How to Clean and Store Carpets and Rugs

Rugs are a great way to spruce up a home. They add pizazz and style, effortlessly. You can easily change the look and feel of a room by storing away one rug and bringing out another one! Area rugs that aren’t being used can take up a lot of space, so they are prime candidates for storage. If you’re not careful, however, your beautiful area rugs could become damaged, if not completely ruined, during long-term storage. We all know that area rugs are expensive, so make sure you take care of them! Here’s how to clean and store carpets and area rugs:

Before Storing, Clean Your Rugs!

Cleaning your rug is arguably the most important part of learning how to store carpets and area rugs. Dirt will only get worse over time as it attracts insects, vermin, and mold. Different types of rugs need different cleaning. Here is how to clean different types before you store your area rugs:

How to Store and Clean Area Rugs: Woven Rugs

If you have a small woven rug, you can clean it in your washing machine in warm water. We suggest using a small amount of detergent and a teaspoon of white vinegar. This is not only gentle but, in most cases, will remove any stains. Afterward, we recommend hanging the rug in the sun to dry (not putting it in the dryer). If you have a very large woven rug, you can bring it to a laundromat with an industrial-sized washer. If that’s not possible, we recommend seeking the services of a professional rug cleaning company.

How to Store and Clean Area Rugs: Fur, Sheepskin, and Hide Rugs

Cleaning a fur, sheepskin, or hide rug? You’ll need some talcum powder to start with. The easiest way to do it is to sprinkle the talcum powder on first. Then, leave it on your rug overnight. The next day, take the rug outside and give it a good shake. (You may need to ask someone for a little help.) Shake the rug until you don’t see any more talcum powder going into the air. Then put the rug back in place and enjoy its beauty. (By the way, you can vacuum it, but on a very low setting. You may want to use a ‘dustbuster’ vacuum instead.)

How to Store and Clean Area Rugs: Oriental or Antique Rugs

Oriental and antique rugs present a unique challenge when it’s time to clean them. Yes, they can be vacuumed, but it’s recommended that you place a nylon screen over them before you do. That way, the fragile (but beautiful) fabrics won’t get damaged. If you need to give your oriental or antique rugs a deep cleaning, never do it yourself. We highly recommend using a professional carpet cleaner. Also, have them cleaned at least once a year, especially if they’re in a high traffic area. That will keep them looking gorgeous for a lot longer!

How to Store and Clean Area Rugs: Synthetic Rugs (Polypropylene, Polyester)

The easiest way to clean a synthetic rug made from polypropylene or polyester is to vacuum it. That should be done regularly to keep it looking its best. If you need to clean it more thoroughly, though, you will probably need to take it outside. There are you can hose it down, and, after it’s wet, use rug soap or spray. Next, scrub it well with a medium-dense scrub brush. Afterward, use the hose again to rinse away the remaining soap and then leave it outside to dry completely.

How to Store and Clean Area Rugs: Jute and Bamboo Rugs

When you own a jute or a bamboo rug, you need a powerful vacuum cleaner, that’s for sure. That way, anything that gets stuck between the material will be sucked out when you vacuum. If they need to be more thoroughly cleaned, we recommend taking them to a carpet cleaning company. By the way, never steam clean or use wet shampoo on a jute or bamboo rug. (It can harm the material and possibly ruin your rug.)

How to Store Rugs After Cleaning

No matter what type of carpet or area rug you have, it should be completely dry before storing. This is the most important factor because, if not completely dry, mold and mildew can form. If your carpet or area rugs are stored long term, mold and mildew can ruin them. So be patient and let them dry completely before storage in a storage unit.

Step One: Protect Your Rugs From Moths

There are some different options here. Most professional cleaners will also safeguard a rug from moths (if you chose to use a professional cleaner), or you can use something like moth repellant crystals, which work well. The last thing you want is to wrap your rug up with moths in it and let them eat away at it in the storage unit (not to mention the impact moths could have on other items).

Step Two: Pay Attention to the Climate

Area rugs should be kept at a temperature of 55-70 degrees (F), so choose a storage unit that has climate control. A climate-controlled storage unit will also help you keep the humidity down and avoid having to deal with damp.

Step Three: Roll Your Rugs Up

Folding your rug will permanently crease it, so you should roll it. When you are rolling it, make sure you follow the grain and tie it together with twine to keep it in place. Consider using a cylinder to help you roll the rug and to help the rug maintain its shape during long-term storage.

Step Four: Wrap Your Rugs Up

Using brown craft paper, wrap the rolled rug to protect it from dust. The brown paper works best because it is porous enough to allow moisture to escape so that mold and mildew are less likely to form. Plastic, on the other hand, traps in moisture and would increase the chances of your rug becoming curled or moldy.

Step Five: Stand Your Rugs Up

Lastly, the best way to store your rug is standing on its end rather than lying flat on the floor. This helps the rug keep its shape and also concentrates the pressure of the weight of the rug on its strongest part. If you have a pallet, store your rug(s) on top to limit contact with the floor.

how to store carpets and area rugs

In Closing

We know how important it is that your things remain safe and protected in their storage units. Preparing your rug properly and storing it in a temperature controlled unit is the best way to ensure your rug remains in great condition and ready to roll out whenever you’d like to do so.

This post was originally published on 11/15/2018
It was updated on 11/30/2020

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