The greatest approach to keep a rug clean is to keep it from becoming dirty in the first place. If your lifestyle allows it, removing your outdoor shoes upon entering the house (like most rug-weaving countries do) is an excellent idea. Bare-foot or sock-foot traffic is far softer on a rug than a hard outdoor-shoe sole (or spike heel), and leaving your outside shoes at the front door tracks in much less dirt.
Only have your rug cleaned when it truly needs it. For rugs in some places, this will imply a yearly cleaning. Rugs in other places can go several years or more without needing expert cleaning.
Try one of these methods to determine how unclean a rug is:
Pick up a corner of the rug and, while holding it, kick the back of the rug sharply. If a cloud of dirt flies out of the pile, the rug is unclean and has to be cleaned. The term “wool” refers to the material used to make clothing.
Kneel on the rug and rub the pile vigorously in a short arc with your hand for 5 to 10 seconds. Examine your fingers and palm: if you have dirt on your hand, the rug needs to be cleaned.
Fold a section of the rug back on itself, pile facing up, so that the pile opens along a line of knots. Look down into the pile at the rug’s foundation. If the warp and weft appear unclean, there is dirt deep in the pile that a home vacuum cleaner cannot reach. The rug requires cleaning.
You Should Clean It Yourself
Small rugs are simple to clean. On a good, sunny day, the process is best performed in a utility room or garage (on a clean floor) or outside on a clear driveway or paved walk:
Both sides should be thoroughly vacuumed.
Shampoo the rug using cool water and a moderate liquid soap or rug shampoo (no strong detergents, ammonia water, or sudsy ammonia water). Tests for color should be run in a small area first. Use a gentle, long-haired brush or a firm, non-shedding sponge. Brush the pile firmly in the direction of the nap, but don’t scrub too hard. Wet the nap thoroughly with soapy water.
Use the same soap solution to clean your fringes. Brush away from the pile with a clothes brush.
Rinse well with running water.
Squeeze out extra water with a rubber window squeegee. Squeegee the pile in the direction of the nap until no more water is squeezed out.
Allow to dry flat. Turn the rug over when the nap feels dry; the back is probably still damp. DRY THOROUGHLY.
Brush carefully or lightly vacuum if the pile feels stiff after drying.
Rug First Aid
Always try to work on the spill without expanding its area.
Food spills/Pet urine
Urine is the most serious of the most common spills. It can produce serious color run in the carpeting, and the stench can be difficult to remove or mask. Pee can also change the way a rug is made chemically by making the foundation stiffer and less flexible, and the smell of urine can attract moths. Repeated wettings can cause the rug’s foundation to lose mechanical strength to the point where the rug splits and breaks when rolled or folded.
If someone spills food or urine on a rug, it’s much easier to clean up if the spot is taken care of quickly, before the spill dries. Blot up as much liquid as possible using paper towels or a clean, white cloth. Rinse off as much of the spill as possible.