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Area Rug Cleaning: A Guide on How To Keep Them Good as New

Area rugs are a perfect addition to any interior decor because of their compact size and intriguing designs. They provide that warmth and comfort every homeowner longs for. Studies show that nearly 80% of American households include at least one area rug. However, regular area rug cleaning steps are crucial for learning how to keep them good as new

Whether you have a wool, synthetic, or delicate material rug, using proper area rug cleaning techniques can extend its lifespan and preserve its precious beauty. The use of material-specific solutions may also help you get rid of stubborn rug stains.

In this guide, we’ll explore step-by-step instructions, specific cleaning products and methods, precautions, and considerations to help you keep your area rug in pristine condition.

General Area Rug Maintenance Tips

When exploring methods of area rug cleaning and tips on how to keep them as good as new, you’ll probably come across some general maintenance tips everyone should practice regularly. But we’ve singled out the most common and most helpful ones. 

Regular Vacuuming

As you’re probably already aware, the easiest way to keep your area rug clean is to use a vacuum cleaner. Make sure to do this at least once a week to remove dust and debris. Keep in mind that frequently stepped-on areas may require more frequent weekly vacuuming.

You want to find a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar that you can adjust, as this one is perfect for area rugs. For delicate materials, turn off the beater bar to prevent damage.


Sun rays can negatively impact the condition of an area rug by causing its color to fade. But, there’s an efficient technique you can try to avoid easily noticeable fading. We’re talking about rotating your rug every 6-12 months to ensure that both sides are evenly exposed to the sun. 


Place a quality rug pad under your area rug to provide cushioning and protect the floor underneath. This practice can also help you prevent slipping and serious falling accidents, which, unfortunately, are reported by 45.8% of adult area rug users.

Stain Prevention and Treatment

The mentioned area rug maintenance techniques are efficient and practical to ensure you keep them as good as new. But, accidents can happen regardless of how hard you try to prevent stains. Thus, consider the following steps for treating stains:

Immediate Action

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that you can deal more easily with fresh stains than with hardened, sticky spatters. If you happen to spill something on the rug, make sure to ack immediately by wiping the area with a clean towel and continue until you soak up as much liquid as possible.

Stain Removal

A stained carpet or area rug looks old and poorly maintained, which is a look nobody wants in their home. However, you can easily get rid of stains by using the right cleaning solutions. Based on your budget and stain intensity, choose between the following two options:

  • Homemade Solution. Combine mild dish soap with water to create a gentle cleaning solution for most stains.
  • Commercial Products. Opt for specialized rug cleaners for tougher stains, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Odor Control

Yes, area rugs can look uninviting and discolorated, but they can also release unpleasant odors. Luckily, you can get rid of such odors by using a few ingredients everyone has in their homes.  

  • Baking Soda. Apply baking soda by sprinkling it over the area rug. After letting it sit for a couple of hours, you can vacuum it to neutralize odors.
  • Vinegar Solution. Using a mixture of water and white vinegar can help eliminate odors. Before applying the solution to the area rug, ensure you test its effect on a smaller, less noticeable area to avoid causing damage to the rug.

Special Care for Different Rug Materials

Regardless of the rug material, you should treat each with care to ensure you retain its original quality and preserve its unique appearance. Below, you can find the most common materials used to make area rugs and cleaning solutions for each one of them.

Before applying any cleaning solutions to an area rug, ensure you vacuum it and remove any dirt or debris that may be lingering on the surface. 

Wool Rugs

Due to their pattern and color variety, wool area rugs are considered high-quality. Wool is an elegant material requiring the use of gentle detergents, soft cleaning tools, and less water. 

Avoid using excessive water on wool rugs as a safety measure because it can cause damage. We recommend dry cleaning or low-moisture methods. As for removing surface dirt and restoring it to its original state, try using a soft-bristled brush. 

Synthetic Rugs

Area rugs made of synthetic materials are the most commonly found in homes because they’re far cheaper than others. They’re also durable and can withstand different cleaning methods without affecting their quality. 

Synthetic rugs can withstand water-based cleaning methods, including gentle washing and spot cleaning. We don’t recommend using a regular hair or body shampoo for proper area rug cleaning, but there are specific shampoos you can find on the market for safe rug care and rinsing. After cleaning, thoroughly dry your synthetic rug to prevent mildew and mold growth.

Delicate Material Rugs

Area rugs can also be made from delicate materials such as silk or viscose and often require professional cleaning to avoid damage. Depending on usage frequency, you should clean them professionally every 1-2 years.

Area rug cleaning professionals can assess the rug’s condition, identify any specific issues, and recommend appropriate cleaning methods.

Preventative Measures

Constant area rug cleaning is time-consuming and money-draining. For this reason, you must implement some preventative measures to keep your rugs clean and well-preserved for longer.

  • Shoe-Free Zones. Designate shoe-free areas in your home to minimize the transfer of dirt as much as possible. 

  • Sunlight Protection. Limit direct sunlight exposure to prevent fading and discoloration. You can do this by displaying your rug in an area that’s far away from the windows.

If your area rug requires professional cleaning, choose a service that deals with deep-cleaning stain removal by using powerful and sustainable cleaning solutions. You can also ask the experts for advice on how often your area rug needs professional care based on the climate in your city to ensure you know how to keep them as good as new.

Keeping Your Area Rug as Good as New

Proper cleaning and maintenance are essential for preserving the beauty of your area rugs. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can effectively prevent common issues while catering to the specific needs of different rug materials. By caring for it properly, you can rest assured your rug will continue to beautify your home for years to come. 

Remember, each rug is unique, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions if you’ve decided to clean it yourself. Also, test the cleaning product before applying it to your rug. If in doubt, consider consulting a dedicated professional rug cleaner like Steamy Concepts to ensure the best care for your cherished area rug.

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