Handy hints for cleaning rugs

July 28, 2015

The best way to keep a rug looking fresh is to keep it from getting dirty in the first place. Rugs in high traffic areas need a more thorough cleaning at least once a year; those in out-of-the-way places, less often. Here are some hints for keeping your rugs in great shape.

Handy hints for cleaning rugs

1. Keep it clean

  • Remove your outdoor shoes when entering the house and you'll cut down on 80 percent of the dirt tracked in.
  • During wet weather, give rugs a good, regular shake outside.
  • Vacuum them often, front and back, against the nap to pick up ground-in dirt.

2. Shampoo a small rug

  • Vacuum the rug.
  • Mix 125 ml (1/2 cup) of mild dishwashing liquid or rug shampoo with 2 litres (2 quarts) of cool water in a clean bucket. (Don't use harsh detergents, sudsy ammonia or regular ammonia on your rugs.)
  • Aerosol carpet and rug sprays also work well on smaller rugs or small areas of carpet.
  • Test the cleaner you're using on a hidden spot to make sure the rug is colourfast — many Persian rugs, especially old ones, are not.
  • With a long-bristled, soft brush or a firm, non-shedding sponge, brush the solution on the pile in the direction of the nap, but don't scrub. Wet the rug thoroughly.
  • To rinse the main part of the rug, wet clean rags with warm water and press them against the rug.
  • Squeeze out excess. (A window squeegee works well.)
  • Squeegee the pile in the direction of the nap until no more water comes out. Use more towels to mop up any excess.
  • If the pile feels stiff, vacuum or brush it gently.

3. To remove a rug stain:

• Blot stains, using clean rags or absorbent white towels.

• Scrape up whatever solids you can, using a kitchen knife, spatula or putty knife (the idea is that it's a blunt knife).

• Work from the stain's outer edges to its centre, rather than from the inside out, which could spread the stain.

• If the stain has penetrated the entire rug, place a clean rag underneath the rug to absorb whatever seeped through.

4. For tougher spots

• Dilute the stain by blotting with a cloth dampened with water or plain soda water (not flavoured or coloured soda water).

• Try a dab of rug and carpet cleaner, according to package instructions. (Test first on an inconspicuous area.)

• If this doesn't work, mix 5 millilitres (1 teaspoon) of mild dishwashing liquid with250 millilitres (1 cup)of warm water. Blot with awhite towel dampened with clear water, but be careful not to saturate.

• Shaving cream can also work wonders. Moisten the spot with water, work in the shaving cream and then rinse the stained area with a clean rag dampened with cool water.

• Mix 15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) of household ammonia with125 millilitres (1/2 cup)of water. Dab the solution on with a clean rag.Then mix125 millilitres (1/2 cup)of vinegar and 250 millilitres (1 cup) of water. Blot this mixture on tocurb the ammonia action. Rinse with a clean rag dampened with cool water.

• Mix enough powdered enzyme laundry detergent with water to make a paste. Make sure the detergent has no bluing or whitening agents. Let the paste sit for 10 minutes and then remove any residue with a wooden spoon. Blot with a clean towel and rinse with another towel wrung out in warm water.

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