Rug Cleaning: Everything You Need To Know!

Introduction

A rooms style has many facets – the right furniture, the perfect decor pieces, the best wall color, and art. These are all important, but have you spent enough time on what’s below your feet? We are talking, of course, about rugs.

Rugs are your number one choice for floor coverings because they perform the function of protecting your floor surface and also adding that touch of beauty to your decor. Because they protect your flooring from dirt and scratches, they bear the burden of these conditions and can wind up becoming extremely dirty. Most times, they lie there, doing their job, for months and years on end without getting the proper clean they deserve. 

A thorough rug clean offers several benefits but in cleaning the rug, the type and materials used in making it need to be given utmost attention as the wrong application of cleaning procedure can damage the integrity and quality of the rug.

You can decide to clean your rugs by yourself, but there are some essentials you need to know so you do not end up suffering irreparable damage to your rug. 

Moreover, it is recommended you hand over the cleaning process to trained professionals with a substantial amount of experience. Not only will you get a thorough, quality clean, but you will most importantly protect your rug from the damage improper cleaning can cause. Not to mention a host of additional benefits like odor removal, pet stain removal, and all those things you won’t normally get when you go the DIY route!

This guide will cover everything you know (and a few things you don’t) about rugs and rug care. We’re about to take a deep dive into the wonderful world of rugs (exciting stuff..), so strap in for a wild ride!

Rug Cleaning: Everything You Need To Know!

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What is an Area Rug?

 

Simply put, an area rug is a textile material used for protective and decorative purposes. It can be made from natural materials such as wool and cotton, or synthetic ones like polypropylene. 

Area rugs differ in prices for specific reasons. The reason why an Oriental or Persian rug is more expensive than say the one made in Dallas boils down to how it is woven. Which brings us to the question – How are area rugs made?

How Rugs are Made

Besides the material, the weave of the rug is essential as it sets the rug apart, both in style, durability, and of course, price. Most of these weaving techniques have been around for centuries and have only been modified or mechanized while still paying attention to the details. There are five major ways and techniques employed in rug weaving – Flat-weave, hand-knotted, hand-tufted, hand-hooked, and machine-made.

Flat-Weave

Flatweave is probably the most common technique for making rugs. They are also referred to as hand-woven rugs. Flat-woven rugs are typically made on a loom and constructed without knots or a pile. The method is quite traditional – the horizontal yarns (called wefts) are woven through the vertical ones (called warps) by hand. 

Traditionally, flat-woven rugs are also referred to as Kilim (from Turkey), Soumak (a rare type of Kilim), and Dhurrie (from India). These rugs are durable and will last you a long time if properly taken care of. 

Hand-knotted

This labor-intensive technique involves tying a knot around the wrapped thread to form a tuft. In a hand-knotted or hand-tied rug, individual knots are tied and cut by hand, thus giving an excellent fine quality handmade area rug with millions of these knots that make up its design and structure. This hand-tying technique will last for a century or decades as they age beautifully and clean easily if done with high-quality material.

Tufted 

Unlike a hand-knotted rug, a tufted rug is created without tying knots. These rugs are made using a hand-operated tufting gun to punch loops of wool into a canvas. This canvas has been imprinted with the overall design and stretched on a frame. Once this process is completed, the rug is removed from the frame, and a cotton scrim is glued to the back of the canvas. The final step is to shear the rug so that all of the top’s loops are cut, which creates the pile. Hand-tufted rugs are an affordable alternative to hand-knotted rugs without sacrificing style. Durability, however, cannot be compared. 

Hooked

The process of making this rug is similar to that of the tufted rug. The only difference is that the top of the rug is not sheared. This technique involves using a hook to punch yarn or wool loops through a burlap held down by a contraption (rack). They are the least durable among the other types of rugs and the most affordable.

 

The Different Types of Rug 

 

Just as there are different ways to make an area rug, there are also different materials that determine the feel, the layout, the durability, and the cleanability of the rug. Rug types are broadly classified under 5 main types – wool, silk, cotton, hide, and synthetic.

