How to Clean Common Rug Spills?

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By Deirdre Mundorf

Updated: Jul 07, 2024

8 min read

How Do You Clean an Area Rug Spill
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    Regular maintenance like vacuuming and immediate stain removal are crucial for preserving the appearance and longevity of area rugs. However, different rug materials require specific care methods. Natural fiber rugs like wool require gentle cold water cleaning to prevent fiber damage. In contrast, synthetic rugs can withstand more vigorous cleaning with hot water and stronger detergents. Yet, certain rugs like Persian, Oriental, silk, or viscose ones necessitate professional cleaning. Prompt attention to spills is essential, but rushing the cleaning process is ill-advised. And if things get out of hand, there’s always a rug cleaning service just a click away!

    Effective Stain Removal

    When your rug gets stains, act fast. Instead of rubbing, gently press on the stain and dry up spills quickly. For different stains, use a mix of soap, water, and vinegar or special cleaners.

    • Gum and wax- Freeze and scrape.
    • Paint- Soap and alcohol.
    • Urine or vomit - Soap and rinse.

    Just remember, quick action and gentle treatment are key to removing stains from rugs effectively.

    Cleaning Methods for Different Rug Types

    Depending on the rug type, different cleaning methods are required. Here's a guide on how to care for various styles:

    • Braided or Woven Rugs- Many are machine washable, while others can be scrubbed with a commercial carpet cleaner.
    • Hand-Knotted, Antique, and Oriental Rugs-  These are often expensive, delicate, or old, requiring professional cleaning if water alone isn't effective.
    • Use warm water mixed with soap and just brush it up for rugs made up of coir, Sisal,Rush and grass.
    • Use of talcum powder is good on rugs made up of fur, Sheepskin etc. Just spread the talcum powder across the rug and shake it up vigorously.

    These simple methods can help you keep your rug clean, make it last longer, and handle spills well. Just remember to check the rug's tags or the manufacturer's instructions for any special cleaning tips.

    Cleaning the Rug

    Cleaning the Rug
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    When uncertain, it's wise to test a hidden spot to ensure no color bleeding or staining occurs. If dealing with solid messes like food or vomit, remove them first, then gently blot the stain with a clean white towel to absorb excess liquid. Next, apply a mild solution of dish soap or laundry detergent diluted in warm water using another fresh white towel, ensuring not to saturate the area excessively to prevent spreading or prolonged drying time, which could lead to mold or mildew.

    Rinse the area with warm water, continuing to blot until the stain vanishes, avoiding scrubbing to prevent fiber damage. For tough stains, consider using an enzymatic stain remover after verifying its compatibility with your rug's material and testing a small area. Follow the product instructions, allowing it to soak before gently scrubbing it with a damp rag or soft brush. In cases of persistent or old stains, consider investing in a portable carpet upholstery cleaner.

    Ensure thorough drying to prevent mildew formation, which is especially crucial for natural fibers like wool and cotton, as prolonged dampness can harm both the rug and the underlying floor. Use a fan or hairdryer in a cold setting if necessary, as improper drying can lead to mold growth and floor damage.

    Vacuuming and Deep Cleaning

    Start by vacuuming the area rug extensively, ensuring it covers both sides if feasible. After that, turn the rug over to reach the embedded dirt for a thorough cleaning.

    Outdoor Cleaning

    Transport smaller area rugs outdoors for a thorough shake, possibly donning a mask to prevent inhaling dust and dirt. Alternatively, suspend the rug and utilize a fresh broom or rug beater for enhanced dirt removal.

    Cleaning in Accordance With Manufacturer Guidelines

    If the spot test on your area rug proves successful, proceed to clean it according to the manufacturer's guidelines. This may involve washing it in the washing machine using a gentle cycle, ensuring to place the rug inside a mesh bag or pillowcase for added protection, or using a specialized carpet cleaner or diluted liquid dish soap along with a clean cloth or sponge for gentle cleaning.

    For rugs that are not colorfast, opt for cleaning methods that do not involve water whenever possible. Consider applying baking soda, dry carpet cleaning granules, or cornstarch to the rug, allowing it to sit before vacuuming it thoroughly.

    Colour Maintenance and Rinse

    To maintain the color of the rugs, rinse with a solution of water and a dash of white vinegar to remove dirt and cleaning residue, ensuring not to saturate the rug.

    Drying Techniques

    On a sunny, windy day, launder your area rugs. Hang them outdoors on a drying frame or drape them over a bannister to accelerate drying. If washing them indoors, absorb excess moisture with white towels and utilize fans to expedite the drying process.

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