How To Care For Rugs & Mats

How To Care For Rugs & Mats

Now that you've invested in good-looking rugs and mats to dress up your home, you'll want to make sure they last the distance. As well as helping your rugs and mats live a long life, regular care and maintenance is important to stop the build-up of dust, dirt or allergens that could impact the health of you and your family.

Dirt is a part of life but the good news is there's a simple care regime for your rugs and mats that you can incorporate into your regular home cleaning.

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Make vacuuming your rugs and mats part of your normal cleaning habit and you'll go a long way in helping extend their lifespan. Once a week is an ideal schedule to aim for, especially if you have pets in the house. Vacuuming will lift off most of the dust, dirt or fluff that has accumulated across the week.

Generally, you should vacuum perpendicular to the natural direction of your rug's pile fibres to minimise any damage. The type of rug you have will dictate what sort of vacuum or attachments you should use. For example, wool rugs and cotton rugs should be vacuumed without using bristles. Acrylic rugs can be cleaned by a vacuum cleaner with any kind of head.

If your rug is a flat weave, you should vacuum both sides to effectively dislodge the dirt. Remember to also vacuum the floor under your rug to help the rug stay clean once you put it back in its place.

A word of caution: if you have a delicate rug, or a rug with fringing or tassels, vacuuming may damage the fibres. Instead, use a brush or carpet cleaning mitt to clean these by hand.

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Vacuuming Rugs

Rotate & Refresh

If your rug or mat catches a lot of sun, it may fade or discolour over time. To keep it in good condition, rotate and refresh its position periodically. This is also a good idea if your rug carries the weight of furniture - a coffee table, couch or bed. Too much weight may eventually damage the rug, so it's good to give it a break every now and then.

The wear & tear of feet can also create unwanted dents in your favourite rugs and mats. Rotation will help keep this under control and minimise the likelihood of any long-term damage. Air out your rugs every now and then to help keep odours and dust at bay. Gently shaking them out should get rid of any excess dirt.

Rotate & Refresh Rugs

Stains & Spills

The most important rule when it comes to stains or spills is to deal with them fast. The longer you leave them, the more likely they'll do lasting damage.

The second most important rule: never rub them. Rubbing a stain or spill makes it worse and can permanently damage your rug fibres. Scrape off any solid materials then use a white or plain-coloured cloth or paper towel to dab the spill. Repeat this process until all liquid has been absorbed.

If you need a little something extra to lift the mess, mix together a small volume of mild detergent with lukewarm water and use it to blot the affected area. You can let it dry naturally, hang it out (if the weather permits) or use a fan or hair dryer. Just take care not to overheat the area or it may add to the damage.

Washing & Drying

Most rugs should not be machine washed, and will require either hand-washing or dry-cleaning. Make sure you check the care instructions for each rug or mat in your home.

If you machine wash, do so on a delicate setting. With smaller rugs or mats - or those with long fringes - it's a good idea to place them inside a laundry bag or pillowcase for extra protection during the machine wash cycle.

It's best to hang your rugs out to dry to preserve their shape and avoid shrinkage or discolouring. You can use a clothes rack, the back of a chair or hang them outside over a railing, if you have one.

If you're hanging your rugs and mats outside, keep them out of direct sunlight, as this can bleach the fabric. If the rug or mat is small enough - and you have the space - you could even lay it out on a table or countertop to dry. Rotate your rug while drying every few hours to speed up the process and reduce the risk of mould build-up.

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Professional Care

Even if you're taking good care of your rugs and mats through the year, it's still worth investing in an annual clean with a professional. It's the best way to get your rugs and mats as close to showroom standard as possible.

If a stain or spot proves stubborn and resists cleaning with the tips and tricks we've already mentioned - or if you accidentally damage your rug while cleaning - consult an expert immediately.

Still want more inspiration for your home?

Check out Spotlight's range of home decor available online, visit your local store or contact one of our experts for assistance.

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