Cotton rugs are the ideal choice when you want to add a light, airy touch to any space in your home. Far from the heavy weave of a wool rug or even the thickness of a synthetic polypropylene rug, area rugs made of 100% cotton are almost closer to the texture and weight of a blanket, which makes them perfect for children’s rooms or nurseries, or any area just needing a lightweight floor covering to complete its look.
Luckily, cotton rugs are extremely easy to care for. Just as your cotton T-shirts don’t need much special attention, other than getting tossed into the wash after wear, your cotton rugs are simple to clean and maintain with a minimum of effort.
However, there is one caveat: If your cotton rug is hand-made, or seems delicate in any way, it’s best to play it safe, and treat it with extra care. While durable, machine-made rugs can sometimes be washed in a washing machine, certain weaves of cotton rug are susceptible to coming unraveled or even developing tears if washed in a machine, even on the delicate cycle. Rugs like this should ideally be brought to a dry cleaner for cleaning, and maintained carefully in between professional cleanings by shaking out the dust and wiping stains with a damp cloth.
Cotton rugs that are machine-made and durable, though, don’t need this high level of care and attention. While washing them in a washing machine can still be iffy, since dyes can run and wear and tear can be magnified, professional dry cleaning is not normally necessary for cotton rugs. To avoid the risks associated with machine washing, cotton rugs can be washed by hand in cold water with mild detergent, if they are small enough. But washing them in this way is not a must. And using the clothes dryer is definitely a no-no in either case – hanging your cotton rug out to dry in the sunshine not only keeps it safe from the ravages of a tumble dryer, but it also kills germs and brightens the fabric naturally.
The easiest way to care for your cotton rugs is simply to vacuum or shake them out regularly. They can be steam cleaned, if a deeper cleansing is warranted, and then hung outside to dry. Any stains can be treated with hydrogen peroxide. Of course, to ensure that no discoloration will occur, a small amount of hydrogen peroxide should first be tested on an inconspicuous part of the rug.
If all is well, you can dab the peroxide onto the stain, and then use a toothbrush to scrub it in until the stain disappears. For particularly stubborn stains, a mixture of half hydrogen peroxide and half ammonia can help do the trick. Once the stain has been removed, rinse the rug at the sink, if it’s small enough, or by dabbing the spot with a damp rag, if it’s too large.
If you follow these simple guidelines for the care and maintenance of your cotton rug, it’s sure to maintain its light, airy beauty for years to come.