Whether you have a cheap rug from Walmart or a fine hand knotted rug from Persia, the question often comes up; How should I maintain my rug.
How often to vacuum?
Rug care should start with vacuuming. The answer to how often to vacuum really depends on where your rug is located and how much traffic it receives. For example, If you have a rug that sits just inside the front door, this rug will need to be vacuumed frequently, whereas a rug in a spare bedroom that gets walked on once a month will need less care.
Keep in mind that the surface dust you see on your counters is also in your rugs. This fine soil acts like a sandpaper to your wool rugs. When you walk on the rug, your steps grind the soil into the fibers and wear them down. That is why vacuuming frequently is so important. Often times when I worked at the rug cleaning shop, we would get several pounds of dry soil from the rugs when we dry dusted them. Once we got 10 Pounds of soil from one 8×10 rug! Wool will not look dirty until it is literally almost filled with dirt.
A good rule of thumb for rug care, is to vacuum high traffic areas once a week per family member. So a household of 4 should ideally vacuum 4 times per week. The rug in the bedroom, may only need to be done weekly or every other week.
How Should I Vacuum:
How you should vacuum is as important as how often to vacuum. You want to use a vacuum that has a brush that you can turn off. If you only have Walmart type of rugs then you can vacuum like you do your carpet with the brush on. However, fine knotted rugs need more care. If you have a nice Persian rug, I highly suggest that you read this post by Lisa Wagner, an expert in rug care, her article goes into great detail of how to vacuum and what type of vacuum to use.
In general, with thinner rugs you want to use the upholstery attachment instead of the beater bar. you want to go with the pile of the rug. Imagine petting it like a dog. If you have sturdier rugs you can use the beater bar but you want to go across the rug width wise with the beater bar off so you are just using suction. Once a month, vacuum the back of the rug slowly with the beater bar running. This will help vibrate out loose soil.
How often should I wash my rug:
Rug care advice would not be complete without a discussion on rug washing. While this too depends on how much use your rug gets and what kind of rug you have. A safe bet for high use rugs is once a year. Guest room rugs maybe every three years. Remember to always take your fine rugs to an actual rug cleaning shop. That way they will be properly dusted to remove dry soil before actually washing the rug. In addition they should be immersion washed using proper equipment and chemicals. Rug shops are trained in all types of rugs and will not use chemicals that will harm wool. General carpet cleaning products are much to harsh for wool.
If you have questions about the maintenance of your rug or want a referral to a good rug cleaner, Please do not hesitate to contact me.