When you want to bring some color and pattern into your home while designating spaces, area rugs are matched by a few. They’re just great.

Of course, like with anything else, they can get dirty too, so knowing how to care for rugs is important to make sure they stay great.

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Basic Care

Okay, regardless of the material of your area rug, there are certain things that you always have to do to keep it clean.

  • Vacuum large rugs. Like with your carpets, regular vacuuming is one of the most important things for making sure a rug stays clean. If you can turn a rug around, then vacuum both sides. This is important for getting rid of grit and grime that wears down rugs.
  • Brush out pet hair. A stiff brush can get rid of any pet hairs that a vacuum can’t. Just remember to brush in the direction of the rug’s nap.
  • Turn your rugs regularly. Naturally, the sun and walking over a rug can wear it out. Turn your rug’s sides regularly (annually is good) in order to keep the wear even.
  • Shake ‘em. Smaller rugs can just be taken outdoors, then shaken and beaten for cleaning. Take note that there are regulations for shaking rugs and such, so might want to check your local rules first.

Cleaning by material

Woven or Braided

Before getting to cleaning, check braided or woven area rugs, first check if they have stitching breaks and if their labels say they’re washable or not.

If washable, put them in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase then wash with cool water on a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low.

For larger rugs, place them on vinyl or concrete, or put an old blanket under them, then sponge them with the commercial carpet-cleaning foam of your choice then rub as per rug instructions. Rinse or vacuum after, then dry thoroughly.

Hand-knotted, antique, or Oriental

Antiques and Persians are popular for kitchens and other areas that see a lot of foot traffic, so they end up needing more TLC than others.

For new Oriental rugs, vacuum them like you would carpet and wool rugs.

Vintages and antiques need special care though, so you’ll have to put a nylon screen over them while you vacuum. Or you can use a nylon mesh over the vacuum. Annual professional cleaning is also a must, as well as rotating. Direct sunlight on these rugs tends to make them fade.

Fur, sheepskin, and hair-on hides

For these kinds of rugs, you’ll need some unscented talcum powder. Leave it to soak the powder for a few hours, then brush and shake. You’ll have to do this several times, based on how long the fur on the rugs is.

For the back, you’ll need a clean cotton cloth: dip it in lukewarm soapy water, then get wiping. Rinse with a cloth dipped in clean water, then dry thoroughly.