Washing Area Rugs in a Washing Machine

Area rugs are a must-have not just for those with hard surface floors but for people who have carpet in their homes as well. Area rugs do so much to help protect our floors. They keep the amount of soil from our shoes off of the floors and protect high traffic areas in our home.  An added bonus; they add style and comfort to a room as well. 

Since rugs are strategically placed in areas next to exterior doors and the middle of high traffic areas, they see a lot of wear and tear and dirt. What most people do not realize is that unless your rug has a tag with specific instructions for alternate cleaning you can stick your rug into your washing machine. 

Follow these simple steps to safely wash your area rugs in your washing machine at home. 

  • The first time you wash a particular rug if it does not have instructions for the washing machine, you will want to wash it separately on its own to be safe. You do not want them to cause damage to other items.  
  • If you are washing three of the exact same rug you can wash them all in the same load. If you are washing rugs of significant size or several in one load you may want to head to the local laundromat and use a larger washing machine. 
  • The first thing you want to do before placing a rug that you have never washed before into the washing machine is to test it for colorfastness. You can do this by rubbing the rug with a clean damp white rag or wetting a clean cotton swab and rubbing it along the fibers of the rug. If the rug’s color comes off on the rag or swab the dye will bleed out of the rug in the washer. 
  • The next step and washing your rugs is to treat any stains just before you place the rug in the washing machine. You will have better success in removing stains if they are treated before putting them in the wash. If you know exactly what the stain is you can look up how to treat the particular stain. If you are unsure of what the stain is then you can use a stain pre-treater for laundry or apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly to the stain and gently work it in then let it sit for about 15 minutes before placing in the washing machine. 
  • Now that you have tested for colorfastness and treated the stains it is time to put the rug in the washing machine. With all rugs, you want to use cold water and liquid washing detergent. If you have a high-efficiency washer putting a rug into the machine is easy, just add the detergent and then the rug and you are ready to start the machine. Washing two rugs or adding towels to the load will help the high spin cycle run more smoothly. For standard top-load washers, you will want to make sure the load is balanced around the center agitator an unbalanced load will cause gyrations that will throw off the balance and could harm the machine. If the rug is not large enough to be centered around the machine add in some towels or rags to create balance. 
  • Rubber-Backed Rugs: many people think that if a rug has a rubber backing it cannot be washed in a machine. This is not true unless the care instructions on the tag specifically state the rug should be dry or spot cleaned. Some care should be taken with rubber backed rugs however, never use chlorine bleach and never place them in the dryer these things will ruin the rubber backing.  
  • All rugs should be air-dried and never placed into the dryer. Placing rugs in the dryer has the potential to shrink them. Always dry rugs on a drying rack. If you have a rug that is very wrinkled wait for it to dry then stick it in the dryer for a quick spin. You can also stick it in damp for the air-fluff only cycle with no heat.  

Rugs are essential helpers to keep the floors in our homes in their best shape, so they need routine vacuuming and periodic washing so they continue to do their job of retaining dirt and reducing foot traffic.  

Related: How to Clean your home if you have pets when selling

For more great carpet care tips please browse our website. For hard-surface floor and carpet cleaning in Mountlake Terrace and surrounding areas make an appointment with All Kleen. 

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