Have questions about how to care for your rug? We have answers! From using the “right” setting for vacuuming shag rugs to gently removing the occasional spill, stain, or pet mess, this rug guide covers all the details to help make sure your rugs look beautiful for years to come.
We all want our rugs to remain as fresh-looking as they are on Day 1. After all the care you’ve taken in choosing just the right rug, it can be cringeworthy to see life take its course, with its daily wear-and-tear of crumbs, muddy paws, and—gasp!—even spilled red wine. But before you despair, read this guide that’s been written specifically with Rugs USA rugs in mind. When life happens, you and your rug can weather the storm!
Make sure you read through the general instructions in this rug guide, but also check specific recommendations for the fiber of rug you’ve chosen.
The Art of Vacuuming
The humble vacuum is so much more than a simple household appliance for removing debris! It’s your trusted friend and partner to keep your rug looking and feeling its best. There’s a simple art to vacuuming; choosing the right settings and method will help protect your rug, making sure you don’t damage the fibers.
- Vacuum regularly. Regular vacuuming will prevent buildup of debris that would be more difficult to clean all at once.
- Use the least amount of friction to get the job done. Raise the rotating brush (sometimes called a beater bar) as high as possible and vacuum carefully. Avoid vacuuming tassels and fringe.
- Keep the setting low. When vacuuming, use the lowest effective setting to prevent fibers from being pulled out of the rug backing.
Spot Cleaning 101
When food, drink, or any mess hits your rug, the first rule of thumb is to stay calm! Then act fast—grab a white cloth, some water, and either clear dishwashing liquid or our specially formulated rug cleaner and follow the steps below. We’ll get through this together!
- Blot spills immediately using a clean white cloth. Continue to blot the stain, using a clean side of the cloth, until the stain is completely absorbed. It’s important to address the spill as quickly as possible; allowing it to set will make the stain more difficult to clean later. Do not rub—rubbing can force the stain deeper into your rug’s surface.
- Apply diluted clear dishwashing liquid or NuClean® Rug Cleaner to the stain. Always test an inconspicuous area of the rug first to ensure compatibility. Avoid using a solution on jute, sisal, leather/cowhide, and nylon/viscose rugs, as these fibers will stain.
- Allow cleaner to remain on the area for 1 to 5 minutes. Blot excess product from the surface using a clean cloth or sponge and let the area dry for 15 to 30 minutes.
- For stubborn stains, it may be necessary to repeat the cleaning process, and/or softly brush the area during application.
Protect Against Wear and Tear
In addition to vacuuming and spot cleaning, here are a few more simple habits to keep your rug looking and feeling great for years:
- To promote even wear of the rug surface, rotate regularly.
- Avoid exposing rugs to continuous direct sunlight. This will cause colors to fade over time.
- Not all synthetic rugs are OK for outdoor use! Only place made-for-outdoor rugs outside; they are woven specifically to be resistant to the elements.
Cleaning Guidelines by Fiber
When you are shopping for your rug, take note of the rug’s fibers on its product page. Knowing whether it’s made from wool, polyester, polypropylene, leather, jute, or another fiber will help you keep it looking its best. The info you need lives underneath the product photos, in the Specifications header:
Vacuum using a suction-only attachment. Vacuum with the grain (run your hand along the surface of the rug to determine what direction the fibers run in). You may also use an electric carpet sweeper. Spills are best cleaned using an acetic or citric acid rinse instead of water, to lessen the possibility of discoloration.
It’s common for loose fibers to break down and pool underneath the rug surface. In addition to regular surface vacuuming, clean the floor under the rug. Sprouting is also common, in which loose rug fibers poke up out of the rug surface. Do not pull these; snip down to the surface of the rug.
When first removed from its packaging, shag rugs may have a flattened or matted appearance. Simply fluff the surface using your fingers.
Due to the higher pile in comparison to other rug types, a high amount of shedding is normal and expected. This is especially true for wool shag items. Prior to vacuuming, turn the rug face down and gently shake it out to dislodge any dirt that may have gotten trapped deep within the fibers. Using a suction-only attachment, vacuum in-between individual rows on your rug.
Shake out the rug or use an electric carpet sweeper. Avoid using any chemical solvents on leather or cowhide. This will cause the material to break down and stain further.