Wool Rugs

These are natural fiber rugs made from sheep wool and are usually hand-woven, hand-knotted, or hand-tufted. They are soft, durable, and can last a lifetime, so they can be passed down from generation to generation. Usually, with wool rugs, there is some sentimental value attached to it. Combine that with its durability and authenticity, and you get the huge price point you see with these rugs. 

Besides the beautiful designs, these rugs can take a punch. Their sturdy and robust nature makes them ideal for high traffic places in the home like your hallways, living area, etc. In addition, they are quite easy to clean. Little wonder they last for a lifetime.

Silk Rugs

There are two types of this rug – 100% silk and a silk blend with another material (usually wool). Now, you’d hardly ever see full silk rugs because silk is super expensive, and they require a higher knot per square inch as compared to other types of rugs. This indicates that more details and a higher level of craftsmanship are needed in the production of these rugs. 

If you have a full silk rug, lucky you. They’re truly beautiful pieces, and as precious as they come (not that we need to remind you!). Unlike wool rugs, silk rugs are really tough to clean, which is another reason why most times, they are incorporated with wool, so you get a silk/wool blend.

They are incredibly delicate, so it is best to use these types of rugs in low-traffic areas in the house. Although if you take care of them, by getting them cleaned appropriately and as frequently as they should, you will not have any problem with durability.

Cotton Rugs

Cotton rugs are a good choice and can be used in place of wool or silk rugs because they are less expensive. Consequently, the nature of the material (cotton) is usually flat-woven, thereby compensating for its durability. Although not as durable as wool rugs, they can still live a long and happy life!

These rugs are an excellent alternative to your expensive wool rugs; however, they fade quickly and can easily get dirty. As a result, the maintenance frequency for this rug is higher than the others. 

Hide/Leather Rugs

These rugs, as the name suggests, are made from either sheep or cowhide. These rugs are usually selected for their patterns and the exact conditions they come in. Now not too exact as these hides are treated for their odor and molts. These treatments include salting, washing, and tanning to improve its appearance and ensure it is fit for use.

The drawback of these rugs is that they could shed and curl up around the edges over time. The former is the rug’s nature and usually an indication you need to get another one, but the latter can be corrected by applying mild heat to keep them flat.

Synthetic Rugs

These rugs are made from synthetic fibers like olefin (aka polypropylene), polyester, acrylic, and viscose. They are relatively inexpensive amongst the other rugs and are a great choice if you want to add that dash of detail in your decor. However, they get dirty fast because their smooth piles cannot trap dirt, so they will need to get clean as often as possible to prevent yellowing and fading of the rug. 

They are abrasion-resistant and are less likely to dampen; hence, they are an excellent choice for outdoor use. 

Asides these major rug types, there are some specialty rugs that are not necessarily a category on their own, but they have established their presence in the rug industry over the years. Two popular examples are the Persian and Oriental rugs. 

Persian Rugs

Persian rugs are explicitly made from Persia- modern-day Iran. They are characterized by their striking colors, unique designs, and extreme durability. These rugs are usually handmade, so a lot of detailing and craftsmanship go into their production, making them quite expensive.

No two Persian rugs are exactly alike for the simple fact that they are hand-made, not mechanized, and the different tribes in Persia have their own unique designs and weaving process. 

Some Persian rugs include: 

  • Tabriz rugs
  • Heriz rugs
  • Kashan rugs
  • Gabbeh rugs
  • Isfahan rugs
  • Nain rugs
  • Mashad rugs
  • Balouchi rugs
  • Qum rugs 

 

Oriental Rugs

These are rugs from all other Asian countries outside Persia (Iran). They also don vibrant colors and are usually handmade. Most oriental rugs are wool rugs; however, some feature a blend of silk or cotton. 

Examples of oriental rugs include

  • Ikat rugs (native to India, Yemen, and Japan)
  • Bokhara rugs (native to Uzbekistan)
  • Kilim rugs (native to Turkey)

 

Rug Cleaning vs. Carpet Cleaning

 

Before we go into the differences between how to clean these textile materials, we need to tell you how they differ from each other.

