Vacuuming Your Rugs

Improper vacuuming can damage and devalue your rugs. 

Vacuuming your wool rugs with beater bars and brushes can break the face yards and distort the pile. When it comes to vacuuming it’s important to know what to do, as well as what you should never do.

Let’s talk about how to properly maintain three different types of rugs. First, we’ll talk about sturdy think-foundation rugs. Second, we’ll discuss thin-foundation rugs. Third, we’ll talk about very delicate rugs.

Finally, we’ll talk about dealing with fringe on all types of rugs. Be sure to turn your beater bar off, at the very least use it at the highest setting, the aggressive motorized brush can break the surface fibers of your rug.

How to properly maintain four different types of rugs

1. Sturdy Thick-Foundation Rug.

Vacuuming a thick foundation rug

If you have a sturdy think-foundation rug and you’re using a standard vacuum attachment whether the rug has a pile or not.Vacuum sideways across the width of the rug and across the direction of the pile.

Regardless of the type of rug you have don’t go near the fringe unless you can shut your beater bar off. The rotating brush will quickly tear the fringe tassels.

You can also use an upholstery attachment with these types of rugs, vacuuming with the direction of the rug pile, and picking the attachment up after each stroke so you’re never pushing the attachment against the direction of the pile.

2. Thin-Foundations Rugs.

Vacuuming a think foundation rug

If your rug is a thin-foundation rug with a pile, use an upholstery attachment and vacuum with direction of the pile only.

Again, you’ll want to pick the attachment up and not push the attachment against the pile on the return strokes. If your thin-foundation rug doesn’t have a pile use the upholstery attachment and vacuum across the width of the rug.

Don’t be too aggressive or use too much pressure with the upholstery attachment.

3. Delicate Rugs.

Vacuuming a delicate rug

Even an upholstery attachment can cause a delicate rug to become frizzy, or damage very old fibers. For this reason, if the face fibers of your rug are delicate or very old, it might be best to not use a vacuum at all.

Instead, just brush the surface fibers by hand using a soft horsehair brush. With this type of rug, you will want to go across the width of the rug when you’re brushing.

This type of delicate rug will not usually be on the floor, they’ll often be hanging on walls. Remember, the idea here is that you’re dusting off the dirt and soil while it’s still on the tips of the yards before it has a chance to penetrate to the deeper layers of the rug.

So, you don’t need to be too aggressive with this step but be thorough and do it as often as you can.

4. Shaq Rugs.

You can vacuum the back of these rugs, you can call a couple of friends over and ask them to help you shake out the rug.

But, the best way I’ve found to dust these rugs is to take you rug outside and place it over the railing of your deck or something that you can hang it over to open up the fibers.

Then use a vacuum crevice tool (that’s the thin vacuum attachment that you use to get down between the back and sides of you sofa that you can’t and shouldn’t reach with your hands), and vacuum down the folds of the rug. 

This may take a little time depending  on how large the rug is, but you can get a lot of the dirt and dust out of your shag rug this way. 

Fringe On Any Type of Rug.

Vacuuming Rug Fringes

You will want to vacuum or brush fringe with the direction of the fibers. To reduce the possibility of any damage, use an upholstery attachment to clean the fringe.

If the fringe fibers are delicate or very old use a soft brush, and again brush with the direction of the fibers.

 

This article was written in collaboration with Lisa Wagner “The Rug Chick” and Mark Kennedy.
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