How to Clean Area Rugs

Your Guide to Identifying, Maintaining, and Cleaning Your Area Rugs

Area rugs are unique, delicate, and require specialized care to help maintain their original beauty. Three common types of area rugs are handmade, machine-made, and tufted rugs, each having their own identifying qualities. Knowing how to properly maintain your rug begins with understanding what type you own. To maximize the condition and lifespan of your rug, it will need regular maintenance at home and specialized deep cleaning by professionals. Read on to learn how to identify, maintain, and clean your area rugs!

How to Identify Oriental Rugs

Handwoven or hand-knotted rugs are considered to be authentic oriental rugs. You can identify an oriental rug by their fringe, because it will be an extension of the foundation yarns. The rug material is made from natural fibers like wool, cotton, or silk. Also, since these rugs are handmade, you’ll notice slight imperfections on the rug, like misshapen side cords or uneven shape. Persian rugs and carpets are a common example of this.

Click to Learn About the Common Qualities of an Oriental Rug

How to Maintain Oriental Rugs

Oriental rugs are one-of-kind and highly valued, so it’s essential to take proper care of them to ensure your investment lasts. Here are some recommendations to maintain your oriental rug so it can stay in its best condition:

  • Rotate every 1-2 months – Rotating your oriental rug every one to two months can go a long way in prolonging its lifespan. Furniture that sits atop your rug can damage its fibers over time, and heavy foot traffic can wear them down as well. By repositioning the rug, you can even out the general wear to create a more uniform appearance. This also helps with reducing the adverse effects of sun exposure as sunlight can cause noticeable color fading. Regularly rotating your rug ensures any fading will be equally distributed and not appearing as single splotches.
  • Protect from sun exposure – In addition to rotating your rug, another surefire way to protect your oriental rug from sun exposure is with heavy curtains, window shades, or shutters. This will block the sunlight from beating down onto the rug and help to prevent premature fading.
  • Use rug padding – Pads and padding are effective at extending the life of your oriental rug. Padding that goes underneath the rug stops it from shifting and wrinkling, lessening the impact of heavy foot traffic. It’s important to use high-quality padding as certain padding like synthetics can rub harshly against your oriental rug and cause damage.
  • Regularly vacuum – Dirt can play a big role in the deterioration of oriental rugs if it’s not regularly removed. Vacuuming once a week will relieve your rug of surface-level dirt, debris, and dander that might otherwise get packed into the fibers. Vacuuming also helps prevent moths and other pests from nestling in your oriental rug. When vacuuming, be sure to keep it on a low setting and don’t use your beater bar as oriental rugs are very delicate.
  • Store safely – If you are storing your oriental rug, it’s crucial you do so correctly. Avoid storing it where pests or moisture are prevalent as this could lead to damage or rotting. Instead, you should store your rug in a dry environment with the rug tightly rolled up and wrapped in polyethylene as a safeguard.

How to Clean Oriental Rugs

The best way to keep your oriental rug in excellent condition is to pair your regular maintenance with periodic professional cleanings. While DIY methods are handy in a pinch, do-it-yourself methods and cleaning solutions can be very harsh and damage your oriental rugs. For a true rug cleaning with professional care and specialized equipment, it is best to trust the experts like Stanley Steemer.

Stanley Steemer operates several oriental and fine area rug cleaning facilities across the nation. Our professional rug cleaning process is one of the safest and most advanced methods available, and we even offer free pick-up and delivery or drop-off and pick-up points for your convenience (check with your local Stanley Steemer area rug cleaning facility for details). Read more about how Stanley Steemer cleans rugs below.

In the event you happen to spill something on your oriental rug, it’s important to act quickly and spot clean immediately before it permanently sets into the fibers. Remember to use gentle cleaning agents or water with a white cloth to lightly dab the spot. If you’re unsure how to treat a given spot, you should consult a professional rug cleaning company like Stanley Steemer.


How to Identify Machine-Woven Rugs

While similar in appearance to oriental rugs, you can identify a machine-made area rug in several ways. Machine-woven area rugs will have the fringes sewn into the rug, and the rug edges will be neatly straight and symmetrical. They are also constructed from synthetic fibers. Understanding these characteristics means you’re one step closer to properly maintaining your home area rug!