The significant difference between a rug and a carpet is in their construction and their style. Carpets are designed for wall-to-wall applications; that is, they cover the entire surface area of the room and are not made to be moved around. Most times, they are even glued to the floor in contrast to just laying them down there. Rugs, on the other hand, are made to only cover a specific area and are easy to log around. 

Another difference is in their style. Most carpets are plain with little or no designs. Even if there would be any designs, they are subtle with dull colors in the neighborhood of the carpet’s base color. Rugs, however, have intricate and complex designs with vibrant colors that pop out and command presence in a room.  

These differences might not seem much to you, but they mean a world of difference in the rug and carpet industry. They determine the cleaning methods that would be used in cleaning both.

Cleaning a carpet is relatively easy – a vacuum cleaner and a steam cleaner will often do the job. With rugs, it is entirely different because you need to worry about a number of things. Some of these things include:

Bleeding

As stated earlier, rugs are made from intricate patterns and with several colors that could “bleed” and ruin the rug if the appropriate methods or solutions are not used. Asides the danger of bleeding, you are also faced with the risks of fading the rug. 

Dry soil removal

With a carpet, a vacuum cleaner will easily get all the dirt off, but with a rug, it’s a whole different ball game. Rugs are generally thicker than carpets and have a relatively denser pile construction. Hence, they will trap more dirt deep into the fabric. That is why it is advised you give your rugs to professionals. They know what to do and the equipment to use to get your favorite rug all cleaned.

Fringe

Rugs, unlike carpets, come with fringes, especially if they are hand made. These fringes are delicate and can come off with aggressive agitations. 

All these go to show that rug cleaning requires more technicality than you think. They are durable yet, delicate and need to be adequately taken care of to ensure they last you a long time.

We should probably answer the question of if steam cleaning a rug is a good idea. We get asked this question a lot, and we are going to do justice to that.

Should You Steam Clean a Rug?

The simple answer to this is no. While steam will be efficient in removing allergens, dirt, and grime from your carpet, it can do significant damage to your rugs. Simply steam cleaning is not enough, a more sophisticated process is necessary to get the best results.

This is because carpets are made from synthetic materials like polypropylene or polyester, and can withstand the heat and harsh chemicals used in the steam cleaning process. Rugs, on the other hand, are mostly made from natural fibers like wool, silk, and cotton, all of which are very sensitive to these chemicals and can be damaged by excessive application of heat.   

 

Benefits of Rug Cleaning

 

Rugs do not only improve the aesthetics of your decor; they also protect your flooring. In protecting your flooring, they get stepped on a lot, and this high traffic activity can lead to an accumulation of dirt and grime in the rug. It is essential to get your rugs cleaned out as often as it should since it comes with a lot of advantages.

Below are some of those benefits.   

Odor and stain Removal

The most obvious importance is the removal of dirt and stains. As we said, rugs can easily accumulate dirt because of their structure, and they can also get stained either by a coffee spill, red wine stains, inkblots, and so on. These stains are stubborn and could create a dent and an imperfection that nice decor statement you are trying to achieve. 

An accumulation of the grime and debris will inadvertently lead to some nasty odor that can stink up the whole area (not to mention the “presents” your Pets leave!). Getting your rug cleaned by a professional will leave it looking brand new and smelling fresh. 

Pest Elimination

The piles of most rugs are very thick and dense. Consequently, they can harbor and serve as a breeding ground for pests like bed bugs, beetles, and so on. Combine this with the dirt locked within the rug’s fabric, and you have a full-blown colony right under your feet.

Regular cleaning of your rugs gives these pests no breeding ground to operate. It is especially important if you have kids in your homes. Kids crawl about, and when they get on a bad rug with pests and disease-causing insects, they could get infected.

Increase in the Rug’s Lifespan

Cleaning your rugs regularly also improves its lifespan. As debris accumulates in the rug pile, it can cause the fibers to split and deteriorate over time. A good clean will restore the rug to its brand-new quality, thereby adding more years to its lifespan.

