Area rugs brighten up any room with their intricate patterns and textures. However, over time, those in areas with more foot traffic mostly become dingy and faded. Just like the smell of a new car, a rug’s appearance can fade rapidly if you don’t take care of it. Maintaining a rug’s beauty goes hand in hand with extending its lifespan. So like it or not, it’s worth it to invest in some cleaning supplies and carve out a little time to work on its appearance. 

Keeping area rugs looking new requires a bit of work, but in the end, the effort is well worth it. 

In this guide, we discuss different ways and tricks to keep your area rug looking new. From dealing with pet stains to removing dirt and dust, we explain what you can do to keep your area rug looking as good as it did when you first purchased it. So if you’d like your space to retain its charm and alluring ambiance, read on for some helpful tips!

1. Be mindful of foot traffic on Your Area Rug

Don't allow visitors to wear shoes when cleaning a rug

Try to limit the amount of foot traffic on your area rug, especially in high-traffic areas. Encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before walking on the rug, or place a small rug at the entrance of the room to catch dirt and debris before it reaches the main area rug.

This will help to protect the fibers from dirt that can be trapped under their shoes. It also helps to prevent stains and other damage that can be caused by shoes. If you have a no-shoe policy in place, be sure to enforce it with everyone who enters your home.

2. Vacuum Your Area Rug Frequently

If you don't have a regularly scheduled professional cleaning service taking care of your rugs, you must vacuum them frequently personally. That's arguably the best way to clean an area rug. It will help to reduce the level of dirt, dust, and other debris that can accumulate over time and lead to premature wear and tear.

How often you need to vacuum will depend on a few factors, such as the type of area rug you have and how much foot traffic it gets. In general, however, most area rugs should be vacuumed at least once a week. For high-traffic areas or rugs with longer piles, you may need to vacuum more frequently.

When vacuuming, take care to use the right setting for your particular rug type. For example, if you have a delicate Oriental rug, you'll want to use the lowest suction setting and avoid the beater bar. With most other types of rugs, however, you can use a higher suction setting and/or engage the beater bar for deeper cleaning.

3. Address Stains on Your Area Rug Immediately

When a spill or stain happens on your area rug, it's important to address it immediately. The longer you wait, the harder it is to remove and the more likely it is to set in.

To remove a stain, start by blotting up as much of the excess liquid as possible with a clean, absorbent cloth. Once you've done that, you can treat the stain with a Rug Stain Remover (or a similar product).

For best results, follow the instructions on the Stain Remover bottle and be sure to test it on an inconspicuous area of the rug first. Once you've treated the stain, blot it again with a clean cloth to remove any residue.

4. Use Stain Resistant Spray on Your Area Rug

A stain-resistant spray prevents stains on your area rugs. It creates an invisible barrier on the surface of the rug that helps to repel water, dirt, and other common stains. To use a stain-resistant spray, simply hold the can about 12 inches away from the surface of the rug and spray evenly. Let the rug dry completely before walking on it or placing any furniture back in the room. For best results, reapply the spray every few months.

5. Use Doormats at Entrances

One of the best ways to keep your area rugs looking new is to always use doormats. Doormats are very effective as they act as a barrier, trapping dirt and debris before they have a chance to reach your area rugs. Doormats prevent your rugs from becoming stained or dirty. If possible, place a doormat at all entrances to your home, not just the front door. This will ensure all potential sources of dirt and debris are covered.

Again, when choosing a doormat, look for one that has a rough texture and bristles that can effectively scrape and trap dirt and debris. Rubber or coir mats are excellent options. They are durable and heavy enough to stay in place, even in high-traffic areas.

6. Use A Carpet Beater to Revive Your Are Rug

rug beater for cleaning a rug

If you have an area rug that is starting to look a bit worn, one of the best ways to revive it is to use a carpet beater. That will help loosen up any dirt or debris embedded in its fibers, and also fluff up the rug so that it looks new again. Just be sure to beat the rug outside so you don't make a mess in your home.

7. Avoid Using Sticky Substances on Your Area Rug

Avoiding sticky substances in areas you have area rugs installed will increase their life span. Sticky substances, such as tape or glue, can cause serious damage to the fibers of your rug if they come in contact with it. The adhesive in these substances can cause the fibers to stick together and lose their softness. Your rug will subsequently lose its shape and become prone to wear and tear. So when placing items on your area rug, always be mindful of what you are using to hold them in place. 

For example, if a tape is likely to come in contact with your area rug while using it to paste a picture or poster to a wall, consider using alternative methods like thumbtacks and Velcro.

