Rug Cleaning 101

What is the best way to clean your area rug? The answer may surprise you.

Let’s say you decide to have a dinner party and one of your guests accidentally spills a glass of red wine on your brand new wool area rug from The Rug Merchant. The first thing that wool rug is going to do is suck the wine straight into the fibers. While the scenario might seem all too real, the solution to make the mess disappear is simple and probably already in your cabinet.


Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to a glass of tap water and saturate the area. Once the area has been saturated, blot with a clean towel. DO NOT RUB.

This solution can be used on wool or synthetic area rugs.

Let’s imagine the same scenario only this time, it happens to your synthetic area rug. Synthetic area rugs are just as easy clean. Because synthetics are sealed with a stain-guard, when spilled, the liquid will bead up at the surface. To remove the liquid, just lightly dampen the area and blot clean with a paper towel or cloth.

Now let’s say that during said dinner party, you do everything right and clean up the mess with your solution of water and vinegar, but a few days later you notice a spot was missed. What should you do? Well, if you’re dealing with a wool rug, just repeat the saturate-blot-repeat method until the stain is gone. If your working with a synthetic rug, you may have a bigger problem on your hands.

Once a synthetic rug is produced, it is finished off with a stain guard, or scotch guard. This helps to protect the rug from immediate stains by beading up the stain on the surface of the rug which makes for an easy clean up. But these stain guards are only warrantied for 48 hours. After that 48 hours, the stain penetrates the stain guard and now what kept the stain out is going to keep any cleaner out, as well.

So why does the stain come out of the wool rug? Isn’t wool a sensitive natural fiber?

Wool is a porous, natural fiber, and very resilient. It also has a natural stain guard, called lanolin. So once the liquid is spilled, the wool soaks it up and the water and vinegar flush it right back out.

Be sure to always vacuum your rugs with the beater bar on high or off and for a serious rug cleaning, see your local professional area rug cleaner as needed.