How to Care For Your Area Rugs

Area Rug

If your home is anything like mine, you have a variety of floor surfaces; carpeting, tile, wood, maybe even bamboo.

And more than likely you have area rugs placed throughout the home. My kitchen is tiled as well as my dining room but both rooms have an area rug.  One is placed near my sink in the kitchen and another placed under my dining room table. As with any surface in the home, the rugs take a beating.  We tend to have lots of company and even though I have a no shoe policy in our home (your true first line of defense) the rugs get all sorts of abuse.  Dirt, dust, sand, cooking oils, spills galore… and of course I have two cats…oh boy cats!

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Anyway, I thought I would share with you some ways to maintain your rugs, and for that matter, carpeting.  I will also be introducing you to a new product that Shari and I have discovered called the Rug Renovator, this is a really cool tool will save you time and money versus having to have your rugs and carpet cleaned professionally.  But let me get back to the Renovator a little later lets talk rugs first.

Your rugs may look like they are losing their color when in reality it is the color being covered by all the dirt and dust.  The fibers of the rug may have become packed and matted as well. It would be great if there was a magic rug that would clean itself but unfortunately they haven’t come up with that gem yet.  But here is what you can do to extend the life of a rug as well as keeping it looking bright and fresh.

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This may seem like a no brainer but vacuuming a rug is one of the best ways to maintain them. Dirt and sand are abrasive and can damage or break down the fibers of a rug. So vacuuming can reduce the risk of damage.  Now it would be great to vacuum a rug daily but that is not real life, so try to stick to a schedule to at least vacuum once a week.  I do most of my vacuuming between commercials of football games.  When the whistle blows, I vacuum like a linebacker making all sorts of moves on my rugs. So if you stick to once a week, it is better than not following a schedule, and if you have high traffic areas like a runner in a hallway, try to get to those rugs a couple times a week.

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Now I have read that some folks think you should only vacuum with suction (just the hose and a wand) and not a beater bar (the brush).  Well I have tried both ways.  I have a central vac system that works great for just using suction, and an upright vac to use with a brush. I alternate both ways, but I tend to notice more is picked up with the upright and the beater bar.  The choice is certainly up to you, and of course the type of machine you own.

Vacuuming Tips

These vacuuming tips apply whether the hose and an attachment are used or the beater bar is used.

• Change the vacuum bag or empty the dust bin regularly. A vacuum will lose efficiency as the bag/bin becomes more than half-full and letting a bag/bin get completely full could damage the motor.

• Some new rugs might need to be vacuumed more often during the first year due to fuzz on the rug. This ‘fuzzing’ is normal and it does not shorten the life of your rug in any way. It is the result of loose fibers that cling to the rug during the weaving process.

• Vacuum rugs by going over them in both directions, especially on rugs with a traffic pattern. This will help prevent matting.

• Adjust the height of the beater bar so that it will lightly vibrate the rug. If the beater bar is set too low, it could cause the vacuum motor to slow down as well as cause damage to the rug.

• Check to make sure the beater bar is rotating properly. A worn or loose belt may cause the bar to operate less efficiently.


Be careful with rugs that have fringe on the ends. Do not run the beater bar over the fringe because part of the fringe may get caught and be pulled out.

Vacuuming Tips for Cut Pile Area Rugs

• Cut pile rugs have a smooth; even surface that is created when the tops of the loops are cut off.

• A vacuum with a rotating beater bar will vibrate or gently agitate the rug pile allowing particles to become loosened and suctioned into the vacuum.


• If suction only is used on cut pile rugs without the benefit of a beater bar, it will remove surface particles but could leave other particles imbedded in the rug that can cause excess wear and tear through abrasion.

Vacuuming Tips for Rugs with Looped Textures

• On area rugs with looped textures, vacuum the rug regularly using suction only. Avoid using the rotating beater bar. This will keep the loops from getting damaged.

To Shake or Vacuum, I know that I just made a big statement about vacuuming your rugs, but be advised, certain rugs don’t take to vacuuming.  For instance a leather shag rug (grrrr baby!) should be shaken not vacuumed.  Smaller rugs, like the one by my kitchen sink can be shaken often, just hold one end and give it a good snap, this will loosen dirt particles, do one end then reverse corners and repeat the process.  This is especially good for small rugs that tend to be eaten by your vacuum when you run over it.  I have killed many a small rug in my day.

Some other tips that should be considered for maintaining your rugs are…

Rug hold or Rug pads.  These are pads that can be placed underneath a rug. Mainly these are to keep the rug from slipping underfoot, plus it can help the rug hold its original shape.  These are essential; I use them under all my smaller rugs and some of my larger rugs as well.  Not only are they great for placing on tile and hard wood floors, but they work for wall-to-wall carpeting as well.  These can usually be purchased at a carpet/rug store, or I have seen them at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Moving a rug.  It is best to roll a rug not fold it.  If a rug does get creased once it has laid flat for a couple of days it should be fine after a few days of walking on it. If a corner gets bent, place something heavy on the corner and it will go back into place. If storing a rug, have the rug professionally cleaned and moth proofed, then roll the rug and store in a breathable material, not plastic, to prevent mildew.

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I mentioned earlier in the article about a new product I found, actually there are two, but they work hand in hand.  The Rug Renovator is a rug cleaning tool that makes cleaning rugs and carpets a snap. Used along with Rug Renovator Foaming Shampoo the Renovator is a smart answer to address your cleaning needs and save you money versus having to pay a professional carpet cleaner.

Over time, routing vacuuming and sweeping alone are not sufficient to remove stubborn stains, worn-in dirt or embedded debris.  The Rug Renovator and Rug Renovator Foaming Shampoo is a perfect way to tackle those stubborn areas.

There is no need to bend down to scrub carpets and area rugs anymore.  The Rug Renovator has a sturdy adjustable ergonomic handle that makes cleaning a rug easy and comfortable. The handle is retractable for easy storage.  No more bending over to scrub or blot your problem floor areas.  This system erases traffic patterns and revitalizes carpet!

There is a two brush setting, easy and aggressive to give more flexibility to clean different types of carpets and rugs. The brush has side wheels to give support to the brush block creating a constant angle for the best cleaning possible.

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The Rug Renovator foaming shampoo has an advanced encapsulating cleaning formula that the pro’s use.  It is safe to use on all area, throw, Oriental and sectional rugs, as well as carpeting.

I have been able to use this product, actually several chances (did I mention I have two cats and lots of guests) to use the Renovator and this product works.  I hate constantly bending down and trying to spot clean areas on my rug. With the combination of these products I have kept up with my carpet and rug cleaning with ease.

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If you have any further questions please visit CWP Technologies (the folks who make this product) at their website or drop me a note at  If you are looking for a dealer in your area that carries the Rug Renovator, please call CWP Technologies at 888-445-3038 (toll free) and one their representatives will help you.

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Taking care of area rugs and carpeting isn’t as hard as it may seem, it just takes consistency.  Make sure you vacuum often and try not to let problem areas linger.

If you think vacuuming your carpets is a pain, imagine the pain you will feel if you have to replace them, that is pure back pocket pain, if you get my drift.


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