5 money saving tips on cleaning your antique rugs at home

When purchasing an antique rug, many think about how it will look with their decor and how expensive it will look in their homes. However, we often don’t think in practical terms, such as how do you keep it clean. It’s a major purchase for most so needs to be looked after properly. Why would you purchase an investment piece of furniture or home decor and not look after it? An antique rug is often the focal point of any room it is in so having a dirty and dusty rug will not impress any guests nor will the room smell nice either.

The key is to regularity so you get into a routine of keeping it clean. You might think it’s a difficult job to do yourself but with our helpful pointers, you’ll soon discover it’s much easier than you think. The more you clean it, the easier it is to keep clean. Keep reading to find out our top 5 money saving tips on cleaning your antique rugs at home.

Invest in underlay or a rug pad to extend washing times

The first thing you should do when purchasing an expensive antique rug is to buy something to sit underneath it. Investing in a rug pad or underlay is the first step to elongating the life of the rug without really having to do anything! Not only will it keep it cleaner and prevent scuffs on your flooring, it prevents it from slipping and sliding around too. This is particularly important if you have children, pets and those in your home who are a little unsteady on their feet. Whilst it doesn’t keep the rug itself from getting dirty, it definitely allows the underneath to keep off the floor directly, meaning less dirt.

Vacuum both sides often

Use a low pile brush or the nozzle attachment and do this every two weeks. If it’s too aggressive, use a sweeping brush with soft bristles instead. Vacuum or sweep in the direction of the fibres and not against them. If vacuuming, use the low pile setting or a handheld nozzle so you have better control and gentler suction. The gentler you are, the longer your antique rug will last!

Be aware of any fringing or embellishments on the outside of the rug and steer clear of them when vacuuming especially. Sweeping gently should help to remove any dust from them provided you’re careful. Whichever you choose, vacuuming or sweeping should only take a few minutes and you can tag it on to your regular cleaning routine.

DIY a deep clean

Before you deep clean your rug yourself, always check the care instructions underneath it. Some rugs can bleed colours when submerged in water and some cannot come into contact with water at all. If yours passes that test, you can do a DIY deep clean at home. After vacuuming/sweeping, spray the rug with cold water first to dampen the pile. You want it to be wet but not drenched or it will take an age to dry.

Next, mix a bowl of water with some rug shampoo or liquid soap. Use it sparingly with a soft bristle brush or sponge once again in the direction of the fibres. The idea is to bring any underlying dirt out but not soak the rug entirely in water. Once finished, spray the rug again with water to remove any of the cleaning soap mixture. Leave it to dry for as long as possible, around 24 hours if possible.

This deep clean doesn’t need to be done as often if you keep up with weekly vacuuming or sweeping. However, if you find that your rug is taking longer to vacuum, you might need to deep clean it more often. You can try different sponges, clothes and brushes until you find the one that works best for your rug too.

Use talcum powder to reduce odours

No matter how often you vacuum, sweep or deep clean your antique rug, it can leave a smell lingering. To combat this, you should some good, old-fashioned talcum powder. Sprinkle it over the rug the night before you intend to clean it. Leave it to absorb overnight and simply vacuum or sweep it away the following day. You do not need to invest in fragrance sprays or fancy shampoos to remove odours from your rug.

Limit professional cleaning to once a year

Once you’ve got the hang of cleaning your antique rug yourself, you can start to limit how often you get it professionally cleaned. We still recommend using the experts annually but vacuuming weekly and deep cleaning yourself around six months will drastically reduce the cost of your cleaning bills.

How often should you clean an antique rug?

Whilst you only need to deep clean it once or twice a year, it depends how much foot traffic it gets to determine how often to clean it at home. If it’s in a high traffic area, such as a living room, vacuuming or sweeping it at least fortnightly should be enough to keep it clean. If it’s in a low traffic area, such as a dining room that’s not used as frequently, you can clean it less often. However, you should get into a routine of fortnightly cleaning to keep moths and dust at bay.

For deeper cleans if you’re sticking to the above recommendations, once a quarter or twice-yearly is enough for a more thorough cleaning. If you like to get your rug cleaned professionally every year, you could do a six month DIY deep clean to keep it looking and smelling fresh. Choose a dry and warm day to minimise drying times.

Bradley Bohan