How Can You Clean Your Rugs at Home?

Rugs should be cleaned pretty often. Usually, rugs are supposed to be cleaned every 12-18 months, but if you have pets or children, you will have to clean them much more often. Getting them professionally cleaned often can end up costing you a lot of money, but you can do it at home for almost nothing. How exactly can you clean your rugs at home?

Some rugs can be washed in the washing machine. Check the tag on your rug to see if you can wash it in the washing machine or if you have to wash it by hand. You can clean your rugs with carpet shampoo or DIY cleaning solutions.

How Can You Clean Your Rugs at Home
How Can You Clean Your Rugs at Home

The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re cleaning your rug is to let it dry properly. If it’s not completely dry after 24 to 48 hours after you’ve washed it, there’s a big chance that mold will grow on it. Mold will cause your carpet to smell, but it is also pretty dangerous, as it can cause respiratory problems.

Is there a way to clean rugs at home?

In order to make your rug last as long as possible while still looking good, you will have to clean it. You should have it professionally deep-cleaned every 12 to 18 months. This is a general guideline, how often you will clean your rug depends on your particular circumstances. 

For example, light-colored carpets reveal every dirt and stain, and you will have to clean them more often. 

Most carpet manufacturers require you to follow a certain cleaning regimen in order to keep your warranty in full effect. It is common that your warranty states you must have your carpet professionally cleaned at least once, or maybe twice a year. It is also possible that you might have to keep all your receipts for the cleanings in case a warranty issue should arise. 

If you have children, you will have to clean your rugs more regularly. They leave muddy footprints, juice stains, or finger paint, and so on. Children spend a lot of time on the carpet, which is why you will want it to always be clean. 

In case that you let people in your house wear shoes, your carpet will need to be cleaned more often. Shoes bring in dirt and small particles of grit. This will cause your rug fibers to wear prematurely. The more people are in your household or visiting, the more foot traffic your carpet suffers. 

If you don’t want to get your carpet professionally cleaned every time, don’t worry, you can do it at home.

How do I do that?

Your rug is bound to suffer some spills during its lifetime. When it happens, you don’t have to pay for the whole rug to get cleaned, or even clean the whole rug yourself, just clean the stain. 

If you have a synthetic carpet, you can make your own homemade cleaning solutions. To make a detergent solution, mix ¼ teaspoon of a translucent liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup of lukewarm water. You can also make a vinegar solution by mixing one cup of white vinegar with two cups of water. If you prefer using solvents, you can use an oil solvent or a gentle nail polish remover without acetone.

To remove the stain, dip a white cloth into these homemade carpet cleaners and apply it to the stain. You should never pour the solutions directly onto carpeting.

How to clean a natural fiber rug

If your rug is made out of natural fiber, you can also make your own cleaners.

To make a detergent solution for your natural-fiber rug, you will have to mix one teaspoon of translucent liquid dishwashing detergent into 1 cup of lukewarm water. To make a vinegar solution, you will mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with ¼ cup of water. You can also make an ammonia solution by mixing one tablespoon of clear household ammonia with ½ cup of lukewarm water. You can use the same solvent solution as you would for a synthetic carpet. 

To remove stains from your natural-fiber rug, pour these solutions, except for the solvent solution, in a spray bottle, and mist them lightly onto the stain.

In case you have wine, ketchup, chocolate, coffee, tea, beer, milk, tomato sauce, berries, hard candy, juice, soda, and Gatorade stains on your synthetic rug carpet, here is how to remove them.

  1. Start by dipping a white cloth into your homemade detergent solution for synthetic carpets and dab it a few times. Press the cloth on the spot for a few seconds. It will take a while for it to break down the stain, so make sure you let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, soak up the excess liquid with a dry white cloth.
  1. Next, you will dip a cloth into the vinegar solution for synthetic carpets and dab a few times, then press the cloth on the spot for a few seconds. The most important step is to wait another 15 minutes because white vinegar removes residual detergent, which, if left in the carpet, attracts dirt. 
  1. Soak a white cloth in lukewarm water and blot it on the rug to rinse. If the spill is pretty bad, put a half-inch-thick stack of white paper towels over the stain after step 2, and lay a glass baking dish on top for 15 minutes. 
  1. Keep repeating these steps until the stain is gone.

To remove beer, coffee, and tea stains from your natural-fiber rug, follow these steps. 

  1. Start by spraying your stain with the homemade detergent solution for natural-fiber carpets, and blot with a dry white cloth. 
  1. Next, spray the stain with the vinegar solution for natural-fiber carpets, and blot with a dry white cloth again.
  1. Spray the stain with a detergent solution once again, and blot it with a dry white cloth. Make sure you use a new cloth every time you blot the stain. 
  1. Spray the stain with lukewarm water and blot it with a white cloth.
  2. Keep repeating all the steps until you remove the stain.

If you have oil and grease stains on your rug, don’t worry, you can clean them.

Clean a synthetic fiber rug

To clean synthetic fiber rug, follow these steps.

  1. Take a white cloth and apply a small amount of homemade carpet cleaning solvent to it. Dab on the stain, and press the cloth on the spot for a few seconds. 
  2. To rinse, blot the stain with a white cloth soaked in lukewarm water. 
  3. Repeat until the stain is gone.

