We can't stress it enough - vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! Area rugs receive a lot of abuse from dirt, sand, dust, oily cooking residue, various spills and foot traffic. Vacuuming an area rug with a good machine will go a long way towards prolonging the appearance and life of your carpet. Vacuuming is the primary defense against dry soils that can quickly build on area rugs.

Use a vacuum with a rotating beater bar to agitate the area rug pile and strong suction to remove loose particles is well tolerated by our area rugs. If your vacuum does not have a beater bar, it may remove surface dirt well but may leave imbedded soil that can damage area rugs through abrasion.

Since the pile in most area rugs is so much denser than wall-to-wall carpeting, imbedded dry soil may not be removed by vacuuming the top of the rug. Therefore, turn the area rug over. Vacuuming the back side of the rug using a vacuum with a beater bar causes imbedded soil to loosen and leave the rug. You will often see a considerable amount of soil on the ground that has been shaken loose by this method. Vacuum the floor, and repeat the process.

Vacuum Tips:

  • Make sure that the beater bar is actually rotating when in contact with the carpet. A worn belt will reduce rotation when the bar contacts the carpet.
  • Adjust the height of the beater bar so that it lightly vibrates the carpet, but will not cause the motor to slow.
  • Check the vacuum bag regularly. A vacuum will become less efficient if the soil bag becomes too full (over half full for most machines).
  • Vacuum across both directions of the traffic pattern to prevent matting.

Area Rug Cleaning

Vacuuming removes most dry soil, but street grime, oily soils, and air pollution can build up eventually and your area rug may require cleaning. The accumulation of these particles can cause gradual dulling and some loss of color. Since the area rugs at TEMA Contemporary Furniture are manufactured with highly permanent synthetic dyes, the colors are not fading; they are merely camouflaged by soil and grime. If soil accumulation is not removed within a reasonable time it can result in matted or packed fibers, which attract and hold additional soil and other pollutants.

Area Rug Stain Removal

Accidents happen. If an area rug becomes spotted or stained, work quickly. When possible, scoop up solids and blot liquids immediately after a spill occurs. Absorb as much liquid as possible with a white cloth or paper towel without scrubbing the area to prevent matting or fuzzing. See the Spotting Guide for more information.

Cleaning Methods

"Oxy" Cleaners
There are many oxygen cleaners on the market that are environmentally safe and work well for spot cleaning various stains on synthetic fiber area rugs. Most of these cleaners are biodegradable and form oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and soda ash when mixed with water. Soda ash is sodium carbonate and has alkaline properties, so do not use this cleaning method on wool or silk rugs and avoid prolonged skin contact. Carefully follow the usage and dilution guidelines for all oxygen cleaning products, rinse the cleansed area well, and be sure to test for colorfastness.

Dry Powder
We do not recommend using dry powders on area rugs, as the cleaning residue may be difficult to remove.

Steam Cleaning
This method is most effective when performed by a professional, although many area rug cleaning machines may be purchased or rented. The dangers of performing this method on your own are using the wrong chemistry or too much water. Because of permanent fiber damage to wool and silk, we do not recommend using rented equipment.

Important Considerations on Cleaning Various Fibers

Wool - Excessive agitation and heat should be avoided, but generally wool fibers may be cleaned with most cleaning methods. Wool rugs should be cleaned with neutral detergents and dried quickly. Use special care around household cleaning products, as bleaches and other alkaline products such as bathroom cleaners easily damage wool.

Cotton/Rayon - Cotton and rayon are cellulose fibers and may be cleaned using all cleaning methods. To avoid shrinking and possible browning, avoid excessive drying and agitation. As with wool, take care with alkaline products.

Silk - Silk should be cleaned using a dry cleaning process. These fibers may be damaged by natural and synthetic acids (e.g. lemon juice), and sunlight.

Sisal and Other Plant Fibers - Plant fibers such as sisal, jute, coconut (coir), ramie, and hemp have characteristics similar to cotton. It is generally safe to clean these fibers with all cleaning methods. As with any fiber, dry the area rug as quickly as possible.