Area Rug Cleaning
Handmade Rug Cleaning
Our modern art rugs are constructed to serve their function. Like your shoes, these studio rugs are made to be walked on and to resist soil and wear. Good hand knotted rugs, wisely chosen, will take an almost unbelievable amount of hard daily use. Give them sensible, reasonable care, but don't be overprotective of them. All dirt will come out, so will almost all spots.
Your cleaning problem is simple thanks to the vacuum cleaner. There are many good vacuums on the market. It's important to have one with enough suction to pull the dirt out of the pile, not just clean the surface. It's also important to have some attachment that can really get into the comers and under things.
Most new rugs will shed a fluffy fuzz to begin with. Woollen pile yam is made up of thousands of fibers twisted loosely together. Wherever a cut is made there are bound to be a few very short bits that lose their foundations. Multiply one cut by the thousands that there are in your rug and you will understand where that fuzz comes from. It is only a small fraction of the wool in the your rug because most of the fibers are long enough to be caught securely.
It is an inherent quality of any wool pile rug to shed. The best and most expensive rugs made will probably shed harder and longer than a cheap one because it has more and thicker cut ends.
You can speed up the shedding process by sweeping it every day with a stiff broom, and vacuuming frequently. As soon as all the loose bits come out the shedding will stop.
Shading is another and, unfortunately, more permanent trouble you may have with your rug.
Every pile fabric is woven with all the upright tufts slanting slightly in one direction. If a dark streak or spot develops in a doorway or in front of a chair it is because the pile there has been pushed by many feet until it has been turned and "set" against the direction of the rest.
You may also cause a shaded spot if you start and finish vacuuming at the same point every time. Begin at one place in the room one day, at another the next time.
Frequent sweeping of new rugs, always with the slant of the pile, helps to prevent shading by setting the tufts more firmly the way they should go.
Every pile rug shades. Often you can improve a shaded spot by covering it with a damp cloth and pressing it with a hot iron. Then brush it hard in the right direction.
How to clean area rugs
After the shedding has stopped and the pile is set, vacuum (or use a broom) as often as necessary. This sounds rather vague, but only you can know how many dusty feet parade across your room.
Go over your new designer rug daily if there is much traffic across it, or if there is much dirt in the air. Always clean it thoroughly at least once a week. Even rooms which are hardly used should be vacuumed every two weeks or so, because there is always some dust settling on floors and furniture.
A clean rug will live longer, because surface dirt that is not removed is ground into the pile. There it acts like sandpaper on the wool fibers, cutting and wearing them until they break off.
Rugs should be turned end to end about every six months, so that the greatest wear and shading isn't always in the same places. If your new modern rug is large and your furniture heavy, this is no small chore. Make it part of the semiannual house cleaning, and
while the rug is rolled up be sure to vacuum the lining and spray it to discourage any fleas or moths that might be lurking about.
Spots and stains
Babies and dogs often leave wet spots in their wake. The sooner you discover them and do something about them the better. Absorb as much moisture as you can with a cloth or paper towels. Dilute vinegar with an equal amount of warm water and pour onto the spot, soaking it well. Then sop up the excess moisture again and leave it to dry. Regular rubbing alcohol will also prevent stains and discolorations. There are carpet and rug cleaning products on the market which are, no doubt, good, but alcohol or vinegar are always handy and can be trusted to do a good job. If the spot has dried before you discover it, give it several treatments. It will probably not be completely erased but it may be improved.
Most ink, if fresh, can be washed out easily with milk, preferably sour milk. Use mild soap suds to finish the job. It takes patience and lots of rubbing, but it will come out. Be sure to rinse the spot well, and dry it as thoroughly and quickly as possible.
Paint remover from the hardware store will take out any paint with an oil base. It won't hurt the rug either. That is, it won't hurt a good wool rug. Turpentine will also work.
Water Based Paint
Any paint that is solvent in water will come out with water, or a mild dishwashing liquid.
Any greasy substance, from cheese to oil, is dissolvable in warm dishwashing liquid.
Jam, candy, or a sugary drink will make a sticky spot. Scrape or soak up what you can, then use mild dishwashing liquid and rinse well in clear water.