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No, you don’t need a belt full of tools to properly maintain and care for your area rugs. In fact, keeping an area rug looking new is actually pretty easy. With a little bit of attention it can last a long, long time and withstand a great deal of use.
The single most important tool you’ll need doesn’t fit very well on a belt – your vacuum cleaner. Most of the dirt, sand, dust and debris that ends up on your area rug can be removed easily with a simple vacuuming. (Liquid spills are another matter completely and we’ve covered them in a separate article. Click here if you would like to read it.)
New rugs often have a certain amount of “fuzz” that frequently appears on top of the rug. This is normal and is not an indication that there is something wrong with your rug. It is simply loose fibers that are created during the weaving process that work their way to the surface over time. If they bother you, simply vacuum more frequently. In some cases it may take several months for all of the “fuzz” to disappear. Many people get frustrated and feel they have received a defective product when the “fuzz” continually reappears. Please don’t be one of them!
After all the fuzzies are gone, a thorough vacuuming once ever two weeks is probably sufficient. If you can flip the rug over and vacuum the back as well, that is ideal. Ground-in dirt will actually be closer to the bottom than the top and it is easier for the vacuum to suck it out from there than the surface.
One important note of caution: if your rug has fringe, DO NOT run the vacuum over it. This should be obvious, but based upon how many ruined fringed rugs we see, it apparently is not. Nothing will damage the fringe on a rug more than spinning it around your vacuum’s beater bar. Not only will you have to immediately stop the vacuum and carefully unwind the fibers, but there’s a good chance you will literally tear them off the rug. Not good. Not easy to fix. Just don’t do it.
For braided rugs and flatweaves, avoid using the vacuum’s beater bar entirely. Use the hard-floor attachment instead. Rugs constructed in these ways are too easy to snag and pull with a spinning beater bar and suction alone will usually do a great job of pulling out all the dirt.
A few tips that will extend the life of your rug:
- At least once a year, rotate your rug 180 degrees. This will ensure the rug gets even exposure to light and wear and will therefore maintain a consistent look over time. Any fading will be spread evenly and no pile will be worn down more than any other.
- For braided and flatwoven rugs, also flip them in addition to rotating. They are made to be reversible, so reverse them to even out the wear. This will literally double the life of the rug.
- If you ever encounter a pull or loose thread on your rug, go to the drawer, get a pair of scissors and carefully trim the offending fiber close to the surface of the rug. DO NOT PULL! Remember, a rug is a very intricately woven product. Pulling out a tread can do more damage than you can imagine to the entire structure of the rug.
- Many people opt not to put a quality pad underneath their rug. We hear lots of excuses why, but none of them are valid. A rug pad does much more than simply keep the rug from slipping on a wooden floor, although this is an extremely important safety concern. It also cushions and protects the rug – and keeps it looking new much, much longer. Instead of crushing the rug into the floor with each step you take on it, the pad absorbs the weight – not the rug’s fibers. Kind of makes sense, huh? So please put a pad under your rug – especially if it’s going to be placed on a hardwood floor.
See how easy it is to care for your fine-quality area rugs? You don’t need a lot of tools – just a good vacuum cleaner and a pair of scissors – nor do you need to invest a lot of time to keep your investment in rugs paying you back with many years of comfort and enjoyment.
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