Can You Use A Vacuum Cleaner For Rug Cleaning?

Published: Sep 8, 2020
vacuum cleaning rug

When it comes to rug cleaning, how you choose to maintain your rug will directly affect the life and longevity of your rug investment. If you care for your rug appropriately, it will be a centerpiece in your home for many years to come and can even become an heirloom for loved ones.

One of the largest questions people have about nice oriental rugs is “Can I use a vacuum on my rug.” To know for certain whether or not you can use a vacuum on your rug, take a look at your rug’s materials and age.

Properly cleaning your rugs might take more time because you won’t be able to use the same vacuum settings as you do for the rest of your floors. However, the time is certainly worth it if your rugs last longer.

Vacuum Safety for Wool Rugs

rug vacuum

Wool is a very durable and resilient fiber. That means that it is safe to use a vacuum on wool rugs. Because wool is so sturdy, it’s been a chosen material for making rugs for many centuries.

You should vacuum your rug regularly to protect it and remove dirt before it gets ground into the fibers too deep. Here are some vacuuming tips for cleaning your wool rug.

  1. Choose a vacuum that has an adjustable height. Each rug will have a different pile height, and therefore, will require a different height to protect its fibers. You don’t want the vacuum rubbing the pile so adjust the height to be right above the rug’s pile.
  2. As you select your vacuum, you should also look for one that allows you to turn off the carpet beater brush. This brush spins at extremely high speeds and can damage the pile of your rug. To ensure you aren’t loosening the rug’s knots when you vacuum, turn off the beater brush whenever you’re using your vacuum on your rugs.
  3. Adjust your vacuum’s suction to a high setting. Since you aren’t using the beater brush, you’ll want your suction set to high to suck the dirt and debris from your rug’s fibers.
  4. Watch out for your rug’s tassels. If your rug has tassels, avoid vacuuming the tassels to protect them. Over time, the fringe or tassels on your rug will show wear if you vacuum them. Adjust the direction of your vacuuming stroke to best avoid the tassels or fringe of your rug.

From time to time, you might want to flip your rug over and vacuum the underside as well. Dirt can collect deep within your rug. Over time, this dirt can cause the backing on your rug to wear down. Keeping it clean can help reduce this wear. You should complete this type of cleaning of the back of your rugs every other month. This sort of cleaning can also help reduce the chances of bug or moth infestations.

You should not clean the back of tufted rugs though. This is a rug with a cloth backing, which is glued onto the back of your rug. Cleaning the backside of tufted rugs can harm this cloth layer.

Sheepskin or Shag Rug Cleaning

Vacuuming a sheepskin rug is a bad idea. Your rug’s shag will become matted and damaged. Even on your vacuum’s lowest setting, it poses a serious risk to your sheepskin rug.

You should brush the rug with a brush designed specifically for sheepskin rugs.

Or, take the rug outside and gently shake your rug. This will help remove dirt and debris hiding down inside your rug’s fibers. Additionally, such an activity tends to fluff your rug up a bit to make it look fresh and new again.

Avoid yellowing by keeping the rug out of direct sunlight. Use non-alkaline detergents when you wash your sheepskin rug. That’s because sheepskin rugs often have a leather backing that can stiffen or degrade with repeated washing.

If you spill something on a sheepskin rug, dab it clean and sprinkle potato or corn starch on the rug. Don’t vacuum the starch out. Instead, just shake it out.

Old, Delicate and Silk Rugs

rug vacuuming

If you inherited an old and delicate rug, you’re a lucky individual. These rugs are classics and worth preserving. Owners of these rugs should never vacuum them no matter the material they are made of.

Thin rugs also have very little pile, which means it’s more difficult to protect your rug from damage from the vacuum. Try using an upholstery attachment and be sure that you’re lifting the attachment when you move from one stroke to the next.

You can also use a horsehair brush to dust off dirt and debris from the rug. Be very gentle when doing so. You should brush your delicate, old or silk rugs once or twice a week depending on how much traffic you have in that room.

Rugs in Homes with Pets

If you have pets in your home, you might want to brush your rug before using your vacuum. Pet hair can clog your vacuum and make rug cleaning more time-consuming. Use a standard broom to just brush off pet hair before vacuuming your rugs.

This way, you won’t spend valuable time trying to get your vacuum to pick up all the hair and you’ll have to go over the rug fewer times, which can preserve its fibers. You can even brush your rugs more often than you vacuum them. If it’s a low-traffic rug but builds up pet hair, just brush off the hair to reduce the overall vacuuming you do to the rug.

Other Rug Care Tips

rug vacuuming

In addition to vacuuming and cleaning your rugs regularly, you should rotate them annually. This will help make sun fade and wear from daily traffic show up evenly across your rug. Discoloring is somewhat unavoidable, but by rotating the rug, you can reduce the uneven look on your rugs.

Additionally, plan to move your furniture to other areas of the rug. This way, you won’t have deep impressions in your rug from the furniture legs sitting in the same place all the time. It’s a good idea to move your furniture every few months to prevent this type of wear.

Scheduling Professional Rug Cleaning

To further protect your rug, you should get it professionally cleaned at least annually. Depending on how fragile your rug is and whether or not you can vacuum it to remove the dirt. For fragile rugs that you can’t vacuum, you might consider getting a professional cleaning every six months to preserve your rug.

Rugs that indicate that you cannot machine wash them can still be steam cleaned. This can remove dirt and stains as well as restoring the vibrancy of your rug.

Don’t hide your rugs away out of a fear that you’ll damage them. Instead, create a maintenance and cleaning plan for your rug that preserves its beauty and functionality long-term.

A Advanced Rug Care offers professional rug cleaning services for Everett and the surrounding area. Get a quote to learn more about how we can complete your rug cleaning, carpet cleaning or flooring installation work.


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