Area Rug Care & Cleaning


We can't stress it enough - vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! Area rugs receive a lot of abuse from dirt, sand, dust, oily cooking residue, various spills and foot traffic. Vacuuming an area rug with a good machine will go a long way towards prolonging the appearance and life of your carpet. Vacuuming is the primary defense against dry soils that can quickly build on area rugs.

Cut pile area rugs:

The contemporary area rugs from TEMA Contemporary Furniture are well constructed and durable. A vacuum with a rotating beater bar to agitate the area rug pile and strong suction to remove loose particles is well tolerated by our area rugs. If your vacuum does not have a beater bar, it may remove surface dirt well but may leave imbedded soil that can damage area rugs through abrasion.

Area rugs with looped textures:

To avoid damaging the loops, vacuum regularly with suction and avoid using the beater bar

Vacuum Tips:

  • Make sure that the beater bar is actually rotating when in contact with the carpet. A worn belt will reduce rotation when the bar contacts the carpet.
  • Adjust the height of the beater bar so that it lightly vibrates the carpet, but will not cause the motor to slow.
  • Check the vacuum bag regularly. A vacuum will become less efficient if the soil bag becomes too full (over half full for most machines).
  • Vacuum across both directions of the traffic pattern to prevent matting.

Area Rug Cleaning

Vacuuming removes most dry soil, but street grime, oily soils,and air pollution can build up eventually and your area rug may require cleaning. The accumulation of these particles can cause gradual dulling and some loss of color. Since the area rugs at TEMA Contemporary Furniture are manufactured with highly permanent synthetic dyes, the colors are not fading; they are merely camouflaged by soil and grime. If soil accumulation is not removed within a reasonable time it can result in matted or packed fibers, which attract and hold additional soil and other pollutants.

Cleaning Methods


There are many oxygen cleaners on the market that are environmentally safe and work well for spot cleaning various stains on synthetic fiber area rugs. Most of these cleaners are biodegradable and form oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and soda ash when mixed with water. Soda ash is sodium carbonate and has alkaline properties, so do not use this cleaning method on wool or silk and avoid prolonged skin contact. Carefully follow the usage and dilution guidelines for all oxygen cleaning products, rinse the cleansed area well, and be sure to test for colorfastness.

Dry Powder

TEMA Contemporary Furniture does not recommend using dry powders with plush or deep pile area rugs, as the cleaning residue may be difficult to remove. For surface stains on low pile area rugs, use a dry powder to absorb dirt particles and then remove by vacuum. This is a relatively simple method that uses no water and is easy to perform without a professional. If the area rug is heavily soiled, we recommend a different procedure or using a professional.

Dry Foam and Absorbent Pad

Another method that uses little water is light detergent foam that is worked into the pile, then vacuumed out once dry. Use care on looped area rugs that may not tolerate heavy beater bar use or other brushing.

Steam Cleaning

This method is most effective when performed by a professional, although many rug cleaning machines may be purchased or rented. The dangers of performing this method on your own are using too much detergent or water. Some cleaning agents available with rented units leave a heavier residue, so use care or the advice of a professional when choosing a product. Test the product on a small area to check for residue or a sticky feel. Do not use if a residue exists, or if in doubt about a product. Finally, do not use laundry detergents to clean your area rug to avoid possible optical brighteners.

Area Rug Stain Removal

Accidents happen. If an area rug becomes spotted or stained, work quickly. When possible, scoop up solids and blot liquids immediately after a spill occurs. Absorb as much liquid as possible with a white cloth or paper towel without scrubbing the area to prevent matting or fuzzing.

Methods of Cleaning Various Area Rug FibersThe type of fiber in your area rug should be the primary consideration in selecting a cleaning method. The majority of area rugs offered by TEMA Contemporary Furniture are manufactured with synthetic fibers such as polypropylene, nylon and acrylic and may be cleaned with most cleaning methods, but we have listed three accepted methods for cleaning synthetic fiber area rugs.

  1. Follow the area rug manufacturer's recommendations. When choosing any cleaning method, follow the directions for dilution and application.
  2. Never use laundry detergent, automatic dishwasher detergent, or any strong household cleaning products intended for use on woodwork, linoleum, laminate or tile.
  3. For dried or soil stains, thoroughly vacuum the area to be cleaned before applying a cleaning method. In some cases, you may want to use a preconditioning solution prior to cleaning to begin loosening soil.

Natural fibers may require additional consideration before cleaning. Do not use oxygen cleaners on wool or silk.

Wool - Excessive agitation and heat should be avoided, but generally wool fibers may be cleaned with most cleaning methods. Wool should be cleaned with neutral detergents and dried quickly. Use special care around household cleaning products, as bleaches and other alkaline products such as bathroom cleaners easily damage wool.

Cotton/Rayon - Cotton and rayon are cellulose fibers and may be cleaned using all cleaning methods. To avoid shrinking and possible browning, avoid excessive drying and agitation. As with wool, take care with alkaline products.

Silk - Silk should be cleaned using a dry cleaning process. These fibers may be damaged by natural and synthetic acids (e.g. lemon juice), and sunlight. Consult a rug cleaning specialist for additional information about cleaning silk.

Sisal and Other Plant Fibers - Plant fibers such as sisal, jute, coconut (coir), ramie, and hemp have characteristics similar to cotton. It is generally safe to clean these fibers with all cleaning methods. As with any fiber, dry the area rug as quickly as possible.

Area Rug Cleaning Chart

A. Cold Water
B. One teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid with a cup of warm water.
C. One tablespoon of clear household ammonia (3% solution) with 1/2 cup of water.
D. A dry-cleaning solvent from grocery or home improvement stores.
E. Chill with ice cubes in a plastic bag. Break residue into small pieces, scrape off and vacuum.
F. 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.
G. Warm Water
H. Clear nail polish remover without oil or nail conditioners (preferably acetone)
I. Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits. Avoid oil-based mineral spirits.
J. Rust Remover
K. Absorbent Powder (salt, talc or commercial dry, absorbent powders)

Start with the first cleaning method in the far left column. If the first method doesn't work, proceed to Step 2, etc. Be sure to reference the Methods of Cleaning Various Area Rug Fibers to avoid a product that may damage your area rug, and to improve your chances of stain removal. Solid Food, Other Organic Stains

Solid Food, Other Organic Stains

StepButterChewing GumChocolateEggKetchupMustardBloodUrine (fresh)Urine (old)Vomit
1 D E B B G B A A B B
2 B D C - B - B B C -
3 - - F - - - - - F -

Liquid Food Stains

StepAlcoholic BeveragesCoffeeColas and soft drinksCooking OilsFruit JuiceMilkTeaWine
1 A A G D A G A K
2 B B B B B D B A
3 - D - - - B D B

Household Cleaners, Waxy, Oily Substances

StepBleachCandle WaxFloor waxFurniture polishLipstickOil and GreaseShoe PolishSootTar
1 A E D D D D D D D
2 C D - B B B B B -
3 - - - C - - - C -

Inks, Paints, Rust Stains

StepInk (fountain pen)Ink (ball point)Felt tip penNail PolishLatex PaintOil PaintRust
1 A D G H B I D
2 B I B D C D B
3 - B H - D B A

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