On average your handmade rug can last fifty plus years, if properly maintained. If you are overwhelmed by the notion of having to care for your investment, here are some simple instructions and tips you can follow. Please remember this only applies to wool and cotton rugs. Any silk rugs will be need to be cared for by a orientalist rug cleaning professional. The same applies to fragile and antique rugs.
Regular cleaning and maintenance:
1. Buy a quality rug pad to place underneath your rug. One can be bought cheaply on Amazon that does the job. The thickness is up to you, whether you want to add more cushion underneath your rug or just need it to protect the underside. The point of your pad is to keep the rug from sliding and to protect the underside.
2. Rotate your rug once every six months to get even wear. This prevents your rug from having one traffic pattern. Your rug will accumulate wear, you just want to make sure the wear is even all around the rug.
3. Vacuum your rug, at least, once a week to prevent grit and dirt build up at the base of the pile. You’ll want to make sure you’re using a regular vacuum with a rotating bristle brush. Avoid industrial style vacuums, like Kirbys or ones you rent. They are too strong and will rip the threads from your rug. Make sure to avoid the fringes and edges. You do not want to accidentally suck up the fringes. This could cause your rug to unravel.
4. Once a month, take your rug outside and beat, if possible. Your rug will benefit from being flipped over, and being hit from the backside. This will shake loose any dirt particles your vacuum did not pick up.
If an accident occurs, try to get to it as quickly as possible. Most of the time, a simple solution of Dawn dish soap and tepid water, will take care of the stain. We always strongly advise that you test a corner of the rug before cleaning, for color run. Once you have established that your dyes are set, you can spot clean with a mixture of Dawn and water. Gently dab the stain, do not scrub. Reference below for suggestions based on the stain:
Dog or baby urine: Soak up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels. Apply a mixture of Dawn, water and your favorite essential oil to kill the odor. Dab, do not scrub, with the mixture. Allow to dry...repeat if necessary. Then vacuum the spot. If your dog is a puppy and is still going through potty training, I sprinkle a little cayenne pepper to dissuade the dog from going in that spot again.
Cat urine: Soak up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels. Sprinkle with Baking soda or Borax to neutralize the odor. Leave on for a few hours, then vacuum. Spot clean with the mixture of Dawn, water, and your favorite essential oil. Repeat as many times as necessary until the odor is gone. Vacuum again. If the odor persists, we encourage you to take the rug outside to sun. The sun and fresh air will kill most odors.
Wine: Soak up the stain as much as possible with paper towels. Blot the stain with club soda, then again with Dawn and water. Vacuum.
Food Stains: Allow the food stain to dry, then chip off with a scrub brush. Clean the rest with the mixture of Dawn and water. Vacuum.
Do not use commercial rug cleaners on your handmade rug please. Most cleaners found in the store use strong, chemicals that could strip the dyes from your rug!
If none of the tips above work, take your rug outside for fresh air. You'll be surprised at how much the sun, and fresh air, can take care of most bug problems, odors, and stains. Don't have a big yard to lay your rug on? Lay it on your car, over a fence, or on your driveway!
The last resort is taking your rug to a professional cleaner. You should only have to do this once a year, but it's a healthy investment for your rug. Most cleaners charge around $2-5 a sq. foot. A good cleaning will help extend the life of your rug, and is the equivalent of buying a new commercially made rug, every year.