Similarly, if you need to use glue to repair something, be very careful that the glue does not come into contact with your rug. It's always best to roll your rug or move the objects being repaired to another area before you proceed with the repair.

8. Maintain your HVAC system

If you have a central HVAC system in your home, it is important to maintain this system to prolong the life of your area rug. Depending on the type of HVAC system you have, you will need to replace the filters regularly. 

Not only will this help your system run more efficiently, but it will also help to reduce dust and dirt in your home which can contribute to wear and tear on your area rug. Also, have your HVAC system serviced by a professional at least once a year to ensure that it is running correctly and to catch any potential issues before they become major problems.

9. Embrace Spring and Fall Cleaning

Although it’s often associated with the changing of seasons, spring and fall cleaning can be done any time of year. The phrase "spring and fall cleaning" is more than just a quaint expression. It is a chance to thoroughly attend to the task of maintaining a clean and hygienic home by taking your cleaning efforts to a higher level.

In addition to vacuuming, take the time to lift any area rugs and thoroughly clean beneath them to ensure that nothing is threatening their lifespan. Use store-bought carpet cleaning chemicals to give your rugs deeper cleaning. Then, be sure to allow your rugs to dry fully before placing them back in their respective rooms.

10. Replace Vacuum Filter Bags Often

Vacuum filters play an important role in protecting your area rug and keeping it looking new. Over time, vacuum filters can become clogged with dirt, dust, and other debris. That can cause your vacuum to lose suction and may even damage your area rug. To prevent this from happening, be sure to replace your vacuum filter bags often.

11. Invest in Rug Pads

Area rug pad to prevent dirt and debris

If you want to keep your area rugs looking new, one of the best things you can do is invest in rug pads. Rug pads provide a barrier between the floor and the rug, protecting it from dirt, dust, and other debris. They also prevent the rug from slipping and sliding, which can cause premature wear and tear.

There are different rug pad types and it is essential to choose the one that’s right for your specific rug. If you’re not sure which type of pad to buy, ask a sales associate at your local home improvement store for advice.

Again, once you have a rug pad, be sure to place it underneath the entire surface of the rug. This will give it the most protection and help it stay in place. 

12. Avoid Colour Fading by Rotating Your Area Rug

Maintaining the appearance of your area rug is crucial for keeping your living room looking neat and tidy. One issue to watch out for is color fading, which can occur due to exposure to sunlight.

Although fading may seem like an unavoidable issue, there are ways to slow down the process. If a portion of your area rug is in direct sunlight, one simple solution is to rotate the rug every 3-6 months, to ensure that one side isn't exposed to too much sunlight. This means turning square rugs 90 degrees and rectangular rugs 180 degrees. It’s also a good idea to use window coverings, such as blinds or curtains, particularly when the sun is shining brightly. This is particularly effective if your area rug has bright colors like red or orange, as these tend to fade more quickly.

13. Move Furniture Occasionally

If you've ever had a piece of furniture in the same spot for too long, you know that it can start to look dull and outdated. The same is true for your area rugs! To keep them looking fresh, try moving your furniture around occasionally. 

That will give your rug a chance to be seen from different angles and in a different light, which will help it look its best. Plus, it's a great way to refresh your space without making any big changes.

14. Set Furniture On Coasters

If you want to keep your area rugs looking new, it's important to set furniture on coasters. This will help prevent furniture from indenting or damaging the rug. Indentations or damage from furniture legs can be unsightly and can also make the rug feel uneven underfoot. Using coasters, you can help distribute the weight of the furniture more evenly across the rug. This will prevent damage and prolong the life of the rug.

When choosing coasters for your area rug, it's important to select those that are appropriate for the type of rug you have. If you have a delicate wool rug, use felt coasters. Felt is a soft and pliable material that will not scratch or damage the delicate fibers of the rug. If you have an area rug made from synthetic materials, you can use coasters made from plastic or rubber. These materials are durable and can withstand the weight of furniture without causing damage.

15. Call the Professionals

A professional rug cleaning service will have the right experience and equipment necessary to deep-clean your area rug and remove any dirt, dust, or stains that may be present. Some cleaning agencies also apply special coatings that repel dirt and stains.


Keeping your area rugs looking their best will ultimately make your space retain its charm and spark. However, it doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Besides vacuuming and spot cleaning, care for your rugs by adopting these other simple, easy tips so you can enjoy the beauty of your area rug without worrying about wear and stains over time. 

March 21, 2024 — Ademola Ademiluyi