The Best Tips for Cleaning Stains Out of Your Area Rug

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Nothing brings on a foot stomping like discovering a stain in an area rug. No matter what it is—red wine, smashed food, dirt, or worse, dog—well, you know the word—it calls for immediate action. 

But how can you treat a rug stain without hurting the rug? Do different remedies work on different kinds of stains? When should you pull out the steam cleaner to really break up the dirt?

In this guide we’ll answer all of these perplexing stain questions with the best tips for cleaning your area rug.

Proper General Cleaning

First, it’s important to know that you can extend the lifespan of your area rug with proper cleaning. That doesn’t just mean a quick vacuum each week. First things first, check the rug’s tag for cleaning instructions. Different rugs (depending on fabric and ply) may have different instructions. 

Once you’ve read the instructions, pull out the vacuum, but adjust the settings to avoid tearing fabrics or getting piles stuck in the machine. And as tempting as it may be, avoid vacuuming area rug fringe. Instead, sweep it to remove any dirt. 

Cleaning Rug

Be sure to vacuum under the rug as well. This is best achieved by rolling up the rug to get at the area underneath. Some cleaning experts also suggest flipping the rug over and vacuuming the bottom as well.

Fun fact: In Scandinavia most families beat their rugs. They hang them on a line outside and using a special tool called a rug beater, they smack the rug to release the dirt. The same strategy can be used on your area rugs at home, provided you have the space and something that will knock dirt and debris from it. A tennis racket will work in a pinch! 

Spot Clean Strategies

So you need to tackle an ugly stain. This is called spot cleaning and it will require some detergent. 

Woolite is a good choice and Resolve spray works as well. What you’ll want to do is follow the product’s instructions by using a minimal amount of liquid mixed with water to absorb the stain.

If you’re concerned about using a new product, test it first on a corner or on the back of the rug to ensure it won’t discolor the carpet. Once satisfied that the product won’t further hurt the area rug, blot the spot with a clean cloth soaked in the detergent. Then allow it to dry. 

Good Housekeeping also recommends treating truly awful wine stains by mixing detergent with white vinegar, then blotting dry.

Wine stains

Pro tip: If there’s no information on your rug regarding cleaning instructions, at least be sure to confirm what fabric you’re working with. Wool is very different from polyester which is very different from cotton or jute. Small cotton rugs can actually be washed in the washing machine. But wool rugs shouldn’t be pre-wet. Instead, use a spray bottle to spritz on the detergent/water mixture. 

Carpet Cleaners

A deeper clean, one that goes beyond vacuuming and spot cleaning, requires breaking out the big equipment. In this case: a carpet cleaning machine. There are many on the market, but the overall technology is the same. They use hot water mixed with a cleaning solution to wet the floor, then the cleaner scrubs it, breaking up the dirt and suctioning the water and filth back up. 

With a hefty weight and sometimes hefty price, carpet cleaners are an investment, but one you might consider if you have rugs you love and/or children who love to get them dirty. Animals too will often require a carpet cleaner for random messes. 

Seek a Professional

If none of the above strategies work to clean your rug, then it might be time to call in the professionals. Rug cleaning services take the stress off by applying the latest industrial technologies. Think of it like a dry cleaner but for your area rug. 

The payoff is that with their chemicals and detergents you can almost be sure they’ll get any nasty stains out and deliver what feels like a new rug to you once complete. 

Professional cleaner

Bottomline, cleaning rugs can be time consuming and costly. That’s why a durable, affordable rug is a great option. Rather than worry over your expensive rug getting damaged, with Luxe Weavers you can rest easy knowing their gorgeous designs won’t cost a fortune but will hold up to your family’s busy life.

With a variety of Oriental and modern designs in many different colors and patterns, Luxe Weavers offers affordable luxury area rugs right for every home. Our generous return policy also makes shopping easier by accepting any item a customer wants to return due to dissatisfaction within 30 days of initial shipment.