The holidays have come again, and the last thing you need to worry about is protecting your beautiful oriental and area rugs when you entertain. You could always roll up and store your rugs for the holiday season, but that option is a hassle and defeats part of the reason we get rugs we like. Of course, rugs are usually bought to be used, not hidden. Not only do you lose the enjoyment of having your rugs in place, but your floors would look dreadfully bare. Plus, they do provide some protection for those hardwood floors underneath. Instead of keeping family and guests away from your rugs entirely, here are some steps you can take to limit damage.
Apply an area rug fiber protector – Rug fibers like wool and cotton are very absorbent and soak up liquids easily. Applying a protectant helps these fibers repel moisture and may prevent spills from staining. To properly apply a protectant, you’ll want to make sure your rugs are cleaned thoroughly. While it may seem like you should wait until after the guests leave before you clean your rugs, having them cleaned and protected properly will help reduce the chances that a holiday spill or accident will permanently damage your rug. There are some products you can purchase on your own, but it’s usually difficult to apply them to your rugs properly, so you’ll want to make sure to contact a professional, especially since they’ll need to be cleaned thoroughly before the protectant is applied.
Remove shoes – Make your home a socks-only zone and politely ask guests to remove their shoes to decrease the amount of dirt and debris brought in from outside. You could even gift your guests with a new pair of fuzzy socks at the door to keep their feet toasty! Not only will this help keep your rugs clean, but it’ll also minimize the chance that something permanent gets tracked in. If you have a nice entry rug, you could consider getting some plastic or paper sheeting meant specifically to protect your floors. Although it may not look great, it’ll help protect your rugs from those first few steps into your home where dirt and debris could be tracked in.
Clean spills immediately – If a spill happens, promptly pick up solids and blot as much liquid as you can with a clean cloth (never scrub!) While some rugs can handle gentle cleansers, dissolving the contents of the spill with warm water is the safest solution. Just spray, blot, and repeat until clean. If you’ve had a fiber protector applied, you may not even need the water, just use an absorbent towel to soak it up. If you do need to use a little more than water, mix a drop of dishwashing detergent into a bowl of warm water, blot the area with the solution, then blot the area with fresh water. Finally, blot the area again with a clean, dry towel.
If none of that works out, you can try a specific carpet spotter you purchase beforehand. Otherwise, just remember to call a professional rug cleaner after the festivities are over.
Get a professional cleaning – After all the entertaining is over, get your rugs professionally cleaned. This can help remove any lingering spills and excess dirt that may have accumulated through the season. Some people even clean before AND after entertaining, just to be sure everything they’re living on is clean. Experts in rug care can handle many common stains and leave your rug looking lovely again.
Protecting your rug and knowing what to do when the inevitable happens will make the winter season a little more stress-free. Happy Holidays from our family at Ayoub N&H!