Braided area rugs are beautiful and functional pieces for both residences and church or community centers. Inevitably, high traffic and occasional mishaps will stain or dirty the rug. Being braided, the multiple strands tend to hold the stain rather than simply allow it to be blotted or absorbed by a towel. The braids also tend to hold in dirt, making cleaning a tough chore in even the simplest of places. Fortunately, there are a couple of tricks to get the tough dirt or stains out of those beautiful braided strands.
Step 1 - Soak the Stain
Pour baking soda onto the stain and use an old tooth brush to massage the baking soda deep between either the strands in the braids or the coils of the rug. Be sure to work with the braids rather than against them. By getting the baking soda into the stained areas it can help foam out any tough worked-in dirt when it foams with the vinegar. Baking soda is also a great deodorizer that normally helps with the smells that come from heavy traffic and trapped dirt.
Step 2 - Add Vinegar
Pour white distilled vinegar onto the baking soda for the foaming action to work out trapped stains. Once initial foaming has stopped, add a bit more vinegar and work it in with the toothbrush. Work in the same direction as the braids or you can harm the rug. Once the strands within the braids are broken or become frayed the rug will quickly fall apart. Apply one last dousing of vinegar and allow it to sit for 10 minutes. Use a damp towel to wipe the stain out of the rug after the time has passed. For old stains a second application of baking soda and vinegar might be necessary.
Ammonia can be used for very tough stains if the dyes are color fast. However, most people do not know what dyes were used, so vinegar is a safer bet to start. If ammonia needs to be used, test a small spot with a cotton swab on the back of the rug and rub the area with a white rag. If color shows on the rag, the colors will bleed.
Step 3 - A Complete Cleaning
Often, once the stain has been removed, the rest of the rug begins to look dingy. To clean the entire rug vacuum the rug with the hard wood floor attachment first. A dust buster can be used for smaller rugs and often yields better results in small areas. Brush attachments can badly damage the lacings and should not be used. Dry cleaning solvent can be found at most all craft and hardware stores and can be used on all braided rugs, regardless of color or material. Spray down the rug and sponge in the solvent, working with the braids. The deep down trapped dirt within the braids should be removed easily and allow the entire rug to become beautifully clean.