q How to Clean a Rag Rug - Homely Baron

How to Clean a Rag Rug?

It’s best to beat rag rugs and then hand wash them with gentle brushing and mild soap. Machine washing can be done but with the utmost caution. For stains, a white vinegar and water mixture is a brilliant and gentle solution. 

Rag rugs are growing in popularity and are a beautiful addition to any home. They come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. They all require proper cleaning, whether it’s vacuuming or full-scale washing.

To clean your rag rug properly, you have to understand what type of rug you have and what its cleaning needs are, such as a spill, dust, or just general cleaning.

That’s why here we’ll look into the different types of rag rugs, the different clean-up methods for different situations, and why cleaning them is so important. 

how to clean a rag rug

Why Rag Rug Materials Matter

Rag rugs come in different shapes and sizes. Traditionally, rag rugs were made from any discarded piece of fabric you can find, with many modern handmade versions being made from old t-shirts.

There are also plenty of commercial rag rugs which can be made from a vast range of different materials. A lot of these are made from recycled materials and will have several different fabrics within the same rug. 

In addition, rag rugs differ in their manufacturing too. The two main types of design are either woven or shaggy but the former is much more common.

Understanding your rag rug, how it’s made, and what it’s made of is important so that you can clean it the right way and not damage it.

It’s important to note that these rugs can technically be made from any fabric. While this is less important for hand washing, it’s vital to know if you’re putting your rag rug into a machine.

If you’re unsure about the fabric, it’s always best to play it safe. With that said, let us have a look at how you can clean a rag rug. 

How to Clean a Rag Rug

When it comes to cleaning rag rugs, there are a few different methods you can choose depending on exactly why you need to clean them.

Cleaning methods can change from simple cleaning, dusting, stain removal, or a complete wash. Then you have the option of hand washing, using a washing machine, using a pressure washer, or even professional washing companies. Let’s look at them all.

Quick cleaning

Take your rag rug to a place where you can pour water on it freely. It can be your bathroom if the rug fits or you can even take it outside.

Before you do, apply any moisture you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and dirt. For small rag rugs, you can hang them outside and use a carpet beater to remove most of the dust.

If you don’t have a carpet beater than many other things can be a suitable replacement but it’s best to use something durable and flat, such as a tennis racquet. 

After that, use warm water and soap. With a clean brush, simply go over the rug with soft strokes. For a simple clean, you don’t want to use too much water as otherwise, you’ll drastically increase its drying time. 

hand wash a rag rug

Removing stains 

Sometimes you have to deal with stains, whether it is wine, ketchup, milk, etc. A lot of simple stains can be removed with just warm water and soap. More stubborn stains will require a stain remover to help remove them.

One of the best stain removal solutions can be homemade. White vinegar can be effective on a vast range of stains and you can put it in a spray bottle with an equal part of water. 

The best time to remove a stain is right after it happens. Before you use your cleaning solution, dry it as much as possible without spreading it.

The technique for this is to blot down on it with an absorbent material, such as a cloth or paper towel. This prevents the spread of the spill and stops it from going further into the fibers. Once this is over then you can spray on your solution.

Again, you don’t want to scrub this in. Aim to be as gentle as possible as the stain should lift right out with the blotting technique. 

Using a washing machine 

With smaller rag rugs, you can put them in the washing machine. Before you do this, you can refer to the washing label for further instructions. For homemade rugs and ones you buy from craft shops, there may well be no label.

Generally, you would want to use a gentle option and colder water. This is your safest bet as the likes of wool or polyester are not suited to high temperatures.

Bear in mind that even though you might be able to put your rug inside, they grow in weight once they are soaked in water. You want to consider half of the weight of the rug will be added once it gets properly wet. If you have a small washing machine, this may overwhelm it.

It’s best to only machine wash your rug if there is plenty of space for it. 

You need to consider the drying too. You can put them into a tumble dryer but here you need to be even more careful than with the washing machine. It’s best to run them on a spin cycle in the washer and then let them dry naturally.

Ideally, dry them in an area that is warm and breezy but not in direct sunlight. That sunlight can fade the color of your beautiful rag rug. 

Deep cleaning

This is the same method as simple cleaning, with the difference that you want to do an in-depth wash this time. Follow the same steps starting with vacuum cleaning or beating and then put the rag rug in a place where you can freely pour water on it.

You want to get the rug all soaked in lukewarm water. Use warm water and soap and then brush it all over. Depending on the size of the rag rug, you’d want to use a small brush or a big one if necessary. 

After brushing you want to rinse with clean water and if you want, repeat the process. If not, you can simply hang it somewhere to dry. 

Pressure wash

There is no doubt that pressure washing a rag rug would be a quick and easy way to clean it. If you don’t have a pressure wash yourself, you could even take it to a manual car wash to do it. This can be ideal for larger rugs that are hard to handwash at home. 

Is this a good idea? Well, it depends. You can brush a soapy solution into the rug and then blast it out with the pressure wash. You’ll see the dirt lift off right away. 

While this is effective, the potential for damage is very high. If you have a large well-made rug that you want to quickly clean, it can be a good option for you. 

It’s also a good option if you have a very old rug that is incredibly dirty and has never been cleaned. If the options are throwing it out or pressure washing it, then you may get some great results with the pressure washer. 

If your rag rug has any sentimental value or is handmade, we’d always recommend hand washing it. It may take up more time but you know that you won’t be damaging it. 

Professional washing companies 

In case you don’t want to deal with any part of washing a rag rug, you can always call professional washing companies that offer such a service. They have experience and proper machines for such a job.

Why Wash A Rag Rug?

As with every part of the house, your rag rugs need regular cleaning too. They get covered in dust, spills, dirt, etc. Especially if you keep on shoes indoors or have pets.

If you have problems with flying insects during summer, you might want to give a regular check of your shaggy rag rugs. In addition, they can accumulate crumbs and leftovers which will attract more insects.

If you don’t wash your rag rug for quite a long time, they become smelly and look terrible. Their colors can also change, especially white cotton ones.

While a deep clean of your rug needs to happen only around once a year, it’s a good idea to beat it once a month. This will shake off those bigger particles which get hidden between the fibers and are hard for a vacuum cleaner to pick up.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to spills. These need to be cleaned straight away using the methods we mentioned above. 

dog sitting on top of a rag rug

FAQs On How to Clean a Rag Rug

Can you put your rag rug in the washing machine?

Yes, you can. However, you need to make sure the rag rug fits. Use the gentle option, cold water, and mild detergent. Some people prefer to hand wash them and not risk using the washing machine. If your rag rug has a label, refer to that. 

Is it ok to leave the rag rug in the sunlight? 

Maybe once but not generally. The sun will have a bleaching effect over time which will ruin the look of your rug. If you want your rug to look its best for years to come, keep it in the shade.

How to remove stains from a rag rug? 

Put a towel on top of the spill to minimize the spread and soak it up. If it’s a minor stain, blot using a mild soap. For more significant stains use white vinegar or a specific store-bought cleaner.

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