Dos and don’ts of washing rugs
5-step guide to washing rugs
Identify the rug type and check care instructions:
Before washing your rug, determine the material, size, and construction of your rug. Check the care label for specific cleaning instructions and recommendations. This will help you choose the most appropriate cleaning method and prevent potential damage to the rug.
Vacuum and pre-treat stains:
Thoroughly vacuum your rug on both sides to remove loose dirt and debris. If there are any stains, pre-treat them using a gentle rug cleaner or stain remover. Blot the stained area with a clean, white cloth, working from the outer edge toward the center to prevent spreading.
Choose the appropriate cleaning method:
Based on your rug type and care instructions, select the most suitable cleaning method. For small rugs, this may be machine washing on a gentle cycle with cold water. For larger rugs, consider using a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner. For delicate or antique rugs, consult a professional rug cleaner.
Clean the rug:
For machine-washable rugs, use a gentle detergent and cold water on a gentle cycle. For larger rugs, follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner. Work in sections to ensure thorough cleaning. If you’re spot cleaning, use a gentle rug cleaner and blot the area with a clean, white cloth.
Dry the rug:
Properly drying your rug is essential to prevent shrinkage or damage. If you’ve machine-washed your rug, either air-dry it or tumble dry on low heat. For larger rugs cleaned with a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner, make sure to extract as much water as possible during the cleaning process and then allow the rug to air dry completely. Avoid exposing your rug to direct sunlight for prolonged periods, as this can cause fading.
Can I wash my rug in a washing machine?
Some small rugs, particularly those made of synthetic materials, can be washed in a washing machine. Always check the care label to ensure it’s safe to do so.
How often should I clean my rug?
The frequency of rug cleaning depends on factors such as foot traffic, the presence of pets, and the rug’s location. Generally, you should vacuum your rug at least once a week and deep clean it every 12-18 months. High-traffic areas or homes with pets may require more frequent cleaning.
Can I use a carpet cleaner or steam cleaner on my rug?
Yes, carpet cleaners and steam cleaners are suitable for cleaning larger area rugs. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the cleaning equipment and solutions, and test an inconspicuous area of the rug for colorfastness before proceeding.
How do I dry my rug after washing it?
Allow your rug to air dry or tumble dry it on low heat, depending on the care instructions. Ensure the rug is thoroughly dry before placing it back on the floor to prevent mold or mildew.
How can I remove a stain from my rug?
Blot the stained area with a clean, white cloth, working from the outer edge toward the center. Use a gentle rug cleaner or stain remover and avoid scrubbing, as this can spread the stain and damage the fibers.
Can I wash an antique or hand-woven rug?
Antique, hand-woven, or delicate rugs require special care and should be cleaned by a professional rug cleaner to avoid damage.
How do I prevent my rug from fading or wearing out quickly?
Rotate your rug periodically to ensure even wear and prevent sun damage. Regular vacuuming and prompt stain removal can also help prolong your rug’s lifespan.
Can I wash an outdoor rug?
Yes, outdoor rugs can typically be cleaned with water and mild soap. Hose down the rug, gently scrub with a soft brush and soap, then rinse and allow it to air dry. Check the care instructions for your specific rug before cleaning.