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Area rugs can warm up a space, and often are used to add color, pattern, or texture to a room. You can effortlessly change a room’s look and feel from one season to another by simply replacing the area rug. Follow these seamless tips for caring for and cleaning your area rug.

Note: We should mention that we always recommend getting your rug professionally cleaned. You never know just how long a spill or stain has been there without you noticing, or if the chemicals or cleaning techniques you will use will further set the stain and/or permanently damage your rug. (If you are looking for area rug cleaning in Orange County, CA please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help!)

For those small and less serious stains or issues, we have a few at-home rug care/cleaning tips for you!

It is important to know that area rug care is determined by size, construction, and material — all factors are equally important. Having said that, please keep in mind all factors of your area rug when reading the tips mentioned below.

Refined Carpet | Rugs | rug store orange county

Basic Area Rug Care Tips

Tip #1: Storing  

When storing an area rug — whether it be for the winter or while you are moving — we highly suggest having it professionally cleaned beforehand, and then properly wrapped. When taking your area rug to the professional wash facility to be cleaned, you can request that the rug cleaning company wrap your area rug for storage, and they will know the proper way to do so (this service may incur a small fee, depending upon the facility). Next, it is extremely important to store the wrapped area rug in a climate-controlled area to avoid possible damage. Somewhere inside, where water, heat or humidity will not be an issue (garage, well-maintained/protected shed, guest room, etc.)

Tip #2: Care Tags 

After purchasing a new area rug, you likely noticed that there is a tag attached to the rug that includes details of how to care for the specific area rug. It is important that you ALWAYS keep the care tag intact. While you may think you know everything there is to know about the rug, or that you will be able to memorize the care techniques, it is highly likely that over time you will be unable to recall specifics, when needed. Each and every area rug is different and therefore so are the ways it needs to be cared for. If it is absolutely necessary to remove the care tag from the rug, we highly suggest keeping filing the tag away somewhere in a file cabinet, for reference later on. Additionally, should you ever have any questions regarding your rug that cannot be answered via a tag, this is a great way to have all the information regarding your rug’s name/style/details and/or the proper contact information of the company who made it.

Tip #3: Large Rugs

Generally speaking you can care for larger sized machine-made rugs the same way you would care for wall-to-wall carpet — you can vacuum them to remove any dirt or dust. High-end rugs such as those that are hand-knotted, Oriental, Persian or even hand-loomed require special care that can only be completed by a knowledgeable, and experienced professional at an area rug cleaning facility. When it comes to any stains on large rugs of any kind, we highly suggest bringing your area rug to a professional to be properly cleaned, however if the stain or spill is very minor we recommend the following:

  1. Immediately locate the spot and determine what is the cause of the spill or accident (pet urine, wine, soda, grease, etc.) as best you can.
  2. Consult your rug’s care tags for instructions. If your rug specifies it is dry-clean only, hand-knotted, etc. immediately bring your area rug to a professional wash facility.
  3. If your area rug states that it is machine-made and doesn’t specify the need for dry-clean only, spot-clean only, etc, you may use a reputable over-the-counter spot remover. (Test this spotter first on a small, hidden location to make sure is doesn’t negatively react with the material or dyes within your rug.)
  4. Once you are certain the spotter is reliable, spray the spotter directly onto the affected area, and gently blot – don’t scrub – the stain with a clean, white terry towel until the spot is gone.
  5. Next, if possible, use a wet/dry vacuum to vacuum over the area. This can help with spot removal as well as aide in the drying of the rug. (If you do not have a wet/dry vacuum we recommend waiting until the rug is dry to vacuum it with a regular vacuum.)
  6. Place a fan over the rug, and aim it toward the treated area. This will help speed up the drying process, and get rid of any chemical odor or odor caused by the spill itself. If you did not use a wet/dry vacuum in the prior step, once the rug is dry you are able to vacuum the rug regularly once again.

Hint: This is when your area rug care tag really becomes important! Even if you are 100% sure you know what kind of rug you have, you should ALWAYS check the tag once more, to be 110% sure! Unfortunately, it is very common for people to be unaware of the construction of their rug, which is an incredibly important factor in knowing how to clean/care for it!

Tip #4: Small Rugs

Smaller rugs — such as those most often used in entrances, bathrooms, or hallways — are often difficult to vacuum due to their size and light weight. In order to most effectively care for these smaller rugs, we suggest you take them outside and shake them vigorously until any dust or dirt is no longer visible. (Some cities have ordinances against this practice so it important to check your cities laws/ordinances first.) If the rug is just a bit too heavy or dirty to shake, you can also hang your rug on (not over, as this could distort the shape of your rug) a clothesline, or over sturdy outdoor furniture, and then beat it with a broom to remove any dust and dirt.

