Sign up to the newsletter Create an account Login

Five ways to keep rugs snug- and bug-free

Little and often is usually the best approach to keep them clean and fresh
   Daniel Prendergast  |  written on: 30-05-2022 09:00am

Rugs are a brilliant addition to homes; protecting flooring, providing comfort and bringing colour and cosiness to rooms – but they can be magnets for dust and dirt. According to leading microbiologist, Philip Tierno Jr at New York University Langone Medical Centre, rugs fibres can house millions of microorganisms. This is unsurprising considering they’re subjected to muddy shoes, spills and pets on a daily basis.

It is, thus, vital to clean rugs regularly to prevent a build-up of microbes; so, don’t just rely on annual spring cleaning. Without regular cleaning, dirt, mould spores and pollen particles can collect in rug fibres, along with dust mites (microscopic creatures that can worsen allergic symptoms). So, it’s safe to say there may be more than just a bug in your rug if it’s left uncleaned.

1. Vacuum regularly
Running the vacuum cleaner over a rug at least once a week is important to keep it clean and fresh. Vacuuming will prevent dirt from becoming trodden in and stop it from working deep down into the pile of the rug, where it’s much harder to remove.

Before setting to work with the vacuum, give the rug a shake to remove any loose grit or dirt that is trapped within the fibres – these can then be picked up by the vacuum.

Suction only vacuum cleaners are preferable to rotary brush or upright ones which can sometime damage the surface of the pile and fray the edges.

Avoid vacuum brushes as they can break up the yarn and create excessive shedding, considerably reducing the life of a rug. Vacuum brushes will also damage the whipping on the edges due to the change in height between the rug and the floor. Use the nozzle attachment to lightly vacuum away any surface dust and loose yarn.

There are anti-bacterial powders that can be sprinkled onto rugs to rid them of germs but always patch test first. Don’t forget the underside – vacuum the backing of the rug once a month to remove trapped dust, dirt, allergens and bacteria.

2. Deal with spillages immediately
It’s important to soak up liquids quickly to ensure they don’t penetrate the yarn. Dampen a white, cotton cloth and blot the area. Repeat the process until all the liquid has been absorbed. Be careful not to rub as this will damage the surface. Alternatively, a cloth can be placed on top of the area and left to absorb the spillage.

Buddy Washable Rug in Nude from £29.99

Tip: Always make sure the rug is completely dry (this takes about three to four hours) before placing it back onto the floor. There’s more advice in this video.

3. Tackle stains
Certain types of rugs will stand up to stains better than others. For example, man-made fibres are more repellent to stains. Nylon rugs can be steam cleaned, while there are several water-resistant and wipe clean options available on the market.

A mixture of equal parts white wine vinegar, washing up liquid and warm water should remove stains like coffee, red wine and mud. However, mud should be left to dry and vacuumed first.

Stubborn stains should be removed by specialist cleaning companies that will have the experience and knowledge of how to deal with the problem.

4. Try a washable rug
Believe it or not there are rugs available that can be machine washed. Buddy rugs are stain-resistant, anti-shed and colour fast with a non-slip backing. They are fully machine washable at 40° and quick drying, so they can retain their shape after a wash. 

Buddy Washable Rug in Olive from from £29.99

5. Protect from pets
Pets love rugs, but rugs don’t always love pets. Fur, chewing, scratching and other little accidents can ruin a rug, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce damage from our furry friends.

For example, as dogs love to dig in a high pile rug, go for a short pile instead; plus, they are also easier to clean. Soak up any accidents with newspaper and be sure to place the soiled paper in the litter tray to signify the place where your pet needs to go. Rinse clean with cool water and blot to remove excess moisture. 

Following these steps will help to keep rugs in tip-top condition, and then throw in a professional deep clean at least once a year. This will help to rid rugs of deep stains and bacteria that have worked their way too far into the fibre to be removed with a vacuum or other regular cleaning.

Also read
Décor: a quick guide to rug placement

NEXT! Inspired to look at rugs for your home? Check out our moodboard below. 

Related articles

Expert's corner: pro tips on introducing colour and pattern

Finally, your answer to the question – how much is too much?

Expert's corner: how to clean wallpaper like a pro

Keep your walls looking pristine even in areas that are prone to dirt and scuff marks

Daniel Prendergast

Daniel Prendergast is the owner of thriving online business The Rug Seller, based in Manchester. He began his rug selling career in the local markets, and in 2000 took the business online via eBay. In 2005, he created a dedicated ecommerce site and today, The Rug Seller stocks more than 25,000 types of rugs sourced from around the globe and is one of the biggest specialist rugs sites in the UK.