How to Clean Spots & Spills on Your Area Rug

Nothing ties a room together like a fine area rug. You can use one in almost any room of the house and it will look fantastic and perfectly complement your taste in décor and personal style. A great area rug is not cheap though. To get a great area rug that will not succumb to wear and whose colors will not fade over time, you need to spend a little extra. This is why it is so frustrating when you get spots and spills on your area rug. Fortunately, some DIY home remedies will allow you to get the stain out of the rug and not have to pay for an expensive carpet cleaning or scrap the rug altogether.

Cute Dog Leaves Spots on Area Rug

General Rug Cleaning Tips

When you first notice a stain on your rug, there are a few tips to keep in mind. These are general tips that apply to most rugs and everyday spots and spills.

  • React quickly – Spills and spots are much easier to get up before they set in and become stains. As soon as you see something on your area rug, try and get to it as soon as possible.
  • Use the blot method – Do not vigorously rub the stain, this will only spread it around. Blot the spot with a wet cloth to get it up and out of the rug.
  • Just use water (at first) – It is always best for the rug to start with water and hopefully get the spot up that way. If that does not work, then you can then try certain cleaners on certain rugs for heavier duty stains.

Dealing with Different Types of Spots and Spills

Depending on the rug material and what type of spot or spill befalls your rug, you will use different products and procedures to address them. Here are some of the most common categories of spots and spills and how to deal with each.

  • Water-based Spills – Treat water with water. Water-based stains will eventually come out with just water and enough blotting so do not turn to harsh chemicals that can damage your rug.
  • Sticky Spots – If the spot is sticky, the trick is to get it cold to harden the substance. After it is hard and brittle, you can scrape it off with a spoon.
  • Alkaline or Acidic Spills – For alkaline spills (urine, beer) use a solution of white vinegar and water to get the spot up. For acidic spills (ketchup, fruity drinks) use ammonia if you can. Do not use this on wool rugs though as it can ruin them.

Red Wine Spill On White Area Rug

How To Care For Different Rug Types

Not all area rugs are created equal. This is true for price, quality, and of course, care. Depending on the type of area rug, you will want to use different tools and techniques to clean them. Here is a breakdown of how to care for different styles.

  • Braided or Woven – Many are machine washable. You can also scrub with a commercial carpet cleaner.
  • Hand-Knotted, Antique, and Oriental Rugs – These are usually expensive, delicate, and/or old. If water does not work, call in the professionals. 
  • Coir, Sisal, Rush, and Grass Rugs – Most natural fiber rugs can be scrubbed with a scrub brush using warm soapy water 
  • Fur, Sheepskin, and Hair-on Hides – You can brush talcum powder though these types of rugs to clean. Shake out the excess and repeat as necessary.

Using these DIY remedies, you will hopefully be able to care for your area rug, make it last a long time and deal with any spots and spills that befall them. Just remember, always consult your specific rug's tags or manufacturer's notes for individual cleaning requirements. For example, we include general care and information on handling stains for each individual Loloi rug featured on Fine Decor Direct.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published