Take Care of Your Area Rugs…Here’s How!

Men laying new hardwood flooring

By Janice Howell, vice president, MODA Floors & Interiors, Atlanta’s only Shaw Design Center, www.modafloorsandinteriors.com

Area rugs need the same attention and consistent maintenance as your carpeting, ceramic tile or hardwood flooring. Knowing what’s expected of you regarding their upkeep can be a determining factor in the type of rugs you purchase.

Although a handmade rug is a work of art, it’s made to be walked on. So are all machine-made rugs. With usage, as the top layers of pile break, (in most cases wool), the pile looks shinier and smoother, and with light exposure the colors look more harmonious.

Here are a few steps to make sure that your area rug ages gracefully, naturally and beautifully.

  • Vacuum or sweep your rug as you would wall-to-wall carpeting. Be careful that the fringes don’t get pulled or sucked in by the vacuum cleaner.
  • Depending on traffic patterns, rotate your rug 180 degrees every few months or every year. All parts of your rug should be exposed to light equally so that the colors fade evenly. Also, all parts of the rug should be exposed to an equal amount of traffic so that the pile wears evenly.
  • Immediately dry a water spill with a hairdryer set on a warm temperature. If possible, try to dry both sides of your rug.
  • In case of a soft drink or alcohol spill, apply salt or baking soda to the spot for a few minutes to absorb the color of the drink. Then vacuum off the salt or baking soda. After vacuuming, use a wet towel to gently wipe the stain in the direction of the nap (the direction the pile faces). You can wet the towel with regular or carbonated water. Be gentle; don’t scrub your rug.
  • For old stains, take the rug to a professional handmade rug retailer. Don’t try to clean old stains yourself.
  • Depending on the amount of traffic on the rug, have your rug washed by a professional every two to five years. As the rug is used, dust, dirt and broken fiber get into the foundation. Professionals dust the rug with special equipment to get all of these elements out of the foundation before washing it. Then, they usually wash the rug by hand using natural soap. They will also make sure the rug is dried from the surface to the foundation before it’s used again.
  • Don’t take your rug to general carpet-cleaning companies because the techniques and chemicals they use for wall-to-wall carpets may not be appropriate for handmade rugs.
  • Good padding also makes it safer to walk on your rug and will protect its value and appearance.
  • When considering repairing a handmade rug, compare the repair cost to the rug’s value. Sometimes, it’s better if collectible items remain in their original state and not be repaired because their value might actually decrease by any change, even if the change appears good.

Keep your area rugs looking great and your home will continue looking as inviting as ever!

When it comes to your home, you can never get too much advice about maintenance and up-keep! Find more detailed advice like this from our experts on our website at www.AtlantaHomeImprovement.com, grab helpful tidbits from our Twitter by following us @ATLHomeImprove, and don’t forget to “like” us at www.Facebook.com/AtlantaHomeImprovement to see our area’s home improvement buzz!

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