Wash rugs at home - 7 tips
The rugs at home have to put up with more than much else. They get trampled on with not always completely clean feet and the occasionally shoes too. Crumbs and sometimes larger treats are dropped, the dog sheds and oops that was a coffee spill.
Take care of your rugs and your home will be both more pleasant and hygienic at the same time as you extend the life of the rugs. There are rugs in many different materials and they need love in different ways. Here are some tips on how to take care of your rugs and clean them in the best way.
How to wash your rug at home
About every two years, it is good to clean your rugs, but how often depends on what wear they're exposed to. Of course, a rug in the hall, at the patio door or under the dining table gets dirty faster than one in a guest room or upstairs. Between washes, it's good to remove stains as soon as they occur.
It is possible to wash carpet at home, but whether you can wash yours depends on the material from which it is made.
1. Wash rugs in washing machine
On most rugs, there is care advice on the underside. It shows if you can wash your rug in the washing machine. It's often possible to wash cotton and synthetic rugs in a washing machine, but read the care advice to be safe. Washing a rag rug in the machine can, for example, cause it to lose its shape or even unravel. Washing a plastic rug can affect the surface and it can dry out and become brittle.
The symbol for water washing in a machine is a tub filled with water with a number for temperature. The size of your washable rug determines if you can wash it in your washing machine. You wash the rug separately and there should be space left in the drum when you put it in so that the washing can be done in a good way and that the detergent can be rinsed out properly. If you live in an apartment and there is a heavy-duty washing machine in the laundry room, it's a good option for larger rugs that can be machine-washed. Heavy duty washing machines often have a wash cycle specifically for rugs.
Start by vacuuming the rug so you get rid of the largest dirt particles. Vacuuming both sides is a good idea for even better result. If you have pets, going over once with a brush nozzle so that dog or cat hair is sucked away is also a good idea. To machine wash the rug, you can use a liquid detergent or a special carpet shampoo.
2. Wash rugs by hand
On rugs that can withstand hand washing, the washing symbol looks like a tub filled with water with a hand. This means that you can wash the rug in a tub or, for example, in the bathtub. If the rug is too large to fit, you may want to wash it flat outdoors, for example on a clean tarpaulin.
If you think that your rug should be able to be washed by hand even though it lacks washing instructions, you can test with the detergent you have in a less visible place, for example on the underside if it's of the same material as the top. Then you see if there is a risk that the color fades or otherwise does not do well from washing. Don't use too hot water, there's a risk that the rug will shrink and if you're unlucky it may shrink unevenly.
3. Detergents and utensils
When you hand wash your rug, you don't need a lot of complicated utensils, but get away with a vacuum cleaner, a tub, bathtub or tarpaulin and bucket with something to scoop with depending on the size of the rug, brush or sponge and detergent.
There are special rug shampoos, but you can also use well-dissolved powder detergent, liquid detergent or ordinary dish washing liquid.
4. Preparations before hand washing
Before you start hand washing your rug, vacuum both sides and preferably with a brush nozzle if you have a dog or cat. You want to get rid of as much loose dirt as possible before you put the rug in the water.
5. Hand wash in a tub or bathtub
Dissolve the detergent in lukewarm water before submerging the rug and let it soak completely.
Work up a foam with a sponge or a soft brush to dissolve the dirt. Rub a little extra on more stubborn stains.
Leave the rug in the water for five minutes before rinsing it off.
If your rug is in the bathtub, you can use the shower handle to rinse clean. Otherwise, use a scoop to rinse with. Rinse until the water is completely clear and no longer feels slippery.
Scrape the rug several times in the fiber direction to get rid of as much water as possible before allowing it to dry.
6. Hand wash flat outdoors
Lay your rug on a clean tarpaulin or other clean surface outdoors.
Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add rug shampoo or other detergent.
Use a brush or sponge and work the solution into the carpet to dissolve the dirt. Take a few extra turns in more dirty places.
Let the rug sit with the detergent for five minutes so that all the dirt dissolves.
Rinse thoroughly. You can use the garden hose to rinse clean, but a watering can or bucket also works well.
Scrape the carpet in the fiber direction to get rid of as much water as possible before allowing it to dry.