Click to Learn About the Common Qualities of a Machine-Woven Rug

How to Maintain Machine-Woven Rugs

Machine-woven rugs may be less delicate than oriental rugs, but they still require general maintenance to ensure they remain in excellent condition:

  • Rotate every 1-2 months – Similar to oriental rugs, machine-woven rugs need to be regularly rotated in order to decrease the damage that heavy furniture and foot traffic can incur.
  • Regularly vacuum – For regular upkeep, you should vacuum your machine-woven rug 2-3 times a week to prevent surface-level dirt from getting packed into the rug’s fibers. Excessive soiling can cause dulling, so a simple vacuuming can help prevent this!
  • Brush out hair and fur – Using a stiff-bristled brush is essential for lifting hair and pet fur from the rug. Making this extra effort will make it easier on your vacuum to extract all of the hairs. You’d be amazed at how much these handy brushes can lift up!

How to Clean Machine-Woven Rugs

The best way to truly care for and clean your machine-woven rug is by regularly maintaining your rug in addition to scheduling professional cleanings. Read more about how Stanley Steemer cleans rugs below.

If you need to clean your rug at home, be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for the safest DIY clean. The instructions provided on the rug include the manufacturer’s approved cleaning methods and inform you what to use and what not to use.

Accidents can happen in a second. Having a gentle cleaner handy can make spills easier to clean up. We recommend using neutral pH-balanced cleaners like the professional-grade Spot Remover from Stanley Steemer. Neutral solutions are generally safer and don’t use harsh chemicals. Stanley Steemer’s Spot Remover is acceptable for fine area rugs and can also be used on carpet. If you’re unsure how to treat a given spot, you should consult a professional rug cleaning company like Stanley Steemer.


How to Identify Tufted Rugs

Machine-tufted area rugs are fairly easy to identify since most of these rugs aren’t styled with fringe. If they do have fringe, it will be attached to the back. These rugs have a cotton or linen canvas glued to their backs as well. Lastly, the pattern on the front of the tufted rug will not be visible on the back of the rug like oriental rugs.

Click to Learn About the Common Qualities of a Tufted Rug

How to Maintain Tufted Rugs

While producing tufted rugs can be more affordable than producing authentic oriental rugs, tufted rugs can still be very valuable and require general maintenance and specialized care. They are frequently made from natural fibers and contain glues and other adhesives that secure different areas of the rug together.

  • Rotate every 1-2 months – Rotating your tufted rug will help with balancing wear and tear as it does for oriental and machine-woven rugs.
  • Do not pull yarn tufts – If yarn tufts become loose or “sprout” on the rug, do not pull on them as a way to remove them. You should cut yarn tufts when absolutely necessary and be extremely diligent not to cut beyond the loose tufts.

How to Clean Tufted Rugs

As with oriental and machine-woven rugs, the best way to care for and clean your tufted area rug is a combination of regular maintenance and professional cleanings by specialists like Stanley Steemer. Every rug is unique, even among tufted rugs, and every rug requires advanced care that only the experts can provide. Read more about how Stanley Steemer cleans rugs below.

If you need to clean your tufted area rug at home, always check the manufacturer’s instructions to understand what is recommended for cleaning your rug. Additionally, some tufted rugs require dry-cleaning or the use of commercial cleaning products. Always test a small area of the rug before using products all over. If you spot treat, make sure to air dry the rug as this will help prevent any moisture from being left behind that could lead to mildew or mold. If you’re unsure how to treat a given spot, you should consult a professional rug cleaning company like Stanley Steemer.


How Stanley Steemer Cleans Area Rugs

Without properly caring for your area rugs, you may need to replace them sooner than you’d prefer. Proper care involves a combination of regular maintenance and professional cleaning from the experts like Stanley Steemer.

For the safest and most effective cleaning process, we recommend having your area rugs cleaned at our oriental & fine area rug cleaning facilities. Avoid the pitfalls of cleaning these rugs on your own and place them in the trusted hands of specialized rug cleaners. Stanley Steemer even provides inclusive pricing along with free rug pickup and deliver (check your local Stanley Steemer area rug cleaning facility for details).

Because your rug is delicate and unique, our cleaning methods are not one-size-fits-all. Our technicians use advanced equipment to deliver a customized clean for every rug. Here’s what you can expect when you choose rug cleaning at our Stanley Steemer facilities:

  • Detailed inspection prior to cleaning
  • Gently agitated through our automated rug duster to loosen dry dirt and other soils
  • Customized cleaning methods including:
    • Power-washing & squeegeeing
    • Spot treatment
    • Odor removal
    • Fringe care for loose strands
  • Groomed and hung to dry in a climate-controlled environment
  • Post cleaning and final vacuuming after the dry process is complete
  • Delicately wrapped for safe return to your home

Our Specialized Rug Washer

For an effective deep clean, find a Stanley Steemer oriental & fine area rug cleaning facility near you!


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