How Do I Keep My New Rug Sparkly Clean?
February 27, 2017 4:10 PM   Subscribe

I've had a rug in my living room for about a year and, despite never spilling any of the usual suspects on it (red wine, chocolate, etc.) the white sections look dirty and dull, even after I scrub them. I'm getting a new rug this week -- how can I make sure that it looks nice a year from now?

Here's my specifics --
-- no pets, but friends bring dogs over occasionally
-- no shoes in the house
-- hardwood floors elsewhere in my house

My new rug says it's "stain-resistant" and "anti-microbial" and doesn't have the bright-white sections that my old rug did, but it's still pretty light colored.

Beyond regular vacuuming, and scrubbing the hardwood floors in the rest of my house more regularly, what can I do to keep my rug looking bright and beautiful for a long time, without putting plastic over the top? Is hiring a professional carpet cleaner something people do for just a single area rug? If so, how often and how much will this cost me in the SF Bay area?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This won't necessarily keep it cleaner, per se, but if you rotate it regularly, the dull sections will at least be consistent, which means they will be less noticeable.

Also, Scotchguard!!!
posted by raspberrE at 4:21 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Vectra spray can be applied over other stain-resistance treatments.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 4:23 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

In addition to the no shoes rule, do a good dust mop most days and rent a steam cleaner twice a year or two. Make sure you get all the residue out of the rug after shampooing.
posted by stormygrey at 4:23 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I spring for carpet cleaning every couple of years in my apartment. It won't make things completely pristine again, but it does help a lot with freshening things up. I'm not sure how/if carpet cleaners deal with area rugs but it can't hurt to ask -- those steamer machines do a pretty decent job in my experience.
posted by Alterscape at 4:24 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

To those who recommend ScotchGuard, is this something I would spray regularly on my rug? Or just one time?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 4:28 PM on February 27, 2017

Scotchgard gets reapplied; there were some concerns about pfcs with that company's products which I why I linked to Vectra above.
posted by furtive_jackanapes at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm not the biggest fan of Scotchgard and other treatments that leave an item in my home perfused with industrial surfactants and other chemistries. I'm not an alarmist--rather, I'm a toxicologist who's picky about this sort of thing. I prefer having our nice knotted cotton rug dry cleaned twice a year. Dry cleaning has its own questionable chemistry, but that chemistry is largely removed from the rug before it comes back home with me.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:31 PM on February 27, 2017 [8 favorites]

You don't say how big this rug is, but there are rug cleaners who take drop-offs or do pick-ups. A quick Google search showed a number of companies in San Francisco who do this. This website shows price per square foot for area rugs.
posted by FencingGal at 5:44 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

Get a carpet rake. It'll help fluff up the nap of the carpet and pull up deep down filth.
posted by phunniemee at 6:09 PM on February 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

I have two big dogs and although I usually remove my shoes, my husband doesn't, and we live in a very dusty climate. We went through a bunch of rugs (foster dogs who weren't house trained, and general dinginess) and my approach for the latest replacement in the living room was: no white sections. The last rug was a pattern of teal and white - the teal still looked okay but the white sections looked terrible.

I really wanted another patterned rug but couldn't find a great candidate and eventually ended up with this wool, hand-tufted rug with slight color variations. I'm very happy with it so far and you can't even tell where one of the dogs threw up on it the day after I bought it!
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:41 PM on February 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

You might want to consider a home carpet/upholstery cleaner for spot-cleaning.
posted by radioamy at 8:24 AM on February 28, 2017

Leaving even a tiny bit of cleaner residue will make the carpet get much dirtier faster. If you're scrubbing the white areas with some kind of cleaner, you're possibly getting into a cycle where your cleaning leads to faster soiling.
posted by quince at 9:05 AM on February 28, 2017

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