In addition, a good clean removes the effects of the high traffic activities on the rug. If you really pay attention to your rugs, you’d notice that areas that get a considerable amount of traffic get darker over time. This is because with high traffic comes more dirt and more weight on the rug. Over time, this excessive weight collapses the pile of the rug, trapping and locking the dirt in even more. This can lead to the deterioration and the eventual ruin of the rug. 

Allergen Reduction

A dirty rug is essentially a stockpile of dirt and allergens. If they get into the air, they can trigger some respiratory and allergic reactions. Having the rug cleaned at appropriate times eliminates all that.

 

Best Rug Cleaning Equipment 

 

As we have established earlier, rug cleaning is not as simple as it seems. It is a complex process that requires some technicality and expertise. 

On the expertise end, are the professionals whose job is to ensure your rug comes out the best it can possibly be. On the technicality end is the machinery and equipment that are responsible for carrying out these processes. 

A professional rug cleaning service, such as ourselves, should use only the latest technology in the rug cleaning industry. These machineries include a Duster, a Compressed Air machine, and a Centrifuge.

Duster (Portable Duster)

This equipment, also referred to as a mechanical harmonic vibration machine, does the job of removing all the dry, non-water-soluble soiling such as sand, grit, hair, etc. Earlier I mentioned that rugs accumulate a ton of dirt and debris, and this is because of the way they are built. 

A typical vacuum cleaner is not the appropriate equipment to clean your rugs. Using them will only give you a surface clean at best. On the other hand, a powerful duster will vibrate the individual fibers that make up the entirety of the rug, dispelling all the trapped dirt in the process. 

Rotary rug cleaner

This equipment is like a mechanized brush that massages the shampoo, deodorizers, and cleaning solutions (enzymes) into the rugs to get them thoroughly cleaned.

Compressed air machine

A lot of companies will stop at the portable duster phase and move straight to washing. We go a little bit extra by using compressed air to remove any leftover debris that the duster failed to get to. This machine uses compressed air to force out any trapped dirt within the rug’s loops and fibers.

Centrifuge

After thorough washing, the next step is to dry the rug, and that is where the centrifuge comes in. The centrifuge will spin at speeds of about 1200 RPMs or higher to remove all the wastewater and help the rug dry as quickly as possible.

 

Rug Cleaning Prices

 

Rug cleaning quotations are dependent on the style, type of rug, and the kind of service you want. We offer a variety of services, and each of these services has a different price tag. Transparency is a core ethos of Simply Rug Cleaning, we never hide our pricing from customers. 

 

Rug TypePrice Details
Synthetic rugs$2.00/sq.ft.Because synthetic rugs are a lower-risk in the cleaning process we can reduce the cost for the same level of clean as an Oriental or Persian rug would receive. 

Services Included:

 

  • Harmonic Vibration Dusting
  • Compressed Air Dusting
  • Spot Treatment
  • CRB Power Scrubbing
  • Hand-Wash Immersion Cleaning Front & Back
  • Soft Water Rinse
  • Centrifuge Rinse
  • Climate & Humidity Controlled QuickDry
Wool rugs$3.00/sq.ft.Wool rugs are delicate and require the utmost attention to detail. 

Services Included:

  • Harmonic Vibration Dusting
  • Compressed Air Dusting
  • Spot Treatment
  • CRB Power Scrubbing
  • Hand-Wash Immersion Cleaning Front & Back
  •  Soft Water Rinse, Centrifuge Rinse
  • Climate & Humidity Controlled QuickDry
  • Fringe Detailing
Specialty rugs $4.00/sq.ft.Specialty Fibers Include Silk, Bamboo Silk, Art Silk, Viscose, Jute, Hemp, Seagrass, Sisal, etc. 

Services Included:

  • Harmonic Vibration Dusting
  • Compressed Air Dusting
  • Spot Treatment
  • CRB Power Scrubbing
  • Hand-Wash Immersion Cleaning Front & Back
  •  Soft Water Rinse
  • Centrifuge Rinse
  • Climate & Humidity Controlled QuickDry
  • Fringe Detailing
Bender bar dusting (Shag rug)$0.75/sq.ft.Shag rugs are more luxurious and higher maintenance than a standard rug is required due to the density of the pile. 

