Guide to Maintaining your Rugs

A beautiful and well-placed rug can effectively change the whole ambience of a room, adding personality to your home without much effort.

Handknotted rugs are made all over the world, with Persian rugs being some of the highest quality rugs ever, some of these hand-knotted rugs can take 5-10 years to make. This rich heritage and culture that is woven into the industry goes back centuries with the oldest rug in the world being nearly 2500 years old!

Area rugs are ideal to add a splash of colour and warmth to your home. Here are some important factors you need to keep in mind when buying an area rug that is the best match for your home. 

Use area rugs to define a space

Bright, airy, inviting and great for entertaining; it is easy to understand why Kiwis love open-plan homes. One of its pitfalls though is the lack of clearly defined spaces.

Here is where area rugs come to the rescue. Defining spaces within the home can be challenging as breaking up the area physically can disrupt the flow and feel of the space. Area rugs provide a creative and sensible solution, they can protect the flooring, provide that much-needed softness and define the space leaving the room functional and harmonious.

Area Rugs Washable?

Yes, but not every rug is washable. If the rug is made of a natural fibre then the answer is no. However, most of the synthetic fibre rugs are washable and easy to care for.

Top tips to keep area rugs clean

Got spills on your antique area rugs? Is dirt lessening the appeal of your beautiful wall hanging rugs? Here’s a cleaning guide to keep your rugs looking their best for longer.  

How to treat often-used area rugs?


Depending on where you place them, some area rugs go through a rather rough use. That means they accumulate more dirt, spills and stains than usual.

Vacuuming regularly will remove visible and some of the hidden dirt particles. To maximise the life of your reversible rug, you must flip it every year, and don’t forget to vacuum both sides of the rug. If your rug has fringe or tassels, extra care needs to be taken to avoid excessive vacuuming of those areas.

If you have pets, brush out their hair. If the rug is small enough to be picked up shaking or beating the rug outside is a very efficient way to remove dust.

Deep cleaning of your area rugs is recommended once every 12-18 months to prevent buildup that can damage the foundation of the rug. Always test a patch before using any commercial cleaning product. If you’re unsure of the process, call the professionals.

Cleaning wall-hanging rugs

Almost anything that can go on the floor can also go on the wall. In fact on the wall, they are less likely to attract the kind of dirt floor rugs attracts.

Cleaning and care guides for wall-hanging rugs will depend on the threads the chosen rug is made of. Typically wall-hanging rugs are made of delicate threads like silk and require special care. When you vacuum them, place a nylon screen, weighing it down with bricks and or books. You can even tie a nylon mesh over the vacuum before cleaning. Even kilim and hand-knotted rugs will benefit from protected vacuuming.

Delicate wall hanging rugs will benefit from a professional cleaning.

Caring for your patchwork rugs

Patchwork rugs may be made from different types of threads. Clean as per the most delicate thread in the rug.

Do not wash patchwork rugs as the colour from one patch may run on to the others. Dry cleaning or vacuuming is suggested.

Flatweave rugs need more attention than you think  

Be careful when vacuuming flatweave rugs; staying away from the fringe is important to avoid fraying.

If you are using water, use only cold water. Depending on the type of fibre and size, you can machine wash flatweave rugs, but it is not something we recommend. Not only can it damage your machine but over time it will affect the colour and fibre of your rugs.

Keeping a pad under your flatweave rugs is another way to keep your flatweave rugs clean and allow easy maintenance.  Read spot cleaning and stain removal tips below.

Your designer rug has unique needs

Hold on to the care instructions of your designer rug. Each rug has unique needs and you must adhere to these in order to maintain and clean them.

Typically the care for a designer rug doesn’t differ much from any other rug. A light vacuum with a rotating brush or a regular brushing regime should keep the dust off.

Caring for natural fibres of sisal rugs

Sisal rugs along with other natural fibre rugs such as coir, rush and grass feature an open weave that allows dust to sift through to the floor beneath. Vacuum frequently, removing the rug occasionally from the floor. Most sisal rugs are reversible; flip them each time you vacuum for even wear.

When spot cleaning sisal rugs, rinse with soapy water. The trick is to blot and dry thoroughly after as natural fibres weaken with excessive water. Use a hairdryer or fan if needed. You can protect the floor beneath the rug with a plastic sheet or towel.

Top 10 tips to clean common spills & stains

  1. Use club soda and a little dish wash liquid with warm soapy water to spot clean silk or wool rugs. Never use hot water. Always test a small hidden area under the rug before cleaning a larger area.
  2. Try and deal with spills immediately, absorbing the excess liquid with a paper towel or cloth. Use a blotting motion as much as possible and avoid scrubbing too much.
  3. Talcum powder works on most stains. Just sprinkle some powder. Let it rest on the rug until dry, and vacuum it up.
  4. Use a combination of liquid dish detergent (1 tsp), warm water (4 cups) and white vinegar (1/4 tsp) to clean alcohol and soft drink stains. It can work on coffee and tea stains too. If it doesn’t go for commercial grade cleaners. Remember, always blot dry, don’t rub.
  5. Dry-solvent spot carpet cleaners work well on fat-based stains like butter and oils.
  6. To clean glue, peel off what you can. Then use an ice-pack to harden the remaining glue, scraping it off with a dull knife after. You can also vacuum after.
  7. For acrylic and latex paint, while the stain is still wet, spot-clean with the detergent solution. If colour remains, dab with rubbing alcohol. For oil-based paint, sponge with odourless mineral spirits, being careful not to soak through to the backing.
  8.  If you’ve spilt tomato sauce, sponge the affected area with cool water. Then dab with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse with a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water and blot until dry.
  9.  Urine, faeces or vomit can be cleaned with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse and blot until dry.
  10.  Go in for professional cleaning of your rugs and floor coverings at least once every 12-18 months.



Next article Selecting the Right Colour for Your Rug!