It is necessary to maintain your rugs and keep them in top shape. Vacuuming your area rugs regularly can prevent them from collecting dust, dirt, and damage. It is the best thing you can do to protect the lifespan of your rug.
However, not all rugs are the same. When to clean your rugs depends on how often they are actively used. Similar to how you sweep your wood floors, vacuuming your rugs should be considered sweeping them. Rugs can collect up to a pound of grime per square foot before they are noticeably dirty. Annually washing your rugs should be made a habit, and vacuuming your rugs is considered upkeep to prevent dust from settling into the fibers.
When dust settles in woven or hand-made rugs, the tiny particles can literally cut away at the fibers and grind into the base of the rug. When you start to see your woven or hand-made rugs turning white that is actually the white foundation of your rug showing through.
Many people are unaware that there is a proper way to vacuum a rug to prevent destruction of the fibers. There is no specific way of vacuuming that works universally for every type of rug. For hand-made rugs it is important to be gentle and use the “suction” setting found on most vacuums. The suction setting is easier on wool, whereas the brushing setting can be too abrasive for hand-made rugs. Remember, you are merely sweeping your rug, not scrubbing it — leave that to the professionals.
You want to figure out the direction that the knots in your rug are facing. Think of it like swimming, you want to swim with the current, not against it. You can run the palm of your hand on your rug and feel whether you are running your hand against the current or with the current. Any harsh force can splinter softer wool, which is why you need to be gentle if you ever have to brush your wool rugs.
Use the hand tool that comes with most vacuums to start at the top of your rug and work your way down, moving with the current of your rug. Once you are finished, considered vacuuming the back of area rugs and beneath your rug pad. These need just as much attention to prevent bugs or dust from accumulating between the rug and the rug pad.
Hopefully this guide will help you with your upkeep and help you maintain the liveliness of your rugs.