For many types of area rugs, a carpet cleaner (AKA shampooer) can provide deep cleaning in a satisfying way.
For many others, however, this can mean the death of your area rug. (Looking at you oriental and shag rugs)
Let me walk you through which area rugs you can use a shampooer on and which you can use a carpet cleaner solution on…
…and which are best for soapy water instead.
- Can You Use A Carpet Shampooer On An Area Rug?
- Is Carpet Cleaner Spray Safe on Area Rugs?
- Rugs Not Safe to Use Carpet Cleaner On
- Rugs You Can Use Carpet Cleaner On
- How To Use A Carpet Cleaner
- Tips For Using A Carpet Cleaner
Can You Use A Carpet Shampooer On An Area Rug?
Yes, you can use a carpet shampooer on an area rug, but make sure it is labeled as a deep carpet cleaner. Some area rugs are not suited for use with a carpet shampooer and can be damaged by the machine. It’s best to test a small, inconspicuous area of the rug first before proceeding.
Is Carpet Cleaner Spray Safe on Area Rugs?
Yes, carpet cleaner spray is safe on area rugs. Depending on the type of carpet cleaner spray, it may be designed for heavy-duty spot cleaning of carpeted surfaces and area rugs alike. Test the product in an inconspicuous spot before using it to make sure it won’t damage your rug.
Rugs Not Safe to Use Carpet Cleaners On
Some types of area rugs are not safe to use a carpet cleaner on. These include natural fiber rugs, such as jute and sisal, as well as wool and silk rugs. Though a carpet cleaner can provide a seriously deep clean, a machine carpet cleaner can cause the fibers of these area rugs to fray and break.
If you have a natural fiber or wool rug, it’s best to spot clean or lightly vacuum it instead of using a carpet cleaner.
- Natural Fiber Rugs. Area rugs made with natural fibers, such as jute and sisal rugs, should not be cleaned with a carpet cleaner. Jute and sisal are natural fibers, and the harsh chemicals in carpet cleaners can cause these fibers to fray and break. Instead, spot clean or use a vacuum cleaner.
- Wool Rugs. It is not recommended that you use a carpet shampooer on a wool rug. Wool is a natural fiber and the harsh chemicals in carpet cleaner can damage the rug’s fibers, leading to fraying and discoloration.
- Oriental Rugs. Oriental rugs, which are often made from silk or wool, should not be cleaned with a carpet cleaner. These types of area rugs are delicate and can easily be damaged if exposed to the chemicals in carpet cleaners. Instead, use a gentle cleaning solution or take your oriental rug to a professional rug cleaner.
- Shag Rugs. Shag rugs can be damaged by a carpet shampooer, due to the long length of the fibers. The shampooer can be too harsh and cause the fibers of the shag rug to become matted and discolored. It’s best to spot clean these types of rugs with a gentle cleanser or a vacuum cleaner.
Small rugs that cannot be cleaned by a carpet shampooer/cleaner can be hand washed instead. You can clean an area rug with warm water, white vinegar, and a cotton cloth. Dunk the cotton cloth in the warm water with white vinegar and then dab the stains on your area rug, allowing the water mixture to soak into the rug fibers. Continue to dab with fresh water until the stain lifts. Then towel dry and lay the area rug flat to dry either in a sunny spot or somewhere with good air circulation.
Rugs You Can Use Carpet Cleaners On
Carpet cleaners are like wet vacuum cleaning with a cleaning agent. While this is a great cleaning method for certain types of stains, like pet stains or red stains, this can be quite a harsh process for more delicate area rugs made with natural fibers.
This works well, however, for area rugs made with synthetic fibers or those specifically made to be machine washable:
- Synthetic Rugs. Synthetic rugs, such as polyester and nylon, can generally be cleaned with a carpet cleaner. If you’re not sure if your rug is made from synthetic fibers, look at the label, or test a small, inconspicuous area first. As with any rug, it’s best to spot test the cleaner first to make sure it won’t discolor or damage the rug.
- Machine Washable Rugs. Some area rugs are machine washable and can be cleaned with a carpet cleaner. If your rug is machine washable, follow the guidelines for washing your rug with a carpet cleaner.
These kinds of rugs are great for high traffic areas because they are durable and you can wash them frequently.
How To Use A Carpet Cleaner
Before using a carpet cleaner on an area rug, make sure the rug is labeled as a deep carpet cleaner and is suitable for cleaning a rug. Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.
Generally, this means putting the carpet cleaner solution into the machine, working in small sections and allowing the cleaner to penetrate the fibers of the rug or carpet.
Then, vacuum up the excess cleaner and dirt with the vacuum/shampooer, and repeat if necessary. Allow the rug to dry completely before walking on it or placing any furniture on it.
Tips For Using A Carpet Cleaner
Not all carpet cleaners are created equal (and neither are area rugs for that matter)
- Test a small, inconspicuous area of the rug before using a carpet cleaner.
- Use a gentle cleaner if you are unsure if the rug is suitable for a carpet cleaner.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the cleaner.
- Work in small sections and allow the cleaner to penetrate the fibers of the rug.
- Vacuum up the excess cleaner and dirt, and repeat if necessary.
- Allow the rug to dry completely.
- Be mindful of the floor beneath and take your area rug outside to clean if you have sensitive floors.
Can I Use A Carpet Cleaner Machine On An Area Rug?
Yes, you can use a carpet cleaner machine on an area rug provided that the rug is suitable for this type of cleaning. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines and be sure to test a small, inconspicuous area of the rug before proceeding.
Can You Use A Bissell Carpet Cleaner On An Area Rug?
Yes, you can use a Bissell carpet cleaner on an area rug, depending on the rug’s fibers. Be sure to check the rug’s manufacturer’s guidelines before using a Bissell carpet cleaner. Test a small, inconspicuous area of the rug first before proceeding.
Should You Use A Carpet Cleaner On A Rug?
Yes, if the rug is suitable for use with a carpet cleaner. Not all rugs are suitable for this type of deep cleaning, so it’s important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and test an inconspicuous spot first. Natural fiber rugs and wool rugs should never be cleaned with a carpet cleaner, as these materials are too delicate and can be easily damaged.
Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On A Rug On Hardwood?
I don’t generally recommend that you use any carpet cleaners on your area rug if the floor beneath is hardwood flooring. It’s better to clean an area rug outside on top of a plastic sheet, just to be extra careful when you use the carpet cleaner.
Can You Steam Clean An Area Rug?
Yes, you can steam clean an area rug, as long as the rug is made from a fiber that can withstand steam cleaning. Synthetic fiber rugs generally do better with steam cleaning than natural fiber rugs. It’s a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure the steam cleaning won’t damage the rug. That being said, steam cleaning will not remove dirt as effectively as a carpet shampooer, which uses hot water and a cleaning solution to clean area rugs. This combination of soap and how water generally results in cleaner carpets.
Carpet cleaners can provide deep cleaning for certain types of area rugs, but be sure to double check that it is suitable for your rug before proceeding. It’s best to test a small, inconspicuous area of the rug before using a carpet cleaner to make sure it won’t discolor or damage the rug.
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