Rugs arrive looking pristine and beautiful . . . and then life happens. Stains, yarn sprouts, and edge damage are the easiest ways to ruin an otherwise beautiful living room rug. But don’t worry! We’ve made a list of tips and tricks to help fix those little blips and keep your area rugs good as new.
Stains are the easiest way to ruin just about anything– clothes, chairs, and of course, rugs. If you treat a mess or spill quickly, however, you greatly reduce the risk of permanent discoloration. So the next time you find a fresh mess, follow these tips to save your gorgeous rug!
For most normal spots and stains, we love Shaw R2X and Simple Solution cleaning products. Both are great for almost any kind of stain and gentle on the rug fibers. Simple Solution is also known for not only eliminating stains but also any smells that might come from your stains (puppies are cute but sometimes they pee), it uses enzymes to breakdown the stains (and smells) making it safe for use in homes with pets and babies. Even though we swear by these two products, always, always, always, test a new cleaner on a small part of your rug before applying it to more visible sections.
Have a stain and no time to go buy a stain remover? No problem, some regular old clear dishwashing liquid can do the trick! Here’s how to clean up that rug stain easily:
When the stain seems gone, sprinkle a little warm (soap-free) water onto the spot to rinse it off, then apply another clean towel to dry it.
If the area is still damp, place a thick layer of folded towels on top of the stained area, add a layer of plastic (like a plastic bag), and then top off the pile with a few heavy books. Leave this overnight and the weight will help draw out any remaining moisture into the towels. In the morning, the area should be dry enough to remove everything and allow the air to complete the drying process.
You might be wondering, what are yarn sprouts? Well, they are when a random rug fiber stands up taller than all or the rest of the rug face pile, kind of like a cowlick in your hair. This is very common in handmade rugs, such as hand-knotted or hand-tufted rugs, and it is usually either a piece of twisted wool coming un-twisted or a little tuft that comes loose. They are really no big deal and can occur just from regular traffic on the rug or vacuuming. Luckily, they are totally normal, AND there is a super quick and easy way to fix these little guys: all you have to do is trim the fiber.
That’s it. Super easy, takes less than a minute to fix, and once you fix it, you won’t even be able to tell where the sprout was!
The sides of many rugs have serging, a kind of binding that holds area rugs together at the edges. It typically matches the rest of the rug and covers the edge of the backing, thereby making a nice clean edge. Over time, however, the edges of a rug can get damaged and break, and even appear to come undone.
This doesn’t affect the integrity of the rug, thankfully, but we understand that it might become an eyesore. A simple trick to fix this little problem is to use clear glue and simply glue any loose yarn over the edge and underneath the rug. Takes a few minutes, and you probably want to make sure it does not dry with the glue side touching the floor (hello glued down rug), but overall this is a pretty easy fix.
The more complex solution would be to find similar colored yarn and, with a sturdy sewing needle, go over the edge where the old yarn broke, was damaged, or is missing. This is a little more labor intensive and can be harder to do if you’re unfamiliar with sewing, but when done well you won’t even notice the old damaged edge. And of course, when in doubt contact a professional.
So you have a hole in your rug, now what? It might seem like the end of the world, but there are actually a few ways to repair or minimize the damage and some of them are surprisingly easy.
Repairing small tears
For small tears and holes, there are two options:
Taking your rug to a professional is always a safe choice especially if the rug is a family heirloom with a lot of sentimental value. A rug professional will most likely have a collection of yarn colors and be able to match the color and style of your rug. But of course, taking a rug to a professional can be pricey. A fun hack is to go out and find a marker that matches the color of the area where the hole has formed and simply color in the white backing. This gives the illusion that there is no hole, and honestly, even rug experts might not notice the difference.
Repairing large tears
Have a larger tear in your rug? Maybe your tear goes all the way through the backing? A quick fix is to try to glue the backing together or glue the broken yarns onto itself. This will stop the rug from unraveling (if it is a handmade rug this is a possibility). But your best bet is to take it to a professional or start looking into a replacement. If the backing is torn, that can affect the integrity of the rug, so if you are willing to spend the money to have it repaired, the only way to go is to find a reputable professional in your area.
Get rid of the moths
Moths can be a real pain in the you-know-what. But before we even get into repairing moth damage first you need to get rid of all the moths, which may require a professional pest control company. This is super important because, even if you repair your rug, if those little guys are still living somewhere in your home they will eat again.
Assess the damage
Once you get the moths out (good riddance) now you can assess the damage. For the most part, moths that eat rugs are only interested in wool, so once they hit the backing they are done. This is good. This means you can refer back to our answer for fixing holes and tears, and either take your rug to a professional for the pricier but thorough fix or you can use our much cheaper rug hack and simply fill in the backing with some colored marker.
Preventing moth damage
So once you have eliminated the moths from your home (or should we say, evicted them) and repaired your rug, it is best to begin getting into some cleaning habits that will (hopefully) prevent moths from returning.
Something else to note about moth damage is that lower quality wool rugs are less processed, cleaned less thoroughly, and do tend to attract more moths than higher quality wool. If you are concerned about moths or have a consistent moth issue in your area, you may consider investing in a high-quality wool area rug.
Repairing rug fringe that is woven into the rug
Rug fringe, you either love it or you hate it. Most rug experts, especially those who clean and repair rugs for a living, hate fringe. It looks great but maintaining it is a lot of work. For this type of fringe, you have to be gentle, because the fringe on a handmade rug is essentially the backbone or the foundation of the rug. If something damages that fringe, the whole rug can be in jeopardy. There is really only one option for repairing fringe damage: take it to a professional. A professional will be able to asses the damage and suggest a pricey hand-done fringe repair or the less costly cosmetic repair of adding machine made fringe. If the rug in question doesn’t seem worth putting that time, effort, and money into it, your other option is to look for a replacement.
Repairing rug fringe added for decoration
We should mention that there is a type of fringe that isn’t as hard to maintain: the decorative kind. The kind that is added on AFTER the rug is made, usually added to machine-made rugs to give them that handmade feel, but without the added pressure of it being a necessary part of the rug’s integrity. If this type of fringe is damaged, no worries, you can simply purchase some similar looking fringe and sew it on yourself or take it to a professional to have them match the fringe and sew it on.
A quick tip to keep your fringe looking great for longer! When vacuuming, try your best to keep the vacuum from sucking up the fringe. It seems silly, but over time this little bit of damage can add up and cause bigger problems. That also means to keep your pets from tugging and playing with the fringe, again, similar to the vacuum, the damage accumulates over time. Lastly, we don’t recommend bleaching (or using similar harsh chemicals) to clean your rug fringe. Harsh chemicals can breakdown the integrity of the fiber causing breakage, which can then cause larger fringe and rug issues.
That’s it for our tips and tricks to refresh your rug. If you want more ideas on keeping your rugs clean & beautiful, check out our Spring Cleaning 101 article, where we give you the rundown on keeping your rugs like new.