Are your natural area rugs starting to look a bit worse for the wear? Perhaps you're just afraid to clean them because you can't figure out the best solution. Harsh cleaning solvents can fade or discolor the beautiful fibers, soap leaves a sticky residue behind, and not all carpet cleaners are formulated for natural rugs. So what's a frustrated spring cleaner to do? Before you toss the sisal out with the bathwater, there is a simple solution to your problem. You can make your own safe, natural rug cleaner at home.
Getting Your Area Rugs Cleaner Than Ever Before
1) Vacuum the rug to remove any surface dirt. For smaller rugs, you'll want to use a hand vac or a hose extension. Just be careful not to vacuum the fringe along the ends as you run your vacuum over the entire woven surface. The exception to this rule would be if you're cleaning a fresh stain, such as pet urine. As a general rule, you should vacuum your area rugs often to keep them looking like new.
2) Add one to two drops of mild dish detergent to a bucket of water. Apply the solution to a soft, non-abrasive sponge or cloth, and gently blot any stains. For stubborn stains or pet stains, try a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Just make sure only to use white vinegar, also called distilled vinegar or household vinegar, as it contains only 3 percent acetic acid. Higher acid concentrations may discolor or even damage your fibers.
3) Use a hair dryer to evaporate the water quickly. Water can weaken natural rug fibers, so you don't want to let the moisture linger for any longer than you have to. You might also place colorfast towels over the location of the stain, and weigh them down with a heavy set of books or paperweights overnight, so that the towels can fully absorb the liquid.
Additional Tips for Cleaning Area Rugs
For larger area rugs, it may be difficult to move them out of the room for cleaning. If this is this case, place a drop cloth over the main floor, in order to protect it while you clean your area rug. If water and vinegar prove ineffective at cleaning tough stains, try adding a touch of oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean). Finally, take your smaller rugs outdoors about once a week and give them a good shake to remove the loose dirt. With simple ongoing maintenance, you should have no trouble keeping your sisal and seagrass rugs looking like new.
While you're here, be sure to check out Natural Home Rugs for an amazing selection of gorgeous natural area rugs, all eco-friendly and affordable. You'll never look at area rugs quite the same way.