5 Tips To Protect Area Rugs Against Stains

a carpet being vacuumed

Use area rugs to define space, protect floors, accent a living arrangement and add to the overall ambiance of any room. Without proper stain protection, an area rug can detract from the overall beauty of the room by giving it a tarnished look and feel. Here are 5 ways to prevent your area rugs from collecting stains.

1. Apply A Protectant

The best prevention is to apply a protectant specifically developed for area rugs. These products literally bond with the fibers to seal them from potential spills and elements tracked in from outdoors. These products come in sprays that you can use yourself or have a professional apply.

Since rugs are manufactured in several different ways, spraying your own rug can be tricky. Be sure to consult with a rug specialist to help determine the best product for your specific area rug characteristics, whether it is handwoven or machine made, wool, sisal or other matieral.

A professional rug and carpet cleaner will correctly apply your protectant and offer provisionary coverage. If there is a change in color or texture after the application, you will have some sort of guarantee for remedy.

2. Take Off Shoes

This is becoming a standard practice in many households. Create an attractive and organized area, such as a mud room or shoe box to keep shoes of family and visitors contained. It will also go a long way in protecting your area rugs from the frequent indoor/outdoor transitions. If you are not a proponent of this strategy, be sure to place a quality foot mat at every outdoor entry.

3. Provide An Underlay

An underlay is similar to the standard cushion that is installed under a carpet. An underlay helps to prevent the flattening out of an area rug. When the pile (weave) of the rug begins to flatten out or clump, its ability to ward off spills and soils is minimized. A underlay also will keep your area rug in place, aid in noise reduction and thermal insulation, and provide general comfort when standing, walking or sitting.

There are several types of underlays, but all fall under 2 main categories:

  • Smooth Floor Underlay - Thinner
  • Broadloom Underlay - Thicker

Both come in a variety of materials ranging from rubber to urethanes.

Cushioning a rug also helps protect against the accumulation of the dust and debris that inevitably works its way under and up through a carpet without an underlay.

4. Rotate The Rug

Another way to prevent your rugs from flattening under is to rotate them on a regular basis. This will not only help minimize thinning, flattening and overall wear in the heaviest traffic zones, it will also minimize fading.

5. Vacuum and Clean on a Regular Basis

Vacuuming will help prevent the daily wear and tear of your rug, while regular dry cleaning will preserve its fresh, new look. If removing the rug to dry clean would be too cumbersome a project, you can always have a dry foam treatment from an on-site professional carpet cleaner. The dry foam method, though a bit more expensive, will prevent the risk of over wetting the rug, which can cause stains over time.