Care for your rug at home guide

This week we sat down with the CRA Director, Alex Hirsch, to discuss all things rug care - answering your frequently asked questions and bringing you the much requested How-To-Guide on the best tips and tricks for caring for your rugs at home.
Whether you’re a regular entertainer with heavy foot traffic leaving trails of outdoor elements on your carpets, a frustrated puppy owner with odor-heavy stains on your rug, or a parent to an accident-prone toddler - you’ve probably encountered a moment or two of post-accident-frazzle and wondered ‘how do I clean up this mess?’
“Thankfully, with quick action, you should be able to clean up most stains yourself with a few neat tricks,” says Alex, Director of CRA. “The biggest mistake people make is rubbing the stain in whilst trying to get it out. Rubbing the spill just pushes it deeper into the rug making it harder to remove.” According to Alex, the best way to lift a stain is to blot the spill with a dry cloth/paper towel, working from the outside in to prevent spreading. 
Removing a stain from a rug
“It feels instinctual to grab a wet towel to clean up a blob of sauce or splash of wine but going straight to patting it with a wet cloth can cause the mark to seep further outwards, increasing the size of the stain. You’re better off starting with a dry towel to pick up the remainder of the spill and then using a damp cloth or paper towel to gently blot the remainder of the mark, lifting the residual stain.”
For most spills, when treated quickly, cold/lukewarm water applied as above should be sufficient, however, not all rugs can get wet.
“Some rugs bleed their dye when saturated with moisture so always check the care label before hacking away at it,” says Alex.
“If the water trick doesn’t work there are many different carpet sprays you can use for stubborn marks. We always recommend spot-testing the solution on an inconspicuous area of the rug (eg. the corner going under the couch) before applying it to avoid unwanted discolourations/chemical reactions.” [Please note that Viscose and Tencel rugs should never be cleaned with any water or liquid]
Vacumming a rug
If you’re just looking to give your rug a general clean or freshen it up, there are several rug shampoos and carpet cleaning agents that you can purchase from your local supermarket or general supply store. Alternatively, you can also use a mild dish detergent mixed in a bucket with warm water (for synthetic fibers) or cold water (for wool rugs). Do not use hot water, as it can shrink the rug or cause fading. 
“For most rugs you’ll want to vacuum them before you use the product to lift any dirt from foot traffic - this ensures that you’re not rubbing grime/dust into the rug once saturated.” To avoid damaging the thread of the rug, use a regular canister vacuum without beater bars/turbo mode. Brooms or manual sweepers are also a gentle alternative. If you’re cleaning a reversible rug, make sure to vacuum both sides.
Removing dirt from a rug
Once all the dirt is lifted, use a sponge or soft-bristle brush to work the cleaning solution into a lather on the rug. Allow the product to sit on the rug for 5 minutes before rinsing the soap out of the rug using a garden hose or buckets of clean water. Continue to rinse the rug until the product is completely removed and the runoff water is clear. “To speed up the drying process, you’ll then want to remove as much excess water as possible using either a squeegee or wet-vac (if you happen to have one handy) in the direction of the nap.”
Once clean, lay the rug out and allow the top layer of the rug to dry, followed by a flip to dry out the underside. Make sure that the rug is completely dry before placing it back in the room. If the weather’s not on your side, you can always use a fan to speed up the drying process. The final step is to run a vacuum or broom over the now-dry rug to bring the life back to threads and fibers that may have been compacted or squished during the cleaning process.
“It’s laborious but it's not a tricky job! There’s no need to regularly pay for a professional clean, unless the rug itself requires that.”
Both wool rugs and synthetic rugs can be cleaned at home with ease. Each material has a different tolerance to the cleaning process. Wool rugs should only be cleaned using a cold water process to protect the fibers from damage or distortion. Whereas, synthetic rugs can handle a much firmer cleaning regime inclusive of hot water and strong cleaning solutions. For the more fragile materials such as Persian rugs, Oriental rugs and rugs made from silk or viscose, a professional clean is always recommended to avoid damage.  
Keeping a rug clean
To simplify the process:
1.  Sweep or Vacuum the rug using a regular mode (no turbo) to lift up any dirt
2.  Check the rug’s care label for information on its cleaning process and if unclear, always check with the manufacturer prior to cleaning
3.  Spot test the cleaning product in an inconspicuous area
4.  Work the cleaning solution into a lather on the rug using a sponge or soft-bristle brush
5.  Rinse the rug clean using a garden hose or buckets of water
6.  Remove excess water using a squeegee or wet-vac
7.  Lay the rug out to dry - flipping midway to dry both sides
8.  Sweep or Vacuum the rug using a regular mode (no turbo) to revive any squished or compacted fibers 
“If you’re still feeling a bit uncertain on the best way to clean your rug, always feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns or send through a photo of your rug and we’re happy to take a look and guide you along the way!”
Alex Hirsch
Director, Cheap Rugs Australia