Rugs are an absolutely amazing accent piece for any home. They’re essentially the jewelry of a room, tying the space together and providing a much-welcomed pop of style. However, they quickly lose their appeal once they get stained, dirty, and inevitably start showing their age. It’s not a good look on any important décor accessory. Obviously, the solution is to ensure they look as new and pristine as possible, but how are you supposed to get there? Well, that’s where we come in. Here are a couple of cleaning tips that will keep your rugs brand new for longer.
Why Rug and Carpet Spots Won’t Stay Gone
Before getting straight into the big tips, though, it’s helpful to know a little more about what you’re working with. The problem with rugs is that the fibers are rougher, more textured than many others within the home, and naturally attract more stains. Not only this, but grey spots and other soiled areas actively encourage more staining.
Stains build upon stains because these spots are generally created by oils, sauces, residues, soaps, and more that get stickier as they sit. Like black denim with cat hair and jam with kids ever-searching, clumsy hands, these sticky stains keep inviting more to the party. Like with the carpet and rug texture itself, it gives things more to grip onto, which only hurts your chances at maintaining perfect cleanliness.
In addition to this kind of domino effect, stains also get more noticeable over time as they’re exposed to dust, daily grime, and air. They continue to get darker and darker and even somehow manage to pop back up after cleaning away with soap. Why? You guessed it. It’s all down to that annoying, tacky residue that gets left behind, either by the original culprit or by the cleaner that was supposed to make it go away. Thus begins a frustrating, seemingly never-ending loop. It turns out, those spray-on carpet cleaners really aren’t that big of a help.
Vinegar and Soda Mixes – Rug’s Best Friend
So, if stains can almost magically pop back up and are constantly in the business of getting worse, how exactly are you supposed to get rid of them? The first step is to not simply throw in the towel – no matter how tempting that may be. The second is to embrace a little secret your grandma has probably been using for years: vinegar.
It sounds like the type of cleaning solution that would be an old wives’ tale that doesn’t work, but it’s actually one of the best plays in the book. It does a fantastic job cleaning area rugs, oriental rugs, and pretty much any type of carpet. That is, provided you have the right mixture.
Perhaps the simplest, tried-and-tested one is vinegar with baking soda. Highly-effective and super cheap, it should be one of the first tries in your arsenal! However, be sure to apply it correctly. The key is to use the two in the correct order: a small amount of vinegar first then a sprinkle of baking soda after. Trust us. The reverse simply doesn’t work. Wondering why? It’s because the vinegar’s job is to saturate and soften up the offending mark while the baking soda is to do the lifting and deodorizing. The more you know.
Calling in the Professionals
Beyond using a proper homemade vinegar cleanser, what’s the best thing you can do for your rugs or carpet? Short answer: call a professional. We know – it’s not exactly a practice that happens much these days. Money is tight, time is even tighter, and supposed miracle cleaners (thanks, advertising) are probably already crammed into your under-sink cabinet. But calling upon outside professional help can seriously come in handy. Cleaning spots on your own may be cost-saving and work in a pinch, but it just isn’t the same.
At home, you can’t remove the spot completely. Either the liquid from the spill will remain inside the fibers or the cleaning solution. In both cases, it will attract the dirt back in while professional cleaning machines will flash the spill and the solution out completely. In the end, they can guarantee your carpets and rugs really are clean – inside and out. Looking to nab this great benefit? Then you’ll want to be sure to utilize two primary professional services: fiber protection (Fibershield) and deodorization.
Fiber protector is usually a fluorocarbon water-based or solvent-based solution that works much like Scotchguard, repelling water, coffee, wine, tea, or other fluids from soaking into rug fibers disallowing a stain from even forming in the first place. Considering that these spills are usually the main culprit of staining, you should jump all over it. Then you can merely wipe away liquid rather than scrubbing your latest Wayfair purchase. It’s genius, right?
Professional rug deodorizers are also pretty clever, though, and are equally a must-have. Especially true for those of us with pets since accidents can happen from time to time, deodorizing takes care of it from all sides. Water’s flushed through the rug before the product is even applied, removing not just the gross smell but also the urine that got soaked up. You’re left then not only with a surface level fresh smell, but also a total clean. Professional services for the win.