How to Vacuum Rug without Damaging It

Regular vacuuming is one of the best measures you can take to preserve your Oriental rug and prolong its life. However, it’s just as important to vacuum your rug correctly as it is to vacuum it at all. How often you vacuum your Oriental rug and the technique you use depend on four major facets: the makeup of the rug, the location of the rug, the level of soil, and the type of vacuum you have.

  1. The Rug’s Makeup

The materials that make up your rug and its method of construction affect how you should vacuum and how often.

Tufted Rugs: If your rug is tufted, avoid aggressive vacuuming and intense suction. The fibers and dyes used in tufted rugs are sometimes not of the same quality as those used in Oriental woven rugs and can be weaker, so intense suction can cause them to break. Instead, use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment and vacuum in the direction of the pile.

Woven Rugs (flat woven): If your rug is flat woven or has very thin pile, use the upholstery attachment rather than the vacuum itself. If you do not have an upholstery attachment, adjust your vacuum so that the rotary brush is as high as it can go, so that the bristles will not make contact with the rug. If your rug has thin pile, vacuum in the same direction as the pile. If your rug is flat woven, vacuum across the width of the rug.

Woven Rugs (pile): If your rug is woven but has a sturdy pile, first adjust your vacuum so that the bristles do not come into contact with the rug’s fibers, and then vacuum in the same direction as the pile. You want to utilize the suction of the vacuum, but avoid the damage that abrasive bristles can do. Fine Oriental rugs should be vacuumed weekly, and every 1-2 months be sure to vacuum the backside of your rug as well, in order to loosen dirt from the underside.

  1. The Rug’s Location

In general, we recommend vacuuming a minimum of once per week, but for rugs in areas of heavy foot traffic, vacuum several times per week. Rugs in lower traffic areas do not require as much upkeep, so the rug in your seldom used guest room may only need to be vacuumed once every few weeks, and after the room has been used by visitors. As a tip, don’t forget to dust any decorative wall hanging rugs. Though wall hangings do not get any foot traffic, their fibers still collect and store dust from the air. Remove your hanging from the wall and vacuum it once per year, and in the meantime, press a microfiber cloth to its surface, or use a very soft brush to gently brush off dust. Homeowners here in Northeast Florida, and elsewhere in the South will want to dust both sides of the rug, in order to deter bugs from making a home behind the hanging.

  1. The Level of Soil

If your rug has recently received a deep cleaning from a professional rug cleaning company, then you will only need to lightly vacuum your rug in order to maintain it till its next cleaning. If you just inherited a rug from a dusty attic or yard sale, however, you will want to schedule a professional dusting from a good area rug cleaning service. Similarly, if you have neglected your rug for a year or more, the first step is to get it professionally dusted. In these cases, light maintenance vacuuming will be useless, and will not do anything to protect your rug from damage, since dirt and dust are already present. After having your rug professionally dusted, then you can take over its maintenance with vacuuming.

  1. The Vacuum

The suction is what matters most in your vacuum. The ideal way to clean your rug is by vacuuming frequently, but with low suction and without the use of the brush or bristles. Overly strong suction will damage your rug, and bristles can dig into your rug and cause the fibers to tear and break. If you use an upright vacuum, be sure you can adjust the height of the rotary brush or turn off the rotation altogether. If your vacuum will not allow you to make these adjustments, then it’s best to only use the attachments.

Dangers of Neglecting To Vacuum Your Rug

The fibers of your Oriental rug collect and trap dust. Professional rug cleaners often extract several pounds of dry soils from rugs that are brought in for dusting. This grit and dirt is highly corrosive to your rug’s fibers and will cause your rug to deteriorate. The bottom line is that if you’re serious about your Oriental rug, you need to be serious about its routine vacuuming. Keep a schedule for vacuuming and dusting your rug, and stick with it. By keeping the dust out of your rug’s fibers, you can be sure you’ll get to enjoy your rug for decades to come!