The Savvy Guide to Prolonging the Functionality and Beauty of Your Area Rugs

Oct 19, 2023

Large area rugs – and smaller decorative ones – are a tasteful, easy way to add style and warmth to your home. They come in a wide array of colors, patterns, weaves, and fabrics – so you can be sure to find the rugs that match your design esthetic.

But one other thing is certain: Better-quality area rugs can be a big investment and since they typically become a defining feature of the rooms in which you place them, you will surely want to keep them in their best shape for as long as possible, so you can get the most out of your investment.

The good news: Drawing on my family’s nearly 100 years of professionally cleaning, repairing, and selling Oriental rugs as well as other types, proper care and maintenance can help to prolong their lifespan.

Here are some easy yet effective tips and tricks to ensure that your area rugs remain in top condition for years to come:

  1. Vacuum regularly

Faithfully vacuuming your rugs at least once a week is key to keeping your area rug looking its best. That is because if don’t, dirt and dust can settle deep into their fibers, making them look dingy and worn out.

Be sure to use high-quality vacuum cleaner with adjustable height settings to avoid damaging the fiber, replacing the filters from every two to three years for light users (a few rugs and no pets) to as much as every six months for heavy users (those with lots of carpeting and/or rugs and/or are pet owners). Note: if you have a bag-less vacuum, such as those made by Dyson, clean the filters every six weeks (it ensures your vacuum will last longer).

To remove all of the dirt, dust and pet hairs, be sure to vacuum the rug or carpet in different directions. Focus on your high-traffic areas if you are pressed for time and don’t forget to occasionally vacuum the underside of your rugs.

  1. Immediately spot clean spills

If you are anything like my family, spills happen. And if they happen on your area rug, make sure you act as quickly as possible and clean them up.

Blot the spill with a clean, dry white cloth to get up as much of the liquid as possible. Be sure not to rub the cloth against the rug, because this could push the stain into the fibers. Then, use a solution of soap and water (or use a store-bought spot-removing detergent) and some warm water to clean the area.

Always test the solution or detergent on a small, inconspicuous area of your rug first to make sure that it doesn’t cause any damage.

  1. Professionally Clean It

Can’t get out that stain from a spill? Has your rug become heavily soiled from something else?

We recommend that you hire a professional rug cleaner. Professionals like us can deep clean your rug to help remove tough stains, leaving it looking and smelling fresh and clean.

In fact, we recommend that you have your rug professionally cleaned every three or four years.

After all, while we recommend regular vacuuming and spot cleaning for the day-to-day maintenance of your rugs, professional cleaners have the expertise, equipment, and specialized cleaning detergents to remove embedded dirt and dust that regular cleaning might not be able to address.

As a result, professional cleaning can help revitalize the appearance of your rugs as well as extend their lifespans.

  1. Implement a shoes-off policy

If you want to significantly reduce the amount of dirt that’s tracked onto your carpets and area rugs, just ask your family and friends to go without shoes.

Just think: shoes can carry in a range of contaminants, from dirt and sand to oil and chemicals to pet and wild animal droppings. Providing a designated area for their shoes near your entryways will encourage your guests and family members to honor your shoes-off policy.

Understand, of course, that some people need orthotics to correct their alignment, reduce pain, and/or address another issue and therefore shouldn’t remove their shoes, so remain flexible when you enforce this rule.

  1. Rotate your rugs

Your rug can wear out more quickly heavily trafficked.  To help prolong the lifespan of your rug, rotate it every six months or so. (Make sure it’s no longer than a year.) This will help to evenly distribute the wear and tear on it.

For rooms with east and west exposures, rotating your rugs also helps ensure that you even out the sun exposure that can cause colors to fade.

Finally, we recommend using pads under your rug to prevent any slipping or sliding, protecting you from the potential for a fall as well as protecting your floors from any scratches and other damage caused by the movement.

  1. Regularly change your air filters

Not surprisingly, the air quality in your home can directly impact the cleanliness of your carpets and rugs. In fact, a clogged air filter can circulate dust and allergens, leading to a buildup on your rugs.

In other words, you need to regularly change the air filter in your HVAC system.

Of course, changing your it will also help you maintain a cleaner environment overall. But we point it out because this simple action but often overlooked action will help you reduce the amount of dust settling on your rugs and carpets as well.

  1. Properly store your rug

If you’re not going to use your rug for an extended period of time and you want to store, roll your rug up tightly and wrap it in acid-free paper or a cotton sheet to protect it from insects and dust. The store the rug in a dry, cool place, avoiding areas where it may be exposed to sunlight or moisture.

  1. Repair over refuse

As you can see, just a little attention and care go a long way in maintaining the vibrancy and functionality of your beloved area rugs. It doesn’t have to be a daunting task. We recognize, however, that a beloved rug can also become damaged.

The good now: Often rugs can be repaired, so before you decide to toss yours, check with a professional. A repair just might be able to bring it back.

If you have any questions, you can reach out to my cleaning team at Apelian Carpets & Orientals. Or ask the team at Jackie Mack & More; they’re here to help you as much as we’ve been helping the Evanston community for the last hundred years.

By Garry Apelian, Apelian Carpets & Orientals, 2900 Central, Evanston,

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