Improper vacuuming can damage and devalue your rugs, vacuums with beater bars and brushes can break the face yarns 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.
So let’s talk about how to maintain three different types of rugs properly. Firstly, let’s talk about sturdy thick foundation rugs. Second, we’ll discuss thin foundation rugs. Third, we’ll talk about very delicate rugs. And finally, we’ll talk about dealing with fringe on all types of rugs.
Be sure to turn your vacuum’s beater bar off, or at the very least use it at the highest setting as the aggressive motorised brush can break the surface fibres of your rug. If you have a sturdy thick 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 as rotating brushes will quickly tear the fringe tassels. Another option is to use an upholstery attachment, vacuuming with the direction of the pile and taking the attachment up after each stroke so you’re never pushing the attachment against the direction of the pile.
If your rug is a thin foundation rug with a pile, use an upholstery attachment and vacuum with the direction of the pile only. Again, you want to pick the attachment up and not push the attachment against the direction of the pile on the return strokes.
If your thin foundation rug doesn’t have a pile, use an upholstery attachment and vacuum across the width of the rug. Don’t be too aggressive or use too much pressure as even upholstery attachments can cause very delicate rug fibres to become frizzy or damage very old fibres. For this reason, if the face yarns of your rug are delicate, or very old, it might be best to not use a vacuum at all. Instead, just brush the surface fibres by hand using a soft horsehair brush.
With a thin foundation rug, you’ll want to go across the width of the rug when you’re brushing. This type of delicate rug will not always be on the floor, they will often be hanging on walls. And remember, the idea is to dust off the dirt and soil, while it’s still on the tips of the yarns before it has a chance to penetrate to the deeper layers of the rug. You don’t need to be too aggressive with this step, but be thorough and do it as often as you can.
Now, let’s talk about how to properly deal with fringe on any type of rug. You want to vacuum or brush fringe going with the direction of the fibres, to reduce the possibility of any damage us an upholstery attachment between the fringe. If the fringe fibres are delicate or very old, use a soft brush and again, brush with the direction of the fibres.
So how often should you dust your rugs? If it’s been two years or more since your last rug washing then you won’t be able to get ahead of the curve in keeping the dirt out of the foundation of your rugs, get your rugs washed and then begin this regular dusting routine. If your rug has recently been washed, then you shouldn’t have very much embedded soil in the foundation so the goal is to keep that build-up of dust and grit as low as possible until your next washing.
In general you want to dust the front of your rugs every week or two, depending on the traffic they’re getting, and on the location in your home. If they’re in a high traffic area, or if there’s a substantial amount of dirt, dust more frequently. If they’re getting light traffic or there’s very little dirt, dust less frequently.
Every other month dust the back of the rug, go across the width using the same attachment that you used on the front, remember to dust the back of hanging rugs as well. If a rug is extremely delicate, use a brush, but you should still dust the back periodically. This will disturb these areas, and will help to keep bug and moth activity down.
If your rug is woven, sturdy and has a fairly thick foundation, then every six months, you should flip the rug face down and thoroughly dust the backside of the rug going across the width, with the beater bar of your vacuum at a low setting and switched on. The idea here is to use the vibrations of the beater bar to shake the dirt out of the foundation and the base of the pile, it’s amazing how much dirt rugs can hold. You might be surprised and what you’re able to shake out of your rugs with this method.
If your rug is a tufted rug, meaning that it has a cloth backing on it, don’t use this method! Tufted rugs have a layer of glue holding them together and this process might do more harm than good. Because rugs can hold so much dirt without even looking dirty, it’s important to have your rugs washed every six months to a year. If you have any questions about the proper maintenance of your rugs, just give us a call on 01269 842497 and we’ll be happy to help!