Taking Care of Your Rugs and Carpets: Keep These Points in Mind

You’ve got some luxurious rugs and carpets and are basking in the glory of the appreciative comments they’re attracting…but wait! If you want this feeling to last for long then you’ll need to ensure that your carpet and rugs don’t reflect the wear and tear of time.

Carpets and rugs often add warmth to a room, but to keep your floor coverings looking their best; you have to take care of them. Only a clean and tidy carpet or rug can add aesthetic value to the room. Unkempt floor covering will only mar the beauty of the set up.

Here, Gharpedia brings to you some valuable pointers on taking care and maintenance of rugs and carpets.

Basic Care And Maintenance of Rugs And Carpets

  • Never let your carpet bathe in direct sunlight for prolonged period, unless you want it to fade or discolour. Protect it by covering your windows with drapes, blinds or shades.
  • Carpets should be vacuumed at least once a week to stay in good shape and to keep dirt from getting embedded in the fibres.
  • To prevent dirt from being tracked into the house place walk-off mats at each entrance, These mats will absorb and help trap dirt, sand and grit from outside. Yet again, don’t forget to clean these mats regularly – either hose them down or vacuum them to ascertain they don’t become the cause of the dirt that’s being tracked into the house!

Tips for Taking Care And Maintenance of Rugs And Carpets

01. Cleaning Carpets And Rugs

Cleaning Carpets And Rugs
  • Dry-clean your carpet by sprinkling it liberally with baking soda. Use a flour sifter to help distribute it evenly. If you can leave the baking soda on your carpet overnight, do it. If not, let it stay for at least one hour. Meanwhile sprinkle one tablespoon of your favourite fragrant herb (lavender, cinnamon et al) on the floor; after a few minutes vacuum up the baking soda and the herb. The unpleasant carpet odours – cigarette smoke, mustiness, wet dog/cat urine etc will disappear and the pleasant aroma of the herb will float in the air.
  • In a spray bottle mix one part of liquid fabric softener (any scent you prefer) to six parts water. Spray the carpet with the solution and then vacuum it. The carpet will now be more dust-resistant, generate less static electricity and smell fresh too!

02. Cleaning Carpet, Rug Fringe

Cleaning Carpet Or Rug Fringe
  • Fringe on area rugs looks nice but collects dust and dirt and is difficult to vacuum. Save yourself the trouble by whisking out the dirt instead. With a dry scrub brush, use down-and-away strokes. Then brush the dirt away from the fringes and vacuum it up off the floor.

03. Cleaning Stains On Carpets, Rugs

Cleaning Stains On Carpets

Consider treating your carpet with a commercial stain guard, especially if you have children and/or pets or if you do a lot of entertaining. But, if you haven’t stain guarded your floor covering then stock your pantry with a case of distilled white vinegar and club soda.

If something has dropped on your carpet and there are pieces involved (a bowl of chilli, cornflakes, or chicken noodle soup) pick up all the pieces of food first, then get paper towels and blot up as much of the liquid mess as fast as possible! Step on the towels to help the blotting process. Once you’re done picking and blotting, you can opt for any of the below mentioned solutions –

  • Put club soda or seltzer water on a fresh stain and let the carbonation loosen it. After a couple of minutes, blot it up with paper towels, a clean cloth or a sponge.
  • Work a heaping tablespoon of shaving foam or shaving cream into the stain. Wait for it to dry and then rinse with cold water. It is the glycerine in shaving cream that helps dissolve stains.
  • Put some vodka on a washcloth and work it into the stain. Wait for a minute and then blot it with a paper towel.
  • If you’re sure about your carpet or rug being colourfast, then work some three per cent hydrogen peroxide into the stain and blot it with a paper towel.
  • Use a fresh baby wipe to life the stain off the carpet or rug.