To provide the same level of cleaning as a standard pile rug would receive we take these additional steps; 

  • Bender Bar Dusting
  • Pile Setting
  • Extended Dry Period

 

In addition to our rug cleaning services, we offer other specialties that improve the rug’s appearance and make it even easier for you to clean during your light cleaning procedures. These services are highlighted below.

 

ServicePriceDetails
Odor remediation$1.00/sq. ft.This enzyme-based soaking treatment is so effective in dispelling bad smells.
ScotchGard protective finish$1.00/sq. ft.This uniquely formulated coating provides increased protection from liquid spills and helps your rug stay cleaner for a longer time. 
FiberDefender$1.50/sq. ft.With our patented FiberDefender, you’ll be able to clean up most spots, spills, and life accidents with just water and a microfiber towel.
Moth Repel$0.75/sq. ft.This topical moth deterrent application is used to prevent moths from laying their dangerous moth larvae in your rug during storage.
Peroxide Stain Treatments$25.00 per stain of up to 6” in diameterOur peroxide stain treatments help to remove discolorations from fibers using H2O2 and UV rays.
Durahold Rug Pad$2.25/sq. ft.Our Durahold No-Muv is the quality rug pad that will protect your rugs and extend its lifespan. 
Rug Pad Clean$1.00/sq. ft.If liquids have gone through the rug and into the pad, we have the equipment to get these cleaned out.
Rush Order$1.00/sq. ft.In the event of a special occasion or specific timeline, we can put in a few extra hours to ensure a quick turnaround time.
(2) Two Person

Pickup/Delivery

$45.00 flatFor rugs that are larger than 9×12 and heavier than 75 lbs, this flat-rate fee allows us to send a second technician to assist with large/heavy items or rug moving.
Storage Wrapping$5.00/Ln. ft.We offer poly tubing storage wrapping and preparation for rugs being stored for transportation or long-term storage. 

 

 

Rug Cleaning at Home

 

We recommend you get your rugs thoroughly cleaned by a professional at least twice a year. In addition to this, you should incorporate some intermittent cleaning schedules to ensure the rug’s quality stays intact. 

This is where a lot of people get it wrong. Either they use harsh chemicals for specialty rugs like Persian and oriental, or they do things that reduce the lifespan and durability of the rug. We know it is not your fault; it’s because you haven’t come across information on properly cleaning your area rug… until today!

Here are the basic steps you should follow when cleaning a rug on your own.

1. Vacuum the rug

The first step you must take is to vacuum the rug, preferable with a two-speed vacuum cleaner. You should note that you must not only do the top of the rug, but you must vacuum the back as well. This is because the design of rugs makes them able to hold on to dirt further deep into their fiber, and cleaning the top an\lone will not have much effect. Once you have thoroughly vacuumed the top, flip the rug over and do the back as well.

2. Dust the rug off 

The next step is to take the rug outside and whack it to ensure no more dust particles and dry soil are lurking within the rug’s pile. On a professional level, the compressed air procedure does this job, but since you are at home and do not have access to such machinery, the next best thing is to beat the rug till you cannot see any visible trace of dust.

3. Shampoo the rug

After whacking the rug, the next procedure is to wash thoroughly with a mild carpet shampoo. If you don’t have a carpet shampoo, dish soap will do just fine, just not something too harsh that can damage the fabric. Then proceed to use a soft brush to scrub gently on the rug.

Before washing the entire rug, first test the soap on a small area on the rug to check if the colors bleed. If they don’t, then proceed to wash the entire rug. If they do, it is best to call a professional.

4. Dry the rug

Once you have washed the rug, the next thing is to dry it. The proper way to dry your rug is to air dry it inside your house. Please, do not dry your rug in the sun. This innocent act can severely damage your rugs, especially if they are Persian or oriental rugs. 

5. Vacuum again

One the rug is completely rid of moisture, the next thing to do is vacuum again, just to double-check. 

