Can You Clean An Area Rug With A Carpet Cleaner?

Area rugs differ from carpets in the sense that, unlike carpets, these rugs only cover a certain area of the floor. But despite being smaller than carpets, they get their fair share of dirt since they are placed in high-traffic areas of the house. So they need to be cleaned pretty often. But the method of cleaning is a bit different from that of carpets.

Usually, carpets are deep cleaned with carpet cleaners. But can you clean an area rug with a carpet cleaner? The answer to this question depends on the material the rug is made of. Some fibers are compatible with carpet cleaners whereas some are not.

Let’s take a look at which area rugs can and can’t be cleaned with carpet cleaners while also taking a look at other options.

Things to keep in mind while cleaning area rugs with a carpet cleaner

Unlike carpets, you can not use carpet cleaners indiscriminately on area rugs regardless of the material they are made of. While using carpet cleaners on area rugs, you must know whether your area rug’s material is suitable for using carpet cleaners or not.

If your area rugs are made of synthetic fibers, you can clean them using carpet cleaners. Because the carpet fibers are made of synthetic materials, they don’t get damaged by the chemicals in the carpet cleaners. As opposed to carpets where most of them are made from synthetic fibers, area rugs are carefully handcrafted more often than not. So, oftentimes you wouldn’t be able to use carpet cleaners on your area rugs.

Many area rugs are made from natural materials such as grass, wool, jute, silk, cotton, etc. These are very sensitive fibers, hence they are incompatible with carpet cleaning solutions. If you want to clean them, you should take help from the professionals.

There are area rugs that are very lavish and expensive because of the unique way they are made. Examples of such rugs are Oriental rugs and opulent Persian rugs. Using regular carpet cleaners on them is a big no-no as these chemicals compromise the structural integrity of the fibers. You should call on professionals to clean them.

Let’s assume you do have an area rug made of synthetic fibers. How would you clean it? Let’s take a look down below.

How to clean area rug with carpet cleaners

Since synthetic material-made area rugs are suitable for being cleaned by carpet cleaners, follow the steps mentioned below to clean the rug in case you have one.

1.  Vacuuming the rug

Before you apply a cleaning solution to your area rug, you have to vacuum the rug. This will make sure all the loose dirt on the rug is cleaned properly. Especially, for cleaning an area rug on the hardwood floor, roll the entire rug up and take it outside to give it a proper shake first. Then mop the floor or vacuum it to clean it thoroughly. Then lay down a plastic sheet or a tarp that is bigger than the rig itself.

2. Preparing and testing out the cleaning solution

Next, you have to prepare the cleaning solution you are going to use. For this, you can either use a cleaner that you bought from stores and mix it according to the instructions on the packaging or you can make a solution yourself.

If you are going to do the latter, mix two cups of liquid dish soap with one bucket of warm water. Keep a couple of things in mind in this case. First, the dish soap you are using must be mild. Second, never use hot water while cleaning. This will cause the fibers to shrink and lose colors.

Now test out the cleaner in a part of the rug that isn’t easily visible. If the color isn’t coming off and the fibers are okay, then you are good to go.

3. Applying the solution

After being satisfied with the test result, you can apply the solution to your rug. You can either use a sponge or a brush to do this. No matter what tool you use, you should make sure that the solution is worked deep into the rug. Then let it sit for a few minutes.

4. Rinse the rug

Now using a garden hose, rinse the rug properly and thoroughly. Keep rinsing until the soap suds are cleaned off.

5. Removing excess water

Wet area rugs are a recipe for disaster. They invite mold and other various pathogens to grow on them, which cause many health problems, with some even becoming potentially fatal. So it is a must to dry the rug off properly before using it again. To do that, you have to remove excess water by using a sponge or a squeegee.

6. Drying both sides of the rug properly

After removing the excess water from the rug, hang it on a clothesline outside to air dry it. One mistake that people often make when drying rugs is drying only one side of it. As a result, the bottom of the rug isn’t completely dried and it remains damp. This is as bad as a wet rug since it also causes mold to grow on it. So make sure you dry both the sides of the rug completely.

7. Finishing up

After drying the rug off, you can’t use it just yet. The fibers in a few places will become clumped after washing. The best way to separate them is to vacuum the rug once again. You can also use a soft brush to gently unclamp them. Once you have done this, you are good to use your area rug once again.

Final words

The best way to clean area rugs with carpet cleaners usually requires a bit more thought and planning due to the various fibers of the rugs. So people often ponder whether they can use carpet cleaners on the area rugs. They certainly can, but for that, the rugs have to be made of synthetic fibers. Otherwise, it’s best to take help from the professionals.

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