Rugs play an important role in visually tying a space together, but they can be easily overlooked when it comes to proper maintenance. While it’s important to regularly vacuum your rug to prevent dirt from building up, you also need to make sure you deep-clean it at least once a year to keep it in top condition and extend its life. However, deep cleaning is not as simple as an extra-long vacuum or sloshing on some carpet shampoo.
Carpet cleaning is a science and to get the best results you need to know what you’re dealing with, otherwise you can risk damaging or entirely ruining your rug.
While you can call in the pros for your rug cleaning, if you’re keen to save a little money, it’s worth knowing how to deep-clean your rug yourself. Before you start with the cleaning, we have some tips to make sure it gets done right.
What’s your rug made from?
What your rug is made from significantly affects how it should be cleaned. For instance, antique woollen or silk rugs may be more delicate and should be carefully vacuumed by placing a mesh over the rug or the vacuum nozzle so the vacuum suction doesn’t pull at the fibres.
Rugs made from natural fibres, like grass or sisal, can be scrubbed but should be dried as quickly as possible to prevent the fibres weakening. Some small, tough rugs can be placed in the washing machine, while others may be too delicate, heavy or large to be washed in a conventional machine.
The cleaning tips below are for more durable rugs. Remember to always consult care instructions provided with your rug before deep-cleaning it yourself.
Vacuum both sides
While spring may be associated with cleaning, summer is actually the best time to deep-clean your rug because you will need several sunny days in a row as you will be mainly cleaning your rug outside. When the weather is on your side, vacuum your rug thoroughly on both sides. Start with the fibres before flipping your carpet over and vacuuming the side that is typically face down. This helps to thoroughly remove dirt.
Create an outdoor cleaning station
When your rug has been vacuumed, you need to set up an outdoor cleaning station. Ideally, you need a space where you can hang your rug without it touching the ground and getting dirty, while also allowing you to easily reach all parts of the rug. Try stringing a strong rope between two trees or hanging your rug over a bench. Ensure you hang your rug with the fibre side up.
Beat or shake out any remaining dust
Beating or shaking the rug will help to loosen and remove the ground in dirt and dust that the vacuuming didn’t remove. Use a stick or a broom handle to beat your rug, or, if you can easily pick up your rug, you can shake it. Be aware that delicate rugs, like antique or silk rugs, need to be treated with more delicacy and should not be vigorously beaten or shaken.
Beating a rug will release a lot of dust, so make sure to do it outside and to close any nearby doors and windows. It’s also worth covering your nose and mouth to avoid breathing in the dust. And always be considerate of neighbours, as you don’t want your carpet dust and debris drifting into their homes. Read more Cleaning Blogs Here..
Test your carpet shampoo
The wrong carpet shampoo can cause colours to fade, run or change or damage your rug’s fibres. This is why it’s extremely important that you test your shampoo on a small area before applying it over the entire rug.
Choose a small, inconspicuous area of the rug, such as a corner, and apply a small amount of the carpet shampoo, following the directions on the label. After you’ve let it set, rinse it off and check for any change in the rug’s appearance or damage to the fibres. If there are no problems, you can confidently use the product on the rest of your rug.
If you’re having difficulty finding the right carpet shampoo, look for products that have been specifically designed for the materials your rug is made from.
Wash the rug and apply shampoo
First, rinse your rug thoroughly with water. This helps to rinse out any remaining dirt or dust before you apply the shampoo. Once you have rinsed your rug, you can apply the carpet shampoo, following the directions on the label. Typically, you’ll need to work the shampoo into the fibres. You can do this by using a scrubbing brush. Be prepared to work hard, particularly on stubborn stains.
Rinse and dry
Leave the shampoo on your rug for as long as the label suggests before rinsing. Then rinse your rug once more until no shampoo is left behind. A good trick for checking if you’ve rinsed your rug thoroughly is watching what the water running off your rug looks like. It should be clear and have no bubbles or residue. You may need more than water to rid your rug of shampoo residue however, so be prepared to wring it out by hand or by using a squeegee to scrape excess water off.
When you have gotten the rug as dry as you can, you will need to leave it to finish drying entirely. This is why it’s important to know you’re going to have a few days of sunshine because, depending on the size of your rug and how wet it was, it could take several days to fully dry.
If you are concerned about leaving your rug outside, you can bring it inside, but it is best to leave it somewhere it will not drip onto carpet or floorboards, such as a tiled bathroom or a garage.
Once your rug is completely dry, vacuum it one more time to reduce any stiffness in the fibres.
Your rug should now be clean and looking its best. Deep-cleaning your rugs yourself can be a great way to save money but it does take a lot of time and effort, and not every rug can be cleaned without professional carpet cleaning equipment.