7. Dry the rug
When you've washed your rug, it's very important that it's completely dry before you lay it on the floor again. If you don't do this, there's a risk of mold forming between the underside of the rug and the floor, which is a health hazard. You also risk damaging the floor, which often doesn't appreciate moisture. You usually can't tumble dry a rug. The dryer symbol is a square with a circle. If it's crossed, don't tumble dry.
If you have a smaller rug and a drying cabinet where you can regulate the heat, you can dry there on low heat. Otherwise, it's best to hang the rug over a drying rack, for example, so air can circulate, preferably outdoors. Depending on the thickness and material of the rug, it can take several days until it's completely dry.
If your rug is to dry indoors, it can be a good idea to supplement with a fan, for example a table fan. Turn the rug over when the outside feels dry so that both sides have a good chance to dry up completely. Let it hang to dry for an extra day to be on the safe side.
Vacuum the rug when it's dried completely. Then the fibers that have become flattened in the wash get a chance to rise again.
Care advice for your rugs
Complete cleaning of carpets is only needed every year or every other year, but in order for them to stay fresh all year round, they need a little regular love. Here are some tips to help you take care of your rugs.
Vacuum your rugs in connection with you doing your weekly cleaning and vacuuming the floors. Vacuum mainly on the top, but have a habit of also folding up the edges so that you can do the undersides and the floor under the rug. On rugs without visible fiber direction, go in all different directions to access the dirt. On oriental rugs, it's best to just vacuum in the direction of the fibers. If there's fringe, you can use a soft brush or a sparse comb to sort them out.
It's not always necessary to wash a rug completely. Attacking stains can do the trick. It's best to treat stains when they occur so they don't have time to dry in and discolour the fibers on the rug.
Try this method to remove stains from drinks such as wine, beer, juice, coffee and milk or sticky sweets, berries and fat from your rugs. You'll need detergent, vinegar, water and white rags. Use white rags so you don't risk staining the carpet when you work the detergent solution into the stain.
Mix a few drops of ordinary dish washing liquid with lukewarm water in a cup.
Dip a white cloth into the solution and press over the stain in batches until it begins to dissolve.
Let it sit for 15 minutes and then use a clean cloth and wipe the surface.
Finish by dipping a new cloth in a mixture with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 dl water.
Dab the surface where the stain was with the vinegar water and to remove the detergent as remaining detergent can attract new dirt.
Finish with clean water on a clean cloth.
Make sure that the surface where the stain was can dry up before you place anything on it.
An alternative to the detergent method is to remove stains on rugs with bicarbonate. Moisten the stain with lukewarm water, powder over bicarbonate, rub a little and leave on for a few hours. When the surface is dry, vacuum. Repeat if necessary.
Regularly airing out your rugs helps to keep them fresh. A classic whip stand is ideal, but they're not so common anymore. A folding clothes rack works just as well if the carpet's not too big. Whip the carpet to loosen dirt and to allow the air to circulate better between threads and fibers.
If you have the opportunity, a classic housewife trick is to lay the rug out in the snow in the winter. The rug shouldn't get wet, just brushed with a little loose snow with the help of a piassava broom. Then hang it up and let it dry completely before laying it on the floor again.
Freshen up with bicarbonate
If you don't have the opportunity to take out a rug outdoors to air and thus freshen it up, you can take the help of bicarbonate. Bicarbonate attracts moisture and neutralizes bad odors. First vacuum the rug thoroughly. Then sift over bicarbonate and let stand for at least 20 minutes. Vacuum again and it's much fresher and musty odors are gone.
Washing mouse pads
Speaking about rugs, here are some tips on how to clean the smallest rug at home, the mouse pad. Even a mouse pad is exposed to a lot there on the table. Grease from hands, coffee stains and perhaps crumbs from desk fika means that a refreshment is sometimes needed.
How you best wash your mouse pad depends on what material it's made of. You can probably wash a synthetic mouse pad in the sink with a little detergent. Lather up the detergent, add the mouse pad and squeeze it gently under the water. Rub a little extra if you have obvious stains. Allow to air dry. A mouse pad in other material is a bit of a gamble. Fabric frays easily at the edges so there you have to decide if it is worth risking a try with a wash or just spot treat stains with a drop of detergent on a wet white cloth. For leather mouse pads, leather cleaning is recommended, which you buy in well-stocked stores or from a cobbler.