how to clean an area rug

A spill on your area rug? That's unfortunate, what is fortunate is that it's not too late to save it. If you use the right cleaning procedures you can have it looking like new in no time.

How do you ask? With a bit of carpet shampoo, water, a vacuum, and skills. Still not sure where to begin with picking out the shampoo or building a place for it to dry? It's alright, we've got you covered.

Follow us through this article as we go over the basic concepts of how to clean an area rug and get it back to its former splendor.

1. Determine if You Can Clean it 

The first step in how to clean an area rug is determining if you can clean it yourself. Antiques and delicate rug materials need to be cleaned by different means than you can at home. If you try and mess up, they can be expensive to replace. 

So, if you're dealing with really old, timeless pieces and you want to protect this investment, you will need to seek out a professional to clean them. 

2. Make an Outdoor Station 

Pick a bright and sunny day to clean your rug and fix up a drying station outside your house. You don't want to just lay it in the grass because it will take in all of the harmful chemicals you used on the rug. 

You also shouldn't use a regular clothesline because area rugs are heavy. The line won't support the weight and will inevitably break. Instead, use something sturdy like two trees in your yard that are growing really close together. 

3. Vacuum Both Sides 

Use your vacuum on the front side first to pick up any lingering dirt and fibers. Once you've got that side done, flip it over and vacuum any access dust from the back.

Once your rug has been thoroughly vacuumed, roll it up and take it outside. If you're paranoid that you didn't get all the dirt out, you can take a broom handle and give it a few light wacks to get any dust still clinging to life. 

4. Get Your Carpet Shampoo Together 

Before you throw the shampoo on to the entire carpet, test it on a small corner first. Pour it on, rinse it off, and then wait a few hours to see if the cleaner caused any color to fade or material damage in general. 

Research beforehand to see which cleaners go best with the material your rug is made out of especially if you make your shampoo yourself. You don't want to use something that won't adapt well to the rug and risk destroying it. Research is cheaper than a replacement rug. 

5. Apply the Shampoo to Wash the Rug 

Once you've found or made a shampoo that won't bring damage to your area rug, it's time to apply it. Take your hose and give the rug a good rinse to prepare it for the carpet soap. 

After it's rinsed, take a sturdy brush and work the shampoo into the rug. It's going to take a lot of scrubbing to cover the whole rug and will be quite foamy. 

6. Rinse Your Rug

When you feel like you've deeply scrubbed the entirety of your rug, it's time to give it another rinse with the hose. Make sure you read the directions to find out how long you have to leave the shampoo on the rug. 

Once the time is up, you can finally rinse all the soap away. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly, you don't want to leave any residue behind because when it dries it will be stiff and lack its earlier appeal. 

7. Leave it to Dry

Drying is the tricky part because it takes a lot of time. If you don't help the rug out a bit, it will never dry. To move it along in the process, ring out as much water as you can. A squeegee can give you a hand with this if you have one.

It will be too wet to bring into your house right away so after you feel like you've gotten out all the water you can, leave it outside to dry for a few days or even throughout the entire weekend. 

If you're a little paranoid that it's going to rain, you can bring it into your garage area to finish drying. 

8. Give it One Last Vacuuming 

After it's completely dry and you get it back into your house, it's going to feel a little stiff. This is natural so don't worry, you didn't mess up. Not only will it be stiff, but the rug fibers will be out of place and skewed. 

To bring it back to life of sorts, take your vacuum and go over the rug one last time. This will get out any leftover dirt if there is any, and also restore its appearance. 

Don't Worry About Spills Use these Tips on How to Clean an Area Rug 

If you get a spill on your area rug, or it's just simply gathered an odor, it's time to pick up your brush and clean it. It takes time to find the right shampoo, scrub it, rinse it completely, and help it dry, but the results are worth it. Use these tips on how to clean an area rug to keep it the centerpiece of your living room. 

Are you worried about what carpet shampoo can do to your pet? Make your own instead. Keep reading and we'll tell you how to make an animal safe soap

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