Rub a Dub Dub . . . How Do I Clean This Area Rug?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
With the popularity of light and white colored rugs on Instagram and Pinterest, the question our customers most often ask is, “What are these people thinking?” And the answer is astoundingly simple. They’re thinking, “Polypropylene.”

Although polypropylene doesn’t come with a catchy tagline like Maybelline, it still offers a striking combination of softness and strength. This incredibly durable fiber is surprisingly snuggly, resists staining, is non-fading and accepts spot treatment like dogs accepts belly rubs. Quite simply, polypropylene area rugs area ideal for any home, in any color combination . . . even white.

Yes, white!  

Intersected Geo area rug in a lakeside cabana
Here are a few pointers from our pros to help you keep your lights looking their best:

1. Know your materials.

2. Know your cleansers.

3. Know your application techniques.

Know Your Materials

100% polypropylene area rug under porch swingIf your rug is constructed of 100% polypropylene fibers, like the photo to the right, you’re in luck! You can use nearly anything to clean it - even bleach. Do the happy dance!

If your rug is constructed of nylon or polyester, you need to exercise caution and read the labels before you perform some sort of sorcery that’ll turn your rug into a fire breathing dragon. Just kidding – that hasn’t happened to anyone yet. But the ‘yet’ means there’s still a chance!

If your rug contains jute in the backing, use extreme care when applying water and cleansers. Wetting jute – a natural material – speeds deterioration and may cause buckling. Aka: a giant floor bubble in an unfortunate spot that you will inevitably trip over when your crush is in the same room.

Know Your Cleansers

Persia Ivory area rug in a foyerAll-Purpose Stain Removers, like the ones found in the cleaning aisle, are great for greasy stains. Think: your dog makes a go for an unattended cheeseburger and drops it on the area rug before gobbling it down.

Dry-Cleaning Fluid is safe on all non-washables, but you can only use it on dry stains. For example, that gross, dingy area that always shows up on the area rug in front of your favorite chair, even when you take your shoes off at the door.

Dish detergent may surprise you as an answer, but if it can cut grease on pots and pans, just imagine what it can do when Timmy drops his fried rice with soy sauce on your favorite rug!  

Bleach is another shocking addition to the list. But, nothing beats it for taking out tough colors that linger in area rug fibers – like spaghetti sauce. See also: peroxide, white vinegar and lemon juice mixed with water.

Glycerin is something that’s new to a lot of people. This ink-blasting liquid eradicates offending marks – whether the kids are “coloring” on the rug or the dog chews up a pen he found in your purse.

Know Your Technique

Persian Forest Silverton corner shot1. Move like the cat is coughing up a hair ball on the comforter at 2:30 in the morning. In other words, with speed and quickness.

2. Work from the outside edges in to prevent spreading, scoop up any solids and discard.

3. Blot like it’s your job. Actually, for this task, it kind of is! Soak up as much liquid as possible, using clean, dry cloths.

4. Apply your cleanser-of-choice to a clean, light-colored cloth.

5. Dab the stain with the cleanser-soaked towel.

6. Dab the stain with water . . . and you turn yourself around. That's what it's all about! 

7. Dab the stain with a clean, dry towel to absorb excess moisture.

8. Apply secondary treatment to a clean, light-colored cloth.

9. Dab the secondary cleanser-soaked towel onto the offending area.

10. Dab with water to rinse, repeat this cycle as often as necessary to lift the offending substance. (Feel like Cam Newton yet?)

11. When the stain issue is resolved, prop your rug on books or upturned trash bins to let air circulate on all sides of the area rug until completely dry. To speed the drying process, use a fan or a hair dryer on no/low heat.

12. Return the area rug to its normal resting position and carry on happily, as if nothing ever happened, just like that time your cousin got arrested on Christmas.

Additional Considerations in Area Rug Cleaning 

Rolled area rug corner If you have a jute or cotton backing, don’t get the backing wet – with either cleanser or rinse water. It’s not the 80’s movie dilemma of “Gremlins,” but the resulting warping really will be a monster pain.

If you have a 100% polypropylene rug – facing, backing, stuffing – you can hose it down outside if necessary. Use care and make sure it is completely dry before returning it to existing flooring.

When in doubt, hire it out. A professional rug cleaner should be able to help eradicate stains in a matter of minutes . . . and money.

Regardless of your white, light or traditional color choices, area rug ownership should be an easy, wonderful and worry-free experience. That’s why we want you to see just how simple stain removal can actually be.

With a little elbow grease, your area rug will be bright and shiny once again! Talk about a Pinterest perfect selection!

Palmetto Living area rugs are designed to complement your wonderfully messy, incredibly real life . . . beautifully!