Area rugs are fantastic for adding warmth, colour, and style to your home. However, they often come with stains and debris. Knowing how to clean your area rug is crucial to maintain its beauty and longevity.

Here’s a simple guide to help you keep your rugs looking their best: 

Identify your rug’s material

The first step in cleaning an area rug is to identify its material. Different materials require different cleaning methods. Knowing what your rug is made of will help you choose the right cleaning technique and products, ensuring it lasts longer.

Basic care tips

Vacuum regularly: Vacuuming is the most important step in rug care. For large rugs, vacuum both sides if possible. This removes dirt and grit that can wear out the fibers. Be careful with fringes and long fibers – turn off the beater bar on your vacuum to avoid tangling.

Brush out pet hair:  Vacuuming might not remove all pet hair. Use a stiff brush to gently remove hair, brushing in the direction of the rug’s nap.

Rotate rugs: Foot traffic and sunlight can cause uneven wear on your rug. Rotate it once or twice a year to even out the wear.

Shake small rugs: If your rug is small enough, take it outside and shake it to remove dirt and grit. Check local ordinances first, as some areas have rules about shaking rugs outdoors.

Cleaning different types of rugs

Woven or braided rugs

For small woven or braided rugs, check if they are washable. If they are, place them in a zippered pillowcase or mesh laundry bag and wash them in cool water on a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low. For larger braided rugs, use commercial carpet-cleaning foam, sponge it over the surface, and then rinse or vacuum thoroughly.



Hand-knotted, antique, and oriental rugs

Vacuum these rugs as you would regular carpets, but with extra care. For delicate antique or vintage rugs, protect them by placing a nylon screen over the rug and vacuuming over the screen. Rotate these rugs regularly and consider professional cleaning once a year.

Coir, sisal, rush, and grass rugs

Natural fiber rugs allow dirt to sift through to the floor. Vacuum frequently and occasionally remove the rug to vacuum the floor underneath. Clean stains by scrubbing with a soft brush dipped in soapy water, then rinse and blot dry. For rugs made of squares, replace any irreparably stained squares with new ones.

Fur, sheepskin, and hair-on hides

Shake unscented talcum powder over the rug, brush it through, and shake out the powder. Clean the back with a damp cloth dipped in soapy water, rinse, and let it dry completely.



Deep cleaning

Check care labels before deep cleaning. Some rugs can be machine-washed on a delicate cycle; others may require dry cleaning. Test a small area first to ensure the rug is colourfast. For large rugs, use carpet-cleaning foam and follow the product directions. Make sure the rug is thoroughly dry before placing it back on the floor.

Stain removal tips

Alcohol and soft drinks: Use a mixture of liquid dish detergent, warm water, and white vinegar. Apply, rinse, and blot dry.

Coffee or tea: Apply the detergent mix, rinse, and blot. Use a commercial spot cleaner if needed.

Fat-based stains: Use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner.

Gum: Harden with ice cubes, scrape off, then vacuum and use a dry-solvent cleaner if needed.

Paint: For wet acrylic or latex paint, use a detergent solution. For oil-based paint, use odourless mineral spirits.

Tomato Sauce: Sponge with cool water, use detergent solution, rinse with vinegar solution, and blot dry.

Urine, faeces, and vomit: Apply detergent solution or citrus-oxygen cleaner, rinse, and blot dry.

Melted wax: Harden with ice, scrape off, and blot the remaining wax with rubbing alcohol.



Keeping your area rug clean doesn’t have to be a chore. With these simple tips and regular care, your rugs will stay fresh and vibrant for years to come.


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