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Area Rug Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance of your area rug can preserve its beauty and also increase its overall lifetime.

Arrival of Your Area Rug

An area rug with a bump in it

Once your area rug arrives at its new home, lay it flat and thoroughly vacuum it. It is normal for area rugs to arrive with wrinkles or bends as a result of the storing and shipping process. It can take a week or more for the rug to lay totally flat.

Area rugs may also have light shredding where small fibers leftover on the rug from the manufacturing process come loose on the surface. Simply vacuum your rugs a few times and this should stop. If you are not happy with how your area rug looks, contact the manufacturer immediately for a possible refund or exchange.

Note: Rugs should be placed in areas that are clean and dry. Even areas that seem dry, such as a concrete basement floor, often emit moisture that can ruin your area rugs over time.

Regular Cleaning

One of many professional area rugs cleaning

Vacuum the front of rugs weekly and the back of rugs every other week. You may choose to use a hand tool without a beater bar for delicate or antique rugs. Area rugs can sometimes be spot cleaned with a manufacturer approved cleaner. Never try to wash a rug that is not colorfast as the colors may bleed. A professional cleaning is recommended every 1–5 years depending on the amount of traffic.

Note on Area Rugs and Over–wetting: Natural fibers can absorb liquids and may take longer to dry out than synthetic fibers which may promote the growth of mold and mildew when rugs are wet for extended periods of time. In addition, over–wetting fibers with natural dyes is one of the most common reasons for color bleeding of area rugs. In order to avoid this, if rugs become overly wet, you should elevate them off the floor to dry but ensure that they dry flat, not folded.

Preventing Area Rug Fading

Because intense sunlight can fade area rugs over time, it is wise to protect them by ensuring they do not receive too much direct sunlight through windows and doors. To do this, you can close drapes or blinds during intense sunlight hours or install UV protection on windows. If one area of the rugs is receiving direct sunlight daily, shift your area rug monthly, so that no area of the rug gets too much sunlight for an extended period of time.

Note: Many natural dyes tend to fade faster than synthetic dyes; therefore more care should be taken with these area rugs.

Storing Area Rugs

Rolled rugs for storage

There are precautions to take when storing your area rugs to ensure that they are not damaged while in storage. First, rugs should be cleaned and then rolled with the pile facing inward. Never fold area rugs as this can create an irreversible crease. Rugs should be stored in dry, cool areas with little natural light, if any. Avoid rooms that lack climate control such as attics and some basements.

To avoid the havoc that moths and carpet beetles can wreck on your area rugs, it is best to keep area rugs in clean spaces that are well dusted and to elevate the rug off the floor when in storage. To be safe, check them regularly for any infestations. You can use special carpet insecticides that will prevent infestations from forming though we recommend you contact the area rug manufacturer before applying any products to your rug.

Repairing Area Rugs

A fraying area rug

A professional area rug restorer can often fix fraying edges, burn holes, tears, and damaged fringe. Area rugs can often be re–dyed to restore their vibrant colors as well. If an entire section of the area rug is damaged beyond repair, a skilled worker can often take a matching area from another rug and patch it in. While repairs may not make a rug look brand new again, they are usually done well enough so that they are unnoticeable.

For more help caring for or repairing your area rugs, use our live chat help or ask a professional in our Flooring Forums.