You will clean oil and grease stains in a similar way from your natural fiber rug. 

  1. Take a clean white cloth and apply a small amount of your homemade detergent solution to it. Blot the stain.
  2. Then, you will spray the stain with detergent solutions and blot again with a white cloth.
  3. Spray it with lukewarm water, then blot with a dry white cloth. 
  4. Keep doing this until you remove the stain.

The time will come when you will have to clean your entire rug. Don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple. Follow these steps to keep your rug clean and in the best shape possible.

  1. Get your tools and supplies. You will need a rug shampoo or mild dish soap, a bucket, a soft-bristle brush or sponge, a vacuum, and some water. 
  1. Vacuum both sides of your rug. Make sure you remove any bit of debris. In case you have pets, use the brush attachment to get any lingering stray hairs.
  1. You can use rug shampoo or a mild dish detergent mixed in a bucket with warm water. Never use hot water because it will shrink the rug or cause fading.
  2. Some cleaners will cause the rug’s color to run. That’s why you should always test the solution on the corner of the rug to make sure it is colorfast before you start scrubbing it over your whole rug. If the color doesn’t bleed, you can move on to the next step.
  3. Use a sponge or soft-bristle brush to work the cleaning solution into a lather on the rug. Allow the cleaner to sit on the rug for about 5 minutes before you rinse, so that it has enough time to set in and start lifting away dirt.
  4. Use buckets of clean water to rinse your rug. Keep rinsing until the runoff water is crystal clear.
  5. In this step, you will want to get rid of as much excess water in the rug as you can. To do this, use a squeegee in the direction of the nap.
  6. Let your rug dry. Lay it flat and allow the top of the rug to dry completely. Once it’s dry, flip it and let the bottom side dry.
  7. Threads and fibers get compacted and squished during cleaning. You can bring them back to life by vacuuming the dry rug or brushing it with a soft-bristled brush. 

If you want to use more natural products, and you have a steamer at home, you can also deep clean your rug this way.

It’s very important that you let your rug dry properly. If you don’t, the small space between the carpet padding and the floor creates a dark and moist area where mold and mildew can form. It will cause your rug to smell bad.

The padding of the rug is similar to a sponge because it soaks up any moisture that could be present. Once the mold starts to grow, it decreases the air quality and leads to respiratory issues such as asthma. 

Once you have molded it’s very hard to get rid of it because it has to be killed at the source as spores can spread and create a new mold.

Mold can develop after your rug has been in contact with water for longer than 24 hours. Some signs that your rug has been infected by mold are a musty or sour smell coming from your carpet and discoloration on the carpet or padding.

To prevent mold from forming on your rug, you will have to make sure that it’s dried properly. 

The best way to do so is to create good airflow in the room. Open the windows in the room to let the fresh air dry your rug. This is also a good way to avoid any musty, damp smells that some carpets develop in a closed room. Try to wash your carpet on a sunny day, because you won’t be able to dry it successfully on a rainy or cloudy day. This type of weather could form a humid environment so it’s better to keep the windows closed. 

You can use a ceiling fan to dry your rug if you place your rug directly under it. This is a good option for when the weather outside isn’t appropriate for rug-drying. Your ceiling fan will create a concentrated funnel of air that will dry your carpet quickly. In case you don’t have a fan, you can use a standing or desk fan instead. You should place two smaller fans on each side of the carpet to provide adequate air circulation.

What rugs can I clean in the washing machine?

Every rug has a care tag which is usually attached to its underside. This will tell you how to properly care for your rug. A tub filled with water is the washing machine, and the square indicates a dryer. If one of them is crossed off with an X, it means that the rug cannot be washed or machine dried. 

Manufacturers also use codes to tell you which solution you should use when cleaning your rug. A W means that you can clean the rug only with water-based cleaners, such as laundry detergent, and S means that dry cleaning solvents are the best option, and a WS means you can use either. If your tag has an X, it means that the rug can only be vacuumed. 

In general, cotton and synthetic rugs can be washed in a washing machine, while wool, sisal, jute, and Oriental rugs do best with hand washing or professional cleaning.

Can the machine break if I wash rugs?

Your washing machine won’t break if you wash rugs in it, but you can destroy your rugs if you aren’t careful. You could cause the color of your rug to bleed, shorten the life of your rug, and destroy the fabric if your rug isn’t supposed to be washed in the washing machine.

What equipment do I need for washing rugs?

You don’t need a lot of equipment for washing rugs. If you can wash them in the washing machine, you will only need carpet shampoo. 

If you are washing your rug by hand, you will need some buckets, cleaning solutions that you can buy or make yourself, a vacuum, and a lot of dry white cloths. 

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Annika Vallgren

The old housewives, in general, were in charge of everything in a household. From doing budget deliberations, meal planning to implementing actions and everything in between, they are simply the right person for the job, period. A major portion of their time was spent doing laundry, cleaning, and feeding her hungry children, who would come home tired from school. I believe we have a lot to learn from her. So, here you will find old housewife tips mixed with modern life hacks, knowledge about washing and cleaning, and much more the modern housewife needs!

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