Tip #1: Area Rug Cleaning
To clean an area rug, take it outside and give it a vigorous shake. You might even hang the carpet from a clothesline and beat it with a broom. This beating will remove loose surface dust as well as dirt clinging to the underside of the rug itself. Do the same for Oriental rug cleaning.
Adjust your vacuum cleaner's head to the proper height for the nap of the rug. Mats that are used by the front door and other such areas may collect more ground-in dirt and mud, so use a low-pile setting for the vacuum when cleaning these carpets. A lower setting will help remove debris that's caught in the fibers of those rugs and ensure they're as clean as possible. Be sure to lift the edges of the area rug and vacuum around its sides, and sponge off any stains you see on its backside.
Tip #2: How to Clean Shag Rugs
Shag rugs are back in style these days, and especially for bedrooms and other areas where you want ultimate softness and comfort underfoot. To clean fluffy or shag rugs, use a vacuum without a roller or beater bar. A brush or roller under a vacuum cleaner's head can cause long fibers of a shag rug to become tangled or knotted.
A better choice for cleaning fluffy or shag rugs is to use an upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner hose. An upholstery brush or head won't have a beater bar or roller to get tangled in carpet fibers, making it a much safer choice for any rug with a high nap. You might also invest in an upholstery attachment with a narrow, pointed front. You can then use this attachment to clean between rows of fibers, removing ground-in dirt, pet hair, and the like.
Tip #3: How to Clean a Rug With Spots and Stains
No matter how strict you are about not allowing food or drinks in carpeted areas of the home, your rugs will eventually suffer spots and stains! Note a few tips for cleaning spills and other debris from your home's carpets and rugs:
- Address the spill or stain as soon as possible. Spills can be quickly absorbed by a carpet's matting and underside, making it more difficult to remove that liquid thoroughly. Food and other such debris can also cause permanent stains if allowed to dry on a carpet's fibers. The faster you address these spills, the more likely it is that you'll avoid permanent stains with area rug cleaning.
- Blot stains and spills with a dry, absorbent cloth pressed firmly into the carpet's fibers. Avoid rubbing the spot in any direction as this can make a stain much larger! Once you've blotted as much of the spot or spill as possible, switch to a wet absorbent towel to remove even more the residue.
- For liquid spills, sprinkle baking soda on the area and let it dry. Baking soda will absorb liquid from the carpet's fibers, so you can then vacuum up this residue. A thorough vacuuming should remove all of the moisture from the carpeting.
- For food stains and other such debris that won't come up with a damp cloth alone, use a store-bought carpet shampoo or stain remover and follow the directions on the bottle very carefully. Avoid brushing the stain as much as possible, even after applying the shampoo. You may need to use the detergent more than once before the stain comes clean. Use a product meant for Oriental rug cleaning in particular, if necessary.
Tip #4: Homemade Rug Cleaning Stain Removers
Store-bought carpet stain removers often have strong, bothersome smells that linger in the air long after their use, and you may not want to buy a full bottle of stain remover to address one small spot on your carpeting! Note a few tips on making and using homemade remedies for cleaning spots, spills, and other stains from carpets and rugs:
- Use beer to remove coffee and tea stains! Splash a bit of beer onto the stain and gently blot the area dry. The carbonation in beer will gently lift the spot and neutralize its acidity, bleaching out its color. Once the area is blotted dry, use a damp cloth and blot some more, to remove all traces of the coffee or tea.
- Mix a few tablespoons of salt into a half cup of white vinegar and blot this mixture on a light carpet stain. Use a damp cloth to blot some more, removing the paste and the spot along with it.
- For heavy and set-in stains, mix white vinegar and cornstarch until it creates a thick paste. Blot this paste onto the stain and then use a damp cloth to remove the residue. Be sure to vacuum the area once it's dried, to remove all traces of the cornstarch.
- Salt naturally absorbs greasy spills. If you spill any oil, salad dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, and the like onto a carpet, cover the area with salt and rub the granules in the direction of the carpet's nap. Vacuum up the salt, and this should leave you with a clean and dry rug.
- A small bit of liquid dish soap dissolved in warm water can also remove many spots and stains from carpeting. Avoid using cleansers with lotions and ensure the detergent is thoroughly dissolved before applying it to the rug. Use a clean, damp cloth on the spot to remove the detergent and the spilled residue with it.
Tip #5: How to Clean a Wool Carpet
Wool carpeting is a favorite choice for many homes since the material is so durable and makes a space warm and cozy. However, wool is also difficult to clean and needs extreme care when being shampooed. Avoid using hot water on wool carpets; as with wool clothing, hot water can make a wool rug shrink and pull away from its matting or the walls of a room.
To clean a wool rug, blot white vinegar onto a stain and then use a damp cloth to wipe the area dry. If the white vinegar doesn't work, invest in a product meant for wool rug cleaning in particular. Follow the direction on the bottle and avoid brushing the carpet, so that you don't shred the wool fibers or ruin the rug's weave. If a store-bought product doesn’t get the carpet clean, arrange for professional rug cleaning rather than repeatedly using a harsh detergent on your wool rugs.
Tip #6: How to Keep Carpeting Clean Every Day
Cleaning spots and spills from your home's rugs is not tricky, but of course, the best thing you can do to keep carpets in good condition is to avoid those stains in the first place! Other than removing your shoes at the door and not eating or drinking in rooms with carpeted floors, you might note a few tips on keeping rugs clean and looking their best every day:
- Install an air purifier or filter in the home, or use a plug-in filter in the room you occupy the most throughout the day. An air purifier will trap dust, dirt, and other debris so that it doesn't settle onto the floors and get caught in the room's carpeting.
- Have the home's vents and air ducts cleaned by a professional on a regular basis. Ductwork is often full of dust, pet hair and dander, human hair, and other irritants that will get blown into a room every time you use the air conditioner or furnace. Regular, professional cleaning will remove this residue and keep carpets clean.
- Vacuum your carpets often, even daily. Change the filter in your vacuum cleaner when needed. Empty the vacuum canister or bag after every use, to avoid having dust and debris from the vacuum settle onto the home's carpeting as you clean them.
- Hire a rug cleaning service when needed, rather than allowing spots and stains to become permanent.
Tip #7: Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Your Home's Carpets
Whether you're just cleaning a small spot on an area rug or want to shampoo all the carpeting in your home, consider some common mistakes to avoid during this process. Knowing how to clean a rug and avoid these mistakes will ensure those rugs are cleaned thoroughly and adequately and without damage.
- Avoid overly vigorous scrubbing, even on tough spots and stains. Scrubbing carpets, especially with a stiff-bristled brush, will flatten fibers and cause them to become threadbare and worn. If an area of discoloration doesn't come clean with blotting and gentle scrubbing, switch to a stronger cleaning solvent or have a professional address the stain for you.
- Avoid using too much water when cleaning carpets, and especially if you decide to shampoo your home's rugs with a rented machine. Excessive amounts of water can make its way to the underside of carpets, allowing mold and mildew to grow.
- Be sure to thoroughly rinse detergents and cleansers from a carpet or area rug. Detergent residue will weight down carpet fibers, making them look flattened and dull, and is often quite sticky, attracting and trapping dirt. Your rugs may then look dirtier than before you cleaned them!
A homeowner should also ensure that they rely on a professional for rug cleaning on a regular basis. Professional rug cleaning removes dust and dirt that a household vacuum cannot remove, as well as any mold and mildew forming on the underside of the carpeting and along its padding. Professional cleaning can also include odor neutralizing services so that your home's carpets smell as clean as they look!