 

Spot Cleaning a Rug

 

It could be a wine stain from the party you had the night before, or from that cup of coffee you need to keep your energies up in the morning; one way or another, spills can occur, and when they do, could leave lasting stains that just don’t sit right. In these situations, it is essential you know some DIY tips and tricks to get the stains off your area rug. 

We, professionals, use hydrogen peroxide to blot out these stubborn stains from your rug. Hydrogen peroxide is a potent compound in removing stains from rugs. However, if you feel the need to use it on yours, you need to be extremely careful. Using peroxide with a high level of concentration can damage the colors and patterns of your rug.

 

Rug Cleaning Products

 

Even if you know the best procedures to apply when cleaning your rug, using the appropriate rug shampoo is a huge determinant of how well your rug will turn out after a clean, and how easy the cleaning process will be for you.

There are some things you need to look out for when getting a rug cleaning shampoo.

1. Price point

When getting a rug shampoo, it is best to go for those in the moderate price level. You don’t want to go for the overly cheap ones as they might not contain the ideal components that should be present in your shampoo. 

2. Chemical components

This is probably the most important thing you should look out for, especially if your rugs are premium ones like Persian and oriental rugs. Like we always say, do not use any product on your rugs that you will not use on your own body. 

Stay away from products that have ammonia because although they are effective bleaching agents, they can damage the rug in the long run. 

3. Performance

A good rug shampoo should contain an enzyme component that destroys odor-causing microorganisms as a result of the spill and grime in the rug. They are effective against urine, blood, food, drink, and vomit stains and smells. Also, a rug shampoo should be able to get stains off easily without excessive agitation.

These are the major things to look out for when getting your rug shampoo. Some people prefer to make theirs on their own, and if you fall into this category, there are some things you should know before you proceed to make your rug shampoo at home. 

But why risk it when you can get quality, professional clean? Unlike other cleaning products with harsh chemicals out there, ours is plant-based and environmentally friendly. Our cleaning solution features an encapsulation and absorbent compound that breaks down the stain at a molecular level and absorbs it for easy cleaning. This plant-based solution is mild so it keeps your rug’s colours and designs intact without compromising on the rigor of the cleaning. 

 

Odor Removal

 

As your rugs accumulate grime, it gives off a nasty smell. Even worse is if you have a pet that does a number 1 just about anywhere (including your rug). These odor-causing agents, like your pet’s urine, food odors, and any other foul odors, need to be neutralized by a thorough odor-removal soaking process.    

 

Pet Stain Removal

 

We all love our furry friends, but once in a while, nature calls for them. And if you have an untrained pet, they could do this act of nature on your rug. You are then left with poo and pee stains all over your favorite wool rug. 

It is essential you get these cleaned out as they not only leave residues of stains on your rug but can also be a breeding spot of some bacteria that are harmful to human health. 

 

Rug Protection

 

In addition to knowing how to clean and take care of your area rug, you must also know how to protect it to reduce cleaning schedules and extend its lifespan. At Simply Rug Cleaning, we offer these protective elements (highlighted below) in combination with the quality clean your rug deserves. 

ScotchGard fiber protection

Cleaning your rug is important, but it becomes a problem when you do it too often. Rugs are highly prone to getting dirty, especially in high traffic areas, and in these situations, of course, a thorough clean is warranted. 

But what if there was a safe way to protect the rug from soil and liquid spill stains to reduce the frequency of that thorough cleaning that could damage the integrity of the rug? Well, there is. With our Scotchgard fiber protection, you get a scientifically-proven, protective barrier that increases stain resistance, water resistance, and wear resistance of your rug, ultimately extending its life and value.  

Topical moth deterrent

You do not have to worry about bugs or ticks lurking within your rug anymore because our moth deterrent increases your rug’s ability to repel insect infestation.  

Rug pad replacement

Rug pads are essential to absorb the constant crushing that comes with excessive traffic on the rug. Over time, they could wear out, and when they do, they will need a replacement. Our services also incorporate a rug pad replacement to ensure the durability of your area rug stays intact.

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