The oldest rug dates back to the 5th century B.C. It may be threadbare with moth-eaten edges, but it’s survived over two thousand years. Rugs are meant to last—and they can last a very long time with proper care and maintenance. That being said, most people don’t know the details on how to care for an area rug. Wait, there’s a wrong way to vacuum? Yep. And it depends on the kind of rug being cleaned. Below, we share essential tips for getting the most use (and dirt) out of your rugs!
How to Care for an Area Rug: Vacuuming Tips
Tip #1: Don’t Trust the Beater Bar
Foundation, fibers, and age all play a role in how to care for an area rug. Regardless of what kind of rug you have, you will want a vacuum with an optional beater bar. That’s right: don’t trust a beater bar. The aggressive motor behind the bar can actually damage the fibers of a rug. On rugs with thick foundations you might be able to get away with the lowest setting. Even so, it’s best not to use a beater bar regularly. And never use one on a tufted rugs or rugs with fringe! It’s not uncommon for the bar to tear tassels straight off.
Tip #2: Master Stroke
With a thick foundation rug, it is advisable to use a traditional, upright vacuum. Move in a back and forth motion across the width of the rug. For rugs with a thinner foundation, it’s better to use an upholstery attachment. In this case, you’ll want to move in the same direction of the pile—never against. After a single stroke, return to the top and make another pass in the same direction.
Tip #3: Brush Off Delicate Face Yarns
On antique and silk rugs you can also use the upholstery attachment. However, for particularly delicate rugs or those hung on a wall for decoration, consider hand cleaning with a soft horsehair brush. As long as these rugs receive a regular brushing, you can do this quite gently. The idea is to dust off the soil before it ever has the chance to penetrate fibers.
Tip #4 Make it Routine
Rugs ought to be vacuumed approximately every two weeks, although this varies depending on foot traffic and soil. In commonly used areas, it’s better to vacuum more often. In areas that see less traffic, you can get away with less vacuuming. Every couple of months, flip your rugs over and address the underside. At this point, it might actually be helpful to have a beater bar on hand. With woven rugs that have a strong foundation, the lowest setting can help knock dirt loose from the fibers.
How to Care for an Area Rug: Maintenance
Tip #1 Don’t Bug
Regularly vacuuming your rugs will help prevent bug infestations, especially if you’re attentive to the rugs underneath furniture. However, there are extra measures you can take to keep moths and carpet beetles at bay. Bugs that eat rugs tend to be averse to sunlight, so every few months, place rugs in direct sunlight. Moth repellant treatment is also an option, and it’s highly advisable if you intend to place a rug in storage for any length of time. It’s in dark and undisturbed places that bugs thrive most.
Tip #2 Immersion Washing
Every 2-3 years, it’s important to have your rugs professionally serviced. For one thing, vacuums can’t remove eggs if they’re deeply lodged in the fabric. For another, nothing gets a rug as clean as immersion washing. Zerorez’s immersion washing process is approved by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification and has the highest possible rating from The Carpet and Rug Institute.
Our process looks a little like this: The rug is submerged in a pool of water and soap is applied. We pay close attention to the chemistry of this soap because different fibers respond to different cleaning agents. The soap is lathered, sometimes by hand (we’re sticklers for quality). A roller is used to flush the water out of and away from the rug, pulling deeply-embedded dirt particles and any eggs with it. This rinsing process is repeated until the water runs clear. We finish the process off with special drying equipment that removes all moisture from a rug. In just a few hours, the equipment thoroughly dries the rug and it’s delivered back to homeowners.
Tip #3 Pads = Protection
Dirt and sand can wear on your rug over time and reduce their value. Investing in a good quality rug pad can extend the life of your rug. First, pads act as a shock absorber between the rug and the floor, preventing the underside from scuffing or microtearing when you walk over it. It also removes stress from the foundational layers of the rug. As a result, pads deter stretching and puncturing. It’s important to replace a rug pad before it breaks down. All rug pads deteriorate over time, as they endure the damage that would otherwise affect your rug.
If you have any questions about how to care for an area rug, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, reach out to us at zerorezie.com or 909-206-5374.