Our experts usually suggest that you keep your pet proof area rugs looking their best by following these easy to follow tips for basic care, deep cleaning, and stain removal. In addition, learn how to properly treat specific kinds of pet-friendly area rugs.
Basic Pet Friendly Rug Care
General rug care is typically determined by:
- And material
Additionally, we suggest that you care for larger-sized pet proof rugs similarly to how you would care for wall-to-wall carpet.
As with carpet, the most important thing you can do for larger area rugs is to vacuum them regularly. If a rug is reversible, vacuum both sides. This removes dirt, grit and grime that can wear out your rug over time, or cake in with foot traffic. Although it is essential to vacuum, take care to avoid vacuuming the fringe of your rug -- if there is any -- as this can cause damage to the fringe. (Typically, we don't recommend buying a rug with fringe if there are animals in your house, as the fringe tends to scream "play with me!" or "chew on me!")
Brush Out Pet Hair
Every now and then, a vacuum will sometimes leave pet hair behind. Use a stiff brush to remove the hair, brushing in the direction of the nap of the rug.
Turn Your Pet Friendly Area Rugs Every Year
Unfortunately, as we all know, foot traffic and the sun can put extra stress on your rugs, often resulting in fading. Our experts suggest that you turn them once or twice a year to even out the wear.
Shake Small Rugs
If the rug is small enough, we advise taking it outside and shaking it or beating it. This will help remove some of the tougher dirt. (Some areas have ordinances about shaking rugs outdoors, so check your local codes.)
Cleaning Special Types of Pet-Friendly Area Rugs
Certain types of pet proof area rugs require special cleaning care. For this reason, keeping the original care tags on your pet-friendly rug, or safe in a file, can be the difference between a simple, easy clean and permanent damage.
Washing and drying small rugs. Consult your rug's care labels to determine whether they should be dry-cleaned, spot-cleaned, or laundered. A dry-cleaning-only label might indicate that a rug is not colorfast. Test before spot-cleaning.
When you determine that your pet-proof area rug is washable, machine-wash it on the delicate cycle. Should your rug have fringe, in order to reduce the risk of tangling any long fringe, divide the fringe into several hanks, and wrap each one with white string. Place the rug in a mesh laundry bag or zippered pillowcase, to protect it from the agitator, and wash in cold water on the gentle cycle.
Hang wet rugs over a clothes-drying rack, a slatted picnic table, or several bricks stacked on a porch, patio, or breezeway. Hanging a wet rug over a single clothesline will distort the shape of the rug as it dries. Small rugs made from synthetic fibers similar to wall-to-wall carpet can be laid to dry on a small worktable or counter that is protected by a drop cloth, old sheets, or towels.
Pet-friendly area rugs will usually benefit from a deep cleaning every 12 to 18 months. When using commercial cleaning products for the first time, we typically recommend that you test a small area of the rug to make sure that it is colorfast and not otherwise damageable by the product.
To deeply and thoroughly clean a large pet-proof rug, we suggest that you place it on a vinyl or concrete surface and apply carpet-cleaning foam and rub in according to directions. Next, finish by rinsing or vacuuming. (Make sure the rug is dry before replacing it.)
Dry cleaning your pet friendly area rug might also be an option for small to mid-size rugs -- check the labels for care instructions.
Time is of the essence when your pet-friendly rug becomes stained. We always advise that you blot -- not rub -- the stain, and remove moisture from spills as quickly as possible.
- Alcohol and soft drinks: We suggest that you use a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent, 1 quart of warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply to the stain, rinse, then blot dry.
- Coffee or tea: Using the detergent mix above, apply to stain, rinse, and blot. If a stain remains, we suggest that use a commercial spot carpet cleaner.
- Fat-based stains: For foods such as butter, margarine, or gravy, use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner.
- Gum: Peel off what you can, then put ice cubes in a plastic bag and harden the gum. Following this, scrape the gum off with a spoon or dull knife. Vacuum and use a dry-solvent spot cleaner if needed.
- Paint: For acrylic and latex paint, while the stain is still wet, spot-clean with the detergent solution. If color remains, dab with rubbing alcohol. For oil-based paint, sponge with odorless mineral spirits, being careful not to soak through to the backing.
- Tomato sauce: Sponge with cool water, dab with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse with a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water and blot until dry.
- Urine, feces, and vomit: Apply detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner, rinse, and blot until dry.
- Melted wax: Use the same treatment as gum, hardening it with ice cubes in a plastic bag and scraping. Dampen a clean white cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, and blot to remove any remaining wax.