Where to start – A comprehensive guide to cleaning area rugs
Area rugs enhance the aesthetic appeal of a room, define different areas, and provide a warm feeling underfoot. Over time, area rugs need cleaning, whether made from materials like wool or synthetic fibers. However, cleaning an area rug on various types of flooring, such as hardwood, wall-to-wall carpet, or tile, is trickier than simply cleaning the rug in its current location. Read this step-by-step guide for cleaning area rugs like a pro.
Step 1: Vacuuming
- Vacuuming the rugs and carpets weekly is an excellent method for preventing stains in the first place. For rugs, vacuum with suction only and avoid rotating brushes. This is highly efficient in extracting dirt particles before they penetrate the rug.
Thoroughly vacuum both sides of the rug to eliminate debris. For this task, a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar is the most effective cleaning tool.
Step 2: Eliminating Odors
To eliminate odors and refresh your area rug, follow these steps:
- Generously sprinkle baking soda on the entire surface of the rug. The gentle abrasive quality of the baking soda helps loosen any embedded dirt.
- If the rug has long or plush fibers, carefully work the baking soda into the fibers down to the backing using a sponge mop.
- Allow the baking soda to sit on the rug for several hours, allowing enough time to absorb odors.
- Finally, vacuum the rug thoroughly to remove the baking soda and any lingering odors. This process will leave your rug smelling fresh and clean.
Step 3: Cleaning
- Clean the rug with a carpet shampoo or a detergent solution and water. Apply the shampoo using a sponge mop or a soft-bristled brush. Thoroughly moisten the carpet, but avoid excessive liquid, which may lead to oversaturation. For heavily stained areas, use a brush to dislodge the stubborn soil. Once you are done, dip the mop into fresh water and use it to rinse the fibers to remove soapy residue.
Most stains, especially dirt and food stains, can be eliminated with spot cleaning using this solution. However, if the stain is still visible, warm water and oxygen bleach can effectively remove the stains. Follow the directions on the product label and apply the solution to the stained area. Leave it for an hour to allow it to lighten the stain.
Step 4: Drying
- Now, it’s time to remove as much excess water from the rug as possible. You can do this by using a wet-dry vacuum or running a squeegee in the direction of the rug’s nap. Once the excess water is removed, lay the rug flat and allow the top surface to air dry thoroughly. Then, flip it over to allow the underside to dry as well.
Open windows and switch on ceiling fans to increase airflow and speed up drying. This will help speed up the drying of your rug. Flip the rug over once the surface feels dry, and let the backing dry. Depending on the size of the area rug, drying time can take up to 48 hours. Ensure the rug is thoroughly dry before placing it back on the floor.
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