Handy hints for cleaning rugs

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.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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