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How to Clean an Area Rug On Hardwood Floors

In today’s homes, it’s common practice to place a large area rug on hardwood floors. With that, there is also a responsibility to keep the rug and floor in prime condition with proper treatment and cleaning. By regularly cleaning your rug, you can extend the longevity of your rug and the floor beneath it.

Learn More About Rug Cleaning

  1. Choosing the Right Cleaning Method
  2. Preparing the Area Rug and Hardwood Floor
  3. Cleaning the Area Rug on Hardwood Floors

Choosing the Right Cleaning Method

Depending on the state of your rug, you may need to clean one or two isolated areas or clean the entirety of the rug. In each of these cases, it is vital to clean the rug according to its care instructions. Rugs with different pile heights and materials will benefit from different vacuum beaters and attachments. Similarly, spot cleaning the rug will employ different methods based on the rug’s material and nature of the stain. These two methods of cleaning the rug are ideal on a day to day basis, but if you want to fully rejuvenate your rug, consider taking it to a professional cleaner. Not only can they clean hard-set stains, but they can also give the rug a deep cleaning and restore the rug to its former glory.

Preparing the Area Rug and Hardwood Floor

As you prepare to clean your rug through spot cleaning or deeper cleaning methods, it is important to prepare your rug so that your cleaning is as effective as possible. 

  • Shake and Beat the Rug: Before all else, take the opportunity to shake any loose dirt and debris out of the rug. Large rugs may be draped over a washline and beaten, but smaller area rugs can be shaken by hand to remove surface-level debris and dirt. 
  • Move Furniture: When laying your rug out to clean, be sure that there is no furniture, pillows, or other items sitting on top of the rug. It is important to have nothing on the rug so that you can easily clean the rug’s entire surface. 
  • Protect the Hardwood Floor: It’s wise to protect your wood floor from any moisture/cleaner that you may use on your rug. Because of that, we recommend placing a plastic sheet or a drop cloth onto the hardwood floor beneath your rug. You may also take the rug outdoors to clean it as well.

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Cleaning the Area Rug on Hardwood Floors

After you’ve prepared your rug and the nearby area for the rug cleaning process, you can choose which method best suits your needs. General cleaning like vacuuming is incredibly easy and good to regularly treat your rug, but spot-cleaning and deep-cleaning each have their own layers of complexity to consider. 

Vacuum the Rug: Once again, be sure that you’ve shaken your rug out to remove loose dirt and debris before vacuuming. This step will help the vacuum clean deeper rug fibers and create a cleaner rug. Then, attach the proper head to your vacuum. Beater brushes, also known as rotating brushes, are ideal for cleaning cut-pile carpets, but they may damage loose fibers or rugs with higher piles. Because of that, it is vital to research what vacuum type is best for deep-cleaning your specific rug type without damaging it. 

Spot Clean Stains: Stains should be treated as soon as they occur so that they do not soak deeper into the rug’s fibers. With that, most rugs are able to be cleaned with a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush. After the area is scrubbed, rinse it thoroughly with water. 

One more important thing to note: before trying a new cleaner or detergent on your rug, try a smaller, hidden area to ensure that the rug cleaner doesn’t damage the rug’s fibers or cause the colors to bleed. You may also research what formulas work best with your rug’s specific materials and construction. 

Cleaning the Area Rug on Hardwood Floors (continued)

Shampoo or Steam Clean: Carpet shampoos can also be used to clean the rug, assuming that cleaner is approved for your specific rug. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best results. Testing a smaller area of the rug is also recommended so that if the cleaner does damage the rug, it will be known before you clean the entire rug or a prominent spot. 

In the same vein, steam cleaners can also be used to rejuvenate the rug and remove lingering dirt. Be sure to keep at least 6 inches of space between the rug and the steamer, and set the steamer to a lower heat to avoid damaging the rug’s fibers. 

Dry the Rug: Before putting all the furniture back into place, it is vital to let the rug completely dry. You can expedite the process by putting fans in the room or opening windows, or the rug can be hung on a washline. If the rug isn’t dried properly, then it may develop mildew and begin to smell. Some rug materials like jute are susceptible to moisture damage as well, so if the rug isn’t dried, then the rug is more likely to stain from the water/cleaner.

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Whenever you place a rug in a room, it is important to regularly clean the rug to minimize stains, remove dust, and reinvigorate the rug’s fibers. With regular maintenance and care, your rug will have a longer lifespan, greater comfort, and host less allergens in its deep fibers. Taking care of your room’s rug on hardwood floors definitely pays off in both the present and the future!


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