04. Removing An Existing Stain Off The Carpet or Rug

  • If the stain is old it may be difficult to get rid of it. However, if you put to work the remedy that we are going to tell you, we assure you that even if it doesn’t make the stain vanish, it will at least fade the stain and not make the stain worse.
  • Combine one tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent, one-and-a-half tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and two cups of water. Gently work the mixture into the stain and then blot it dry.

05. Removing Candle Wax From Carpets And Rugs

Removing Candle Wax From Carpets
  • Place a few ice cubes in a plastic bag and put it against the wax that has dripped on the carpet. The ice will make the wax brittle and you will be able to break off or carefully pull off the drippings.
  • Cut off a section of a plain brown paper bag, and place it on top of the melted wax. With a medium-hot iron, press the paper for a few seconds – long enough to soften the wax and have it transferred from the carpet to the paper. If you have to repeat the process a few times always use a new piece of brown paper.

06. Removing Pet Urine From Carpets And Rugs

Removing Pet Urine From Carpets
  • Test carpet swatches or a tiny inconspicuous patch of each carpet and rug in your house with distilled white vinegar. If the colour of any of the test patches changes, make note not to use the vinegar solution on that carpet or rug, if and when your pet has an accident on it. Be on the lookout for such accidents because you’ll want to deal with them immediately.
  • First blot up as much of the urine as possible, and rinse the area with warm water. Blot again. Then for a vinegar-safe rug, mix half cup of distilled white vinegar with half cup of water and sponge it into the fibres. After a few minutes blot it off and repeat the procedure. Then pour equal amounts of table salt and baking soda on the wet area. Wait until it dries and then vacuum it.
  • For a fresh accident, blot the spot and then cover it with a thick layer of table salt. More is better since you want the salt to absorb all the liquid. Wait until the salt has hardened, overnight if possible and then vacuum over the area.

07. Removing Crayon Marks From Carpets And Rugs

  • Put a strip of transparent tape on each crayon mark and gently remove the tape. Hopefully some of the crayon should come off without pulling out the fibers.

08. Cleaning Fresh Fruit Juice Off The Carpets And Rugs

  • Try to pick up all the pieces of fruit and blot up the juice. Then combine one tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent, one-and-a-half tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and two cups of water. Gently work the mixture into the fruit stain and then blot dry.

09. Say Bye To Grease/Oil Stains On Carpets And Rugs

  • Use a paper towel to blot up as much of the grease or oil as possible. Then pour cornmeal or corn starch on the stain. Let it stay there overnight and vacuum the carpet in the morning.
  • Work a heaping tablespoon of foam shaving cream into the stained carpet fibers. Let it dry thoroughly then vacuum the spot spotless.

10. Cleaning Latex Paint From Carpets And Rugs

  • This calls for immediate action! Make a solution with one-and-a-half teaspoons of distilled white vinegar and one-and-a-half teaspoons of laundry detergent mixed in two cups of warm water. Dip a clean sponge into the solution and use it to wipe away the latex paint. Once the stain is gone, rinse with cold water and blot dry.
  • In case your carpet is not compatible with vinegar then just use laundry detergent in warm water … but you’ll have to work harder to get the paint out and it may not be as effective as the previous solution.

11. Removing Mud Off The Floor Covering

  • Let the mud dry. Then use an expired credit card or a blunt knife to scrape off as much of it as possible. If the rug is still muddy, mix two teaspoons of laundry detergent with one cup of water and sponge it on the carpet. Blot with paper towels, rinse with a wet sponge and blot dry with more paper towels.

12. Removing Red Wine From Carpets And Rugs

Removing Red Wine From Carpets
  • When this mishap takes place, open yet another bottle and drench the flooring with more wine! Surprising but true, when you accidentally spill red wine on the carpet or rug, quickly blot off the red wine with a paper towel and then neutralize it with white wine. Next wipe it clean with a cold, damp cloth.
  • If you don’t have any white wine, work some table salt or baking soda into the stain and dab it off with club soda.

