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A clean and stylish area rug can enliven any space in your household. In fact area rugs have become a trendy household accessory often used to revamp the weary looking atmosphere of a home by creating attractive and welcoming look.

However, area rugs are prone to regular wear and tear as they accumulate dirt, odor, dust, mud and oils caused from foot traffic, pet accidents, spills and smoke. So frequent maintenance and proper cleaning is extremely important to extend their life.

Professional Area Rug Cleaning

Don’ts in Area Rug Cleaning 

* Spot Cleaning with a Poorly Matched Product 

While over-the-counter carpet shampoos or detergents work for carpets made from synthetic fiber, they are too harsh for natural fiber area rugs. The rich dyes found on area rugs bleed due to these chemicals. The rug will not only get damaged but also stain the floor underneath. The damage caused is permanent in most of the cases.

* Using Abrasive Carpet Cleaner

Abrasive carpet cleaners may be fine for carpets, but we are not talking about carpets here. The carpet cleaning process is entirely different from the cleaning process used on area rugs. Some unprofessional carpet cleaners steam-clean area rugs using abrasive carpet cleaning solution, washing them. They then pull the water out from the washed rug.

This method can damage an area rug as it leaves detergent residue, making the nature fibers of area rugs stick to one and another.  As damp area rugs often require 24 to 48 hours dry time, too, some heavy rugs even become breeding grounds for bacteria and molds. In this process, even the wood flooring beneath the rug can stain. This is caused from bleeding dyes and humidity of a damp rug.

For handmade rugs with natural fiber, like silk or wool rugs, this method is not suitable. This is a standard process used exclusively for cleaning synthetic wall-to-wall carpeting, but it is unsafe on delicate area rugs.

Do’s in Area Rug Cleaning

* Professional Area Rug Cleaning

Professional rug cleaners, on arriving at your home, first inspect your rug to decide the right cleaning solution for it. On analyzing the dyes, fibers, state and origin of the area rug, they know what type of cleaning solution is appropriate. After identifying a suitable cleaning solution, they often provide information and an estimated time for cleaning.

The rug is sometimes taken to a outside facility for more detailed analysis. There, they dust the rug using a compressed air technique. This eliminates dirt and other small particles. From there, the rug is hand-cleaned and rinsed to avoid any issues with color runs.

Akin to the washing process, the drying method is also specific to the type of area rug. The rugs dry naturally by hanging so that gravity removes any moisture. (Note: They can also be dried flat or with the help of a fresh air breeze.) While drying, pros fluff and/or brush the rug’s pile using a comb. This helps the rug retain its nature charm.

In the washing and drying process, harsh chemicals or abrasive machines are not used. After drying, the area rug is again vacuumed, cleaned and inspected. If results unsatisfactory, pros repeat the complete cleaning routine until the area rug is free from any odors or dust particles. Once qualified as clean, the rug is then returned to its owner.

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Jerrod Lack works for professional carpet and area rugs cleaning company Lack’s Cleaning. He loves to advise people on how to maintain the sheen of their expensive area rugs. Also visit his website for more tips on rugs cleaning.

For more from Building Moxie on Cleaning Best Practices, as well as more on Carpeting and Area Rugs, check out the article – Creating an Area Rug with Carpet Tiles. For more tips on cleaning area rugs, here’s an article from Family Handyman. Thanks. ~jb, Editor – BuildingMoxie.com

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Image via Orange County Rug Cleaners.