Dream Steam Blog

How to Take Care of Your Area Rug

Feb 23, 2021 1:58:28 PM / by Monika Morales


A great rug can make a space feel like home. You want to get the most out of your rug while keeping it looking as vibrant as when you got it. Whether it’s a new rug or a vintage piece, it needs special attention to keep it clean and enjoyable for many years.

Caring for Your Rug 


How you should take care of your rug depends a lot upon the material, structure, and age of it. However, all rugs have a few maintenance needs in common.



Vacuuming a rug is like vacuuming a carpet. It’s necessary to get out the dirt that has settled into your rug’s fibers. Be sure not to vacuum up any fringe or frayed edges, which can cause damage. If you’re concerned about the fragility of your rug, turn your vacuum on the lowest setting. If your rug has woven or open fabric, flipping your rug over to vacuum from the back can help you get more dirt and dust particles out than vacuuming only the top.


Spot Clean 

Just as you would quickly clean up spills on your carpet, you should spot clean rugs as soon as possible. Blot the spill rather than rubbing to prevent further staining. To clean, try cold water first. Be sure to use cold water rather than warm or hot as that could cause the fibers to shrink. Test on a small area of your rug beforehand to be sure it’s not going to damage or discolor your rug.


High-Traffic Areas 

Frequently turning your rugs can help with wear and tear from high-traffic areas. While turning the rugs won’t prevent wear from foot traffic, it will help even it out. You can also adjust furniture to create new high-traffic paths as you would for your carpets. If you’re concerned that a rug is handling too much rough foot traffic, consider making the area a no-shoe zone to decrease the pressure and tear and also keep it cleaner.


Professional Cleaning 

If you’ve invested money in a beautiful, quality rug, you want it to retain its beauty. Professional rug cleaners can fully remove allergens, dirt, and dust as well as tackle stains that you couldn’t get out. While it may not be a practical investment for a small rug, large area rugs can benefit from a professional cleaning.



Caring for Each Rug Material


Before you begin cleaning your rug, it’s important to know its material. Always read the label tags on your rugs to know what materials you’re working with and whether there are specific cleaning instructions.



Synthetic rugs tend to resist fading, stains, and mold and are easy to care for. You can safely use a one-to-one part vinegar and water mixture to spot clean a synthetic rug.



Wool rugs tend to shed a lot in the first few months of purchase. Vacuuming frequently can help with this problem and keep your rug looking tidier. It may also help to shake or beat the rug outside to get rid of any remaining particles. A mixture of dish soap and water can be used to spot clean your wool rug. Wool fades quickly when exposed to direct sunlight; if sun exposure is unavoidable, try to rotate regularly to prevent faded spots.



Like wool, cotton is prone to fading in direct sunlight. Smaller cotton rugs can be washed in the washing machine, but this may be difficult with a larger rug. You can use the dish soap and water mixture to spot clean cotton rugs, as well. Be sure that your rug is colorfast by testing the mixture before applying it to a large area.


Leather, Fur, and Hide 

Avoid vacuuming leather, fur, and hide, which are more delicate than other materials. Take the rug outside and shake it to release dirt and dust particles. Place the rug so it’s kept out of direct sunlight. Leather rugs can be treated with a leather cleaner. For fur rugs, gently use a rug brush in the direction of fur growth. If your rug needs to be thoroughly cleaned, it’s best to have a professional tackle the job. Many things can go wrong in the process of cleaning delicate materials, and you don’t want to risk damage.



Once a silk rug has been vacuumed, you should sweep it with a soft broom to get any remaining particles. Blot spills with a dry cloth. If it is staining, use equal parts white vinegar and water to lift the stain. Let the rug air dry; using heat to dry it can damage the rug.



Antique Rugs 


Antique and vintage rugs have historical appeal and unique beauty, but they need special care. It’s best to minimize foot traffic on a vintage rug. While many vintage rugs are very tough despite their age, placing them in a lower-traffic area will keep them looking good for as long as possible. You could also consider hanging your vintage rug on the wall to display its beauty without risking damage.


You can use a vacuum on most vintage rugs, but be sure to use the bare floor setting. You could also take out the beater bar to get an even more gentle vacuum. If you have a spill, blot with a dry rag. However, you shouldn’t attempt to use a cleaning product on an antique rug. Find a professional who specializes in antique rugs to properly clean a larger spill.


Properly caring for your rug can be a delicate process, but it will help preserve its beauty and prolong its useful life. If in doubt about how to handle cleaning your rug or carpet, don’t hesitate to call a professional. For more information on how to care for your home, subscribe to our blog! Subscribe to Our Blog

Topics: Rug Cleaning

Written by Monika Morales