Area rugs can make fantastic floor covering and protect your carpet, hardwood, or tile. They are soft and warm underfoot even in wintertime, and add color, design and brightness to any home.
How to Save Area Rugs After a Spill
When a rug gets a spill or stain, immediate action can save the looks of your rug. However, you need to know what type of rug you own in order to take appropriate action and not cause more damage.
Small rag rugs and worked rugs made from a blend of fabrics are often safe to simply toss in a washing machine and then line dry. In general, larger rugs are made with a variety of “not washer safe” materials and have backings that must be handled properly to avoid warping or curling.
In many cases, your rug will have a tag or a marking indicating what it is made of. The four most common materials for rugs are wool, cotton, silk, or synthetic blends. If you aren’t sure what kind your rug is, ask “the dry guys” to examine your area rug.
The manufacturing process by which your rug was created can also be a signal towards its proper care and handling. Rugs can be painstakingly handmade, woven, tufted, braided, or machine produced. The latter can often be cleaned using a method similar to that used when cleaning regular carpeting. Any of the former may require special cleaning.
This goes for rugs of unusual shape or size, or those that have anything other than a tightly bound edge. Tassels, fringe, or knotted edges may require special handling to avoid warping and stretching or shrinking.
If your rug needs a quick spot cleaning, the first thing to do is find out if it is colorfast. Blot the spill with a clean white towel, and make a quick visual confirmation as to the extent of the damage. Are the colors starting to run?
If color is bleeding into your blotting towel, grab a box of baking soda and pack the affected area, raising it up to pack the underside as well. Let the powder absorb as much of the stain as possible, while you get on the phone to “the dry guys”.
If there is no color bleed onto the towel, blot hard then sponge the area carefully with club soda to help lift the rest of the spot. Finally, prop the rug up so air can get underneath and point a small fan at it to aid in drying.
Take care of your area rugs year round by instituting polices like “no shoes in the house”, and keeping animals off of the rugs if possible. Move your rugs periodically by a few inches to avoid footpaths being worn into them in high traffic areas. Air your rugs out once in a while by placing them outside when there is a cool, dry day with a stiff breeze. Your area rugs can last for years if they are treated properly.