variety of different vacuum types, each one with its own strengths and weaknesses. But which one is best for vacuuming an area rug? To determine this, you must know whether your rug is tufted, shag, or woven. Tufted: A tufted area rug is nonreversable, typically with a latex-coated back. While these rugs may appear sturdy enough, know that the latex backing can easily break down if put under enough stress, such as with a rough vacuuming. These rugs also have a looser pile, meaning more dirt tends to get caught in the fibers, making them difficult to clean. To vacuum these rugs, use a powerful upright vacuum, but take extra care to go in the direction of the pile to avoid damaging the fragile foundation. Do not beat this rug to dust it, as this can damage the latex. Shag: A shag area rug is characterized by its long pile. Use a wet/dry vacuum for this rug. Do not vacuum the back of this rug, as it is easy to pull out the fibers, damaging your rug. Woven: A woven area rug has visible knots on the back mirroring the design on the front of the rug. It is okay to use a more powerful vacuum cleaner if your woven rug is fairly sturdy. If your rug is less sturdy, use an upholstery vacuum attachment or a handheld vacuum to safely clean this rug. Based on these guidelines, we have determined that the best vacuums to use to clean your area rugs are handheld vacuums, upright vacuums with upholstery attachments and wet/dry vacuums. All rugs are created a little differently. Some have larger piles and others are designed out of heavy coarse material. While technically you can use any vacuum on nearly any rug, it is important to change the settings accordingly. If you are vacuuming a thick, oriental style rug, then you probably need to allow for a larger height. If the rug is a thin, outdoor rug, make sure to lower the height. When you adjust the settings based on each rug, you will get a more effective clean. How often should I vacuum my area rug? It is a good idea to vacuum once a week, and even more if you have pets. Regular vacuuming helps eliminate dust and dirt along these areas. It can also promote a cleaner, healthier surface for you to walk on and sit on. Even more, when you vacuum your area rugs often, they usually last longer. This is because dirt is less likely to build up in the fibers of the rug, which can cause structural damage. Since cleaning is time consuming, many people rush to finish their vacuuming. It is common to roll over each area of the carpet and rugs one time. One push of the vacuum may not be effective at cleaning the rug. This is particularly true if you have pets. Instead, go over each spot multiple times for a better result. When you do this, the vacuum is more likely to suck away the dirt and debris on the rug. How do I avoid damaging my rug? When you are vacuuming your area rugs, it is a good idea to use caution around delicate spots, such as the outer edges. Since rugs are not secured to the floor like carpet, it is easier to ruin the construction of the rug. If you are not careful, the suction on the vacuum can pull apart the binding on the outside. Vacuums can also ruin the fringe on a rug. To avoid these problems, concentrate most of your vacuuming efforts along the center of the rug. Then, slowly move towards the outer edges. If you need to, you can use the attachments to vacuum the sides of the rug, or consider using a hand vacuum. Don’t neglect the back of your rug! Most people do not realize they should vacuum the back of their rug. The dirt and dust from the floor can build up underneath the binding. When this happens, it is more likely to wear out. Although you do not need to vacuum both sides of the rug every time, make an effort to do so occasionally. If you have a reversible rug, it is smart to turn it over every year. This will help it hold up longer, and it often makes it easier to clean. If you wait too long to turn the rug over, it might get too dirty. The Deep Cleaning Process Although vacuuming is effective at removing the majority of dirt from your area rugs, it is smart to deep clean them on occasion. Whether you plan to wash your rug by hand or use a steam vacuum, be sure to follow these tips to ensure that you clean your area rugs in the most effective way. Click Here to View All Steam Vacuum Cleaners What are the best tools for deep cleaning my rugs? Many people place smaller rugs in their washing machine. Be sure to use a gentle cycle with cold water, and do not wash the rug with other items. Do not use your dryer to dry the rug; instead, hang your rug up in the shower or outside to let it dry. This will prevent your rug from losing its original shape and prevent any heat damage to the fibers. If the rug is larger, you may be able to clean it at the laundromat. Your local dry cleaner will likely offer carpet cleaning services as well. Oriental rugs need special deep cleaning attention, for which you can hire a professional. If you plan on cleaning your rugs all on your own (and without the help of a washing machine), know that there are a couple of things you can do. Spot cleaning is the easiest: all you need is a clean rag, a scrubbing brush and the appropriate cleaning solution. For this method, all you need to do is follow the instructions listed on the cleaning solution regarding how long you should let the mixture sit on the stain before you need to (if at all) blot it up. That being said, if you are looking to deep clean a large area rug and do not want to take it to a professional, you can always rent or buy a steam vacuum or shampooer to pull those tough stains out. These machines are specially designed to restore your rug back to normal without causing damage. How often should I deep clean my area rugs? You can deep clean your rugs as needed, but it is widely recommended that you do so at least once a year. As for smaller stains, be sure to clean them as soon as the stain happens. The sooner you act, the more likely you will avoid damage to your area rug. You can rinse the rug with water or try a more effective stain remover. Just make sure to test the stain remover before you spread it around the entire rug. Also, try not to wait too long before cleaning the new stain. If you do, it will be more difficult to remove. How do I know my deep cleaning solution is safe to use? If you decide to deep clean your area rugs, make sure to test the cleaning products in an area that is not extremely visible. Some products can ruin the texture of the rug or cause the colors to fade. Testing first can prevent you from ruining an entire rug. It can be tempting to use any old store bought carper cleaning product on your area rugs. However, some of these products have been known to actually ruin the dyes in rugs. They can cause the rug bleed or discolor if you are not careful. There are gentler home remedies for your rugs that are just as effective. In many cases, you can mix warm water with a mild detergent for an easy cleaning solution. Should I shampoo my rug? While rug shampooing is an effective method for cleaning rugs, it is important to use precautions. The rug needs to dry in 24 to 48 hours. If it does not dry within this time, there is a risk of mold buildup. To prevent this from happening, make sure that you do not over saturate the rug. Aim to use just as much water as needed to clean the rug and no more than that. After shampooing your rug, it is important to leave it in a safe place to dry. Avoid walking on the rug until it is dry. When you walk on a rug while it is wet, the rug will probably get dirty again. Area rugs are an important part of your interior. With proper care, you will be able to clean and protect them so they last longer. The better you care for your rugs, the nicer they will look and the longer they will last!