Can I clean my rug myself?

There are many factors involved in proper and safe rug cleaning. The short answer is, yes. The longer answer is you shouldn’t unless you are talking about a bath mat or inexpensive little shoe wiping off at the back door type of rug that you can just put in the washing machine.

For any other type of rug, a professional cleaning is required. Cleaning rugs is a science and an art. It is not even close to carpet cleaning. Many, including carpet cleaners, make that mistake every day. Rug cleaning takes years of supervised study. Even more experience in which to become proficient, and even more to become expert. Being a master rug cleaner doesn’t mean being exempt from mistakes, it means that you know how to correct those mistakes, and those of others who have tried before you while cleaning a rug.

There are people that can identify rugs down to the village and family of a weaver. It is interesting…to a point. Then, someone that knows what to do with this information must…wash the rug.

As a practical matter, most people don’t own the equipment, or have the space, even if they had the knowledge to attempt to clean their own rugs to do so.

Compressed air that will blow up to 40 pounds of grit and sand out of a rug requires a very large air compressor, and what room do you want to drag your rug into to perform this task? Dust will be everywhere…for months. Then you need to identify what types of dyes were used to create the rug.

Remember, the slightest mistake in the pH of your cleaning agents can make the colors bleed and shift creating an awful mess that very few people in the world are capable of attempting to correct.

So, you are now going to soak your rug in the solution that you’ve created yourself. Where are you going to do this? Remember, it will need to soak for a day or more and wet rugs are much heavier than dry rugs to handle.

Now the washing part begins. You will get into your rug washing “pit” with a brush that won’t damage your rug’s fibers and start to brush every inch of your rug. You will notice some areas that need more attention than others. What are you going to use to safely clean those?

You now pull your rug out of the dirty water and rinse the rug until you see no more dirty water. Now you need to repeat the washing part again to try to get those areas that didn’t fully come clean. That means more rinsing and washing again. It’s not unusual for this to be repeated four times.

Now, it’s time to dry the rug. It must dry quickly or colors can bleed, fringes can turn brown and mold can grow. Where are you going to find a place with very low humidity and lots of air movement in your home? If you take it outside the UV rays from the sun can fade or even change the color of the rug. It’s still humid; it is Austin Texas, right?

Yes, you can try to clean your rug yourself. Just know what you are getting into before you start.