When it comes to cleaning any spills or stains on a smaller rug, the tips are the same as those for larger rugs. In case you missed those suggestions, here they are once more:

  1. Immediately locate the spot and determine what is the cause of the spill or accident (pet urine, wine, soda, grease, etc.) as best you can.
  2. Consult your rug’s care tags for instructions. If your rug specifies it is dry-clean only, hand-knotted, etc. immediately bring your area rug to a professional wash facility.
  3. If your area rug states that it is machine-made and doesn’t specify the need for dry-clean only, spot-clean only, etc, you may use a reputable over-the-counter spot remover. (Test this spotter first on a small, hidden location to make sure is doesn’t negatively react with the material or dyes within your rug.)
  4. Once you are certain the spotter is reliable, spray the spotter directly onto the affected area, and gently blot – don’t scrub – the stain with a clean, white terry towel until the spot is gone.
  5. Next, if possible, use a wet/dry vacuum to vacuum over the area. This can help with spot removal as well as aide in the drying of the rug. (If you do not have a wet/dry vacuum we recommend waiting until the rug is dry to vacuum it with a regular vacuum.)
  6. Place a fan over the rug, and aim it toward the treated area. This will help speed up the drying process, and get rid of any chemical odor or odor caused by the spill itself. If you did not use a wet/dry vacuum in the prior step, once the rug is dry you are able to vacuum the rug regularly once again.

Hint: This is when your area rug care tag really becomes important! Even if you are 100% sure you know what kind of rug you have, you should ALWAYS check the tag once more, to be 110% sure! Unfortunately, it is very common for people to be unaware of the construction of their rug, which is an incredibly important factor in knowing how to clean/care for it!

At our Orange County Rug cleaning facility, we make sure our professionals pays close attention to each rug’s care tag, but especially to the care tags of small rugs. As we mentioned above, this helps us determine whether the rug should be dry-cleaned, spot-cleaned, hand-washed, etc. If your rug — even one that appears to be washable — is labeled dry-clean only, it may not be colorfast, meaning that without the proper cleaning techniques and chemicals, the colors within your rug may bleed. This is why — once again — we always recommend you bring your area rugs to a professional at a wash facility. A reputable rug cleaning company will be able to “diagnose” the stain and either recommend and over-the-counter cleaning agent and technique for you to use, or will insist that the stain must be tended to by a professional. Often, it isn’t until we stain our rugs that we realize just how dirty the rug really is so it is likely that even if the area rug’s stain is a minor one, the rest of your area rug may need a good cleaning. Regardless, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

Tip #7: Drying Wet Rugs

Our area rug cleaning experts here at Refined Carpet | Rugs  recommend that you hang wet area rugs on (never, over) a clothes-drying rack, a sturdy and clean backyard picnic/dining table, or over 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 that are made from synthetic fibers similar to carpeting can be laid to dry on a small worktable or counter that is protected by a drop cloth, old sheets, or towels.

Tip #8: Pet Accidents + Odors

When pet hair accumulates in an area rug, brush the rug forcefully with a stiff clothes brush or utility brush. Brush with the direction of the rug’s pile. When it comes to an area rug’s pile, think of the fur on a dog and how when you are brushing a dog, you brush with the direction of the dog’s fur, not against it — the same goes for area rugs! Continue brushing the rug until dirt and hair cease to come out.

When it comes to pet stains, there are several things to consider, but we suggest bringing your rug into a professional rug cleaning facility because specific chemicals have to be used in order to counteract the ones in the pet urine or feces. Over-the-counter cleaning agents are unsuccessful in removing the odor and stains. It is important to note that you should bring your area rug in for cleaning right away and be sure to disclose the type of stains. If your professional rug cleaner is unaware there is pet urine or feces on the rug, they will not know to use the specific cleaning agents needed to treat the pet accidents.

(For professional rug cleaning in Orange County on area rugs with pet urine, pet deposits, pet vomit  or any other kind of pet accident,, please feel free to contact us!)


There are a variety of different materials and methods, used to create area rugs. If you purchase a rug at an antique show, flea market, garage sale, etc., always look for a rug care tag. If there isn’t one, be sure to find out as much as you can about the material, rug construction, origin, age, and recommended care instructions for the particular rug. If the seller does not have appropriate information, try searching for a similar rug online or — if possible — bring your rug into a professional rug cleaning/repair facility, or area rug store. The professionals there should be more than helpful.

If you are in Orange County, California and are looking to have your area rug cleaned or repaired, we are more than happy to help! If you are looking for a reputable and affordable area rug store here in Orange County, please visit our Refined Carpet | Rugs showroom located at 10561 Ellis Ave. Fountain Valley, CA 92708.

If you have any questions, or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us! We are always happy to help!