How Can You Clean Rugs And Not Damage Them?
Having clean rugs in the home is something that all people desire, but don’t really do much about. The problem is, your area rug completes the room, but it also takes a central role in day-to-day life.
Foot traffic, pets, spillages and general daily grime take their toll when suddenly you notice, but the vacuum simply won’t have an effect. Not to worry though. Unless you have a simply enormous rug, or it happens to be incredibly delicate or an antique (in which case why are people walking all over it?), then professional cleaning is not always necessary.
Once you understand how to clean rugs you will be able to take on any cleaning job by yourself. We now take a look at how you can clean your rug and have it looking as good as the day you brought it home.
Determine Whether You Should DIY It
Before you dive right in, you need to know whether or not your rug actually needs professional cleaning. You don’t want to ruin your prized possessions for no reason. Antique rugs, Persian rugs and other rugs of this type should be sent to be dealt with by experts. As you may well know, they are expensive enough to buy in the first place so it pays to invest in the long term care to keep them looking good.
Realistically, you should only look to be cleaning your rugs when they are visibly dirty or smell.
Here are some of the tools you will need to get started when looking to clean rugs by yourself.
- Rug shampoo (or mild dish detergent)
- Soft-bristle brush or sponge
- Rubber gloves
- Garden hose
- Wet-Dry vacuum
Remove Dirt and Debris
Give your rug a good vacuum before you start to remove any loose dirt. If you have pets, then it is advisable to go over it with a brush attachment or pet brush to pick up any stubborn loose hairs.
Mix Your Cleaner
If you purchased a rug shampoo, follow the directions on the bottle for mixing. You can also use mild dish detergent mixed in a bucket with warm water. Do not use hot water as it can shrink the rug or cause fading. You can buy special rug cleaning shampoo from most supermarkets, but make sure you read the instructions first. If you are using this, then ensure you thoroughly read the label and instructions to make sure you will not cause any damage to fibres or colours, depending on your rug type.
If you can’t find any or don’t want to use a commercial brand rug cleaner, you can simply use a mild detergent mixed with warm water.
(Note. Be VERY careful when mixing chemicals at home. Mix the wrong ones and you can have incredibly dangerous gasses floating about your home. ALWAYS read the label and follow instructions.)
Do a Colour Test
Before you tackle the whole rug, make sure that your colours won’t run. You will want to test a small corner of the rug first. If the colour stays and doesn’t dilute or bleed then it is safe to move on to the next step.
Wash the Rug
Using a sponge or soft-bristle brush, work the cleaning solution into a lather on the rug. Let the cleaner sit on the rug for a few minutes before rinsing. Using a sponge or soft brush, create a lather from the cleaning solution on the rug using circle movements. Do this until the dirt and debris have been completely removed from the rug. Let it sit for a few minutes before you start to rinse it off.
Rinse the Rug
You will probably need to be doing this bit outside as it requires a fair bit of water. Rinse the rug out with a garden hose or with buckets of clean water. Keep going until you see the runoff is clear and their is no visible dirt of the rug.
Remove Excess Water
Your rug will doubtless be very wet at this point so will need some time to dry. You also want your rug to dry as quickly as possible to avoid and damage to the fibres. If you have a wet-dry vacuum, you can use this, if not, use a squeegee.
Let the Rug Dry
Lay the rug flat and allow to the top to dry completely. Flip over to let the bottom side dry. Fans can help speed up the process. Make sure the rug is fully dry before you return it to the room. You will need to find a space that you can lay the rug down flat in so that it can dry. Make sure that both sides are dry and you want to utilise a fan to assist with the drying process. Ensure it is fully dry before returning to the room.
It is actually quite simple and easy to clean rugs, so now you have the info, you should be able to manage all but the most delicate pieces yourself.
Do-It-Yourself Carpet-Cleaning Mistakes
In an ideal world, you would use professionals to clean rugs for you all the time, however that is not always feasible. The DIY approach, whilst cost effective, is never as efficient or proficient as a professional service. If you are not careful, you may also risk damaging the rug, which could lead to costly repair bills or even a replacement.
Here are the three most common ways in which people end up damaging their carpets when cleaning.
- Failing to protect the wet carpet from furniture
Over-shampooing: This can occur when too much shampoo is used or it is not properly rinsed out after cleaning. This can be an inevitably with some approaches and one of the reasons why you should always consult a professional before undertaking any job to clean rugs in your home. If not rinsed properly, you can get a build up of residue that is next to impossible to remove, leaving what should have been a clean rug as a dirt magnet.
Over-wetting:This is where too much water gets soaked into the bottom of the rug. Some back materials may leave discolouration if they get too wet and others will shrink, causing the rug to tear. If the backing of the rug gets too wet, then it may retain this and mildew may become a problem.
One of the major carpet cleaning issues that many people face is when a wet rug comes into contact with furniture. A lot of wood furniture will be stained, meaning that it will release the dye when it comes into contact with water and left for a period of time. Metal feet on furniture may also rust, leaving an immovable stain that you didn’t even know what there.
People who clean rugs themselves may face these issues as they often don’t remove the rug from its position or the furniture around it.
Tips To Keep Your Rugs Clean:
There are several things that you can do to ensure that your rugs stay clean and fresh all year round, so that major cleaning needn’t be a regular occurrence for you.
Major spillages on rugs need to be dealt with quickly and vacuuming your rugs should be a part of your regular housework.
Whilst rugs look great and can even tie a room together, they are also magnets for dirt, dust and other household grime. Studies have shown that if left uncleaned, rugs can contain millions of microorganisms, such as mold, pollen and dust mites. Regular maintenance will ensure that these things don’t build up.
Here are some top tips to ensure you have clean rugs all year round.
It may seem obvious, but many people don’t this. Clean your rugs with a vacuum on a weekly basis. This help to pick up and dirt and dust that have made their way there and will be easy to pick up and remove.
Give you rug a good shake before you do so to dislodge any grime that may be trapped in the surface fibres.
Don’t use the rotary brush too often on your rug as this may cause damage to some of the softer fibre rugs in your home. It may lead to further shedding and cause the breakdown of the rugs overall structure.
You may also find that there are antibacterial powders that you can use on your rug. These aren’t necessary but check the label before you use to avoid any issues.
Don’t ignore the rug’s underneath either as this needs cleaning roughly once a month.
Clean up spillages immediately
If you spill something on the rug, soak it up quickly to stop any deep penetration into the fibres.
Use a damp cloth and blot, don’t scrub as you may end up driving the spill in deeper. Keep blotting until you have soaked up all the liquid. Once cleaned, leave the rug to dry completely. It may take several hours to do this, so don’t be in a hurry to put it back down.
Some rugs are more stain repellent than others. Man made fibres tend to be the most repellent and other synthetics, such as nylon rugs, are easily steam cleaned. For especially tough stains you can use a mixture of white wine vinegar, washing liquid and warm water.
Should you get mud on the rug, the best thing to do is let it dry and vacuum up the hard bits before cleaning.
Try a washable rug
Some rugs can simply be added to the wash. Make sure you check with your rug dealer first to make sure it is machine-washable.
Protect from pets
If you have pets, you know how much they love to lie on the the rug. Purchase a rug specifically for them that is pet friendly. One that is a dark colour to hide their fur and a short pile that will hide any bite or scratch marks from view.
This guide should have you covered for everything that you could possibly want to know about how you can clean rugs and not damage them, as well as what you can do to protect them from damage in the future.