13. Getting Rid Of Insects On The Carpets And Rugs

  • Moth larvae may be found in carpet fibres. Get rid of them by pouring a thick layer of table salt on the carpet, wait for one hour and then vacuum the salt. The salt not only destroys the moth larvae, but also brightens the carpet.
  • This is a bit of an ordeal, but if you have an insect infestation (especially fleas or ticks) on your carpet take the time to get rid of the little buggers. Buy boxes of table salt, enough to layer the entire carpet.  As you pour the salt into the carpet, use a broom or brush to work the salt down deep where the bugs nest. Once the salt is in place let it stay there for two to three days giving it time to dehydrate and destroy the insects. Then vacuum as usual. To prevent future infestations vacuum at least once a week.

14. Dealing With Static Electricity

If you’re tired of getting shocks each time you walk on your carpet, particularly in the winter months, then try this solution –

  • Mix three tablespoons of liquid fabric softener with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Give the carpet a modest misting. If you wet the carpet too much dirt will stick to the carpet. Allow it to dry thoroughly before taking a shock-less stroll across it.

15. Anchoring Throw Rugs

  • If you don’t want a throw rug slipping out from under your feet, make sure it stays put by sewing nonslip rubber rings from mason jars on the underside.
  • Use strong cotton thread (doubled) and attach each rubber ring by tacking it in three or four places. Use your discretion as to how many rings to sew on each rug. If you have a rectangular throw rug, consider putting a rubber ring under each corner.
  • Bathtub decals are also a good idea as it is double sided ‘carpet’ tape.

Important Points – How To Care For Carpet And Rug

  1. When you get new carpeting, be sure to keep several swatches of it. They will come in handy when you’re decorating and want to coordinate or match draperies or upholstery fabric or paint. You may also want to use the swatches to test cleaners and stain removers or if your carpet needs fiber replacements.
  2. Be sure to test any solution you use as a stain remover on a carpet swatch or on a small inconspicuous spot on your carpet or rug. Remember not all colours or fabrics will react the same way.
  3. Never rub a stain harshly as rubbing may spread it, embed it deeper and cause damage to the carpet fibers.
  4. In case you want to get rid of pet hair from your carpet, then sweep the rug with a damp broom before vacuuming it. This will loosen and/or pick up the pet hair. Then finish the job by vacuuming the rug.
  5. As urine contains ammonia, never use ammonia or a spot remover that contains ammonia to clean urine. It will mislead your pet into believing that this is her/his marked territory and it will return to it on a regular basis rewetting and re-staining the spot.
  6. Consider using paint that’s exactly the same colour as your carpet so that nobody will ever notice if you spill something!
  7. Printer’s ink repels moths and silverfish. Put a layer of plain non-coloured newspaper between the pad and the rug and be bug-free!
  8. Do you still beat your rugs to get them clean? Save yourself the trouble and toss the throw rug in a dryer on a ‘no heat’ setting. Let it run for its usual cycle. The rug should come out clean and looking good.
  9. On those rare occasions when you have to move a piano or another piece of heavy furniture on wheels, place a protective barrier such as a piece of heavy cardboard or a plywood plank between the wheels and the carpet to prevent damage to the carpet.

So here’s hoping the above hacks of care and maintenance of rugs and carpets help you keep your carpet and rugs in shipshape condition.

Additionally, stuck chewing gum and coffee stains can create a mess on your carpet other than regular dirt and grimes. Removing them from the carpet is complicated because it easily damages the delicate carpet fibers. You can make your task easy by the following our tips –

Image Courtesy – Image 4, Image 5, Image 6, Image 7

Author Bio

Huta Raval – An English Literature and Journalism Topper, Huta Raval has graduated from the L D Arts College, Ahmedabad. Post serving for 23 years in the NBFC and Public Library Sectors her desire for ‘writing the unwritten’ brought her to the creative field of content writing. Her clientele comprises of NGOs, Blogging Platforms, Newspapers, Academic Institutions, et al.

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