A woman walks into a shop that sells very expensive Persian rugs. She looks around and spots the perfect rug and walks over to inspect it. As she bends to feel the texture of the rug she farts loudly. Very embarrassed, she looks around nervously to see if anyone has noticed her little accident and hopes a sales person does not pop up at that moment. As she turns back, standing next to her is a salesman. “Good day, how may we help you today?” Very uncomfortably, she asks, “Sir, how much does this rug cost?” He answers, “Lady if you farted just touching it, you’re gonna poop in your pants when you hear what the price is.”
I know, I know, that’s a terrible joke. But the truth is, rugs are expensive! Many times we get them home, vacuum them every once in a while and call it good. But is it good? Is that all there is to taking care of rugs? Yes…and no.
So how do you take care of a rug?
1) Vacuum – don’t just vacuum the topside of the rug. Move the rug, sweep or vacuum all of the dust and dirt that is underneath it, then flip the rug upside down and vacuum the underside. I usually flip the rug back over and vacuum the rug on the topside once more. How often do you need to vacuum under your rug? It depends on if your rug is in a high traffic area. You might need to do this once a week (which I do for the smaller rugs in front of my doors) or once a month (which is what I do for the larger ones).
Do you know why you need to vacuum? The dirt and dust in your rugs acts like sandpaper and, over time, can damage the fibers. Plus, if enough accumulates, it can get packed into your rug, making it almost impossible to remove. Not to mention the fact that rugs catch mold spores in the air, dust, pollen, dander, and dust mites – all things that can cause allergies.
2) Clean with a carpet cleaner – if your rug is really dirty, smells funny, or someone spilled something on it, you may want to use a carpet cleaner to clean your rug. When you use a carpet cleaner, your rug will get fairly wet, and so will the floor underneath it. It’s best to clean your rugs in your garage, or even your drive way – somewhere it’s OK to get wet. If it’s a sunny day, lay it flat in your drive way to dry in the sun. Once the top feels dry, bring the rug in the house and flip it over so the underside is up and let it dry a little longer. If your rug is valuable, you may want to have a professional rug cleaner clean it for you. The best ones will pick up your rug and take it to their business to clean. Cleaning your rug this way insures that all of the soap is rinsed out, leaving no residue behind. At home carpet cleaners can leave some residue which could cause future dirt and dust to stick to the fibers. I haven’t had any problems with this, but if I had a valuable Oriental rug and it needed to be cleaned, I would have a professional do it.
3) Fringe – don’t forget about the fringe. If you need to wash the fringe, put a little bit of carpet cleaner in a bowl of warm water. Use a laundry brush or an old tooth brush to clean the fringe, starting up by the rug and working to the ends. Only do this if your fringe really needs it. Once the fringe is wet, it can pick up dust and dirt quickly. Make sure to let it dry completely before anyone walks on it. If you have a valuable Oriental rug, you can also have your fringe replaced.
What do I mean by a “valuable Oriental rug”? An actual Oriental rug is one that was handmade (hand knotted) in one of the traditional weaving areas in the Middle East or Far East. Most stores where rugs are sold (furniture stores, home improvement stores, and even actual rug stores) call any rug with a pattern an Oriental rug. These rugs are not made in the Far or Middle East and are made with a machine, instead of by hand. They are still pricey and still need to be taken care of, but you can do most of the cleaning on your own, unless you want to hire a professional.
Persian rugs should also be cleaned by professionals. In order for a rug to be “Persian” it must be made in Persia (modern day Iran). Usually the only cleaning a Persian rugs needs is a good vacuuming once or twice a week.
While regular vacuuming is usually all that is needed, make sure to flip that rug over every once in a while and clean up the dust and dirt that has accumulated underneath. This will keep your rug cleaner and your family breathing easier!