Vacuum your area rug as you would wall-to-wall carpeting. If your rug has fringe, be careful to avoid getting the fringe tangled into your beater bar. Handmade area rugs can benefit from being turned over and vacuumed as well as vacuuming up dirt that has filtered through the rug.
Rotating your rug occasionally (approx. every 6 to 12 months) will help establish even wear patterns and prevent uneven fading. When rugs are exposed to the sun evenly, the colors harmonize and the rug ages nicely. If parts of the rug receive too much or too little of sun, one side might fade faster than the other.
Attend to Spills Quickly
If you are dealing with a water spill, start with extracting moisture from the rug. Wet vacs work great for this, but if you don’t have a wet vac then try this: place a thick stack of white paper towels on the area and then put a smooth bottomed casserole dish on top. Place a heavy object in the dish to wick the moisture to the surface. You can switch out stacks of paper towels until the area is merely damp. At this point, the rug can air dry or you can dry the spot with a hairdryer set on a warm temperature. Take caution to keep the hair dryer at a safe distance of at least 6 inches from the surface of the rug to prevent melting fibers. If possible, dry both sides of the rug.
Clean food and beverage spills immediately by removing the excess material gently with a spoon. Apply clean water then blot with paper towels. Blot and do not rub! Rubbing can cause the spot to spread. Repeat the steps as necessary then follow the drying procedures above. If the spot still remains, check with the manufacturer or check the label for O.T.C. cleaning product recommendations
Call the Professionals
Just like wall to wall carpet, dust, grime, and spills build up over time. If your rug is made with synthetic fibers such as olefin, polyester, and nylon, then professional truck mount steam cleaning will usually do the trick. Check with the manufacturer or read the label for rugs made with wool and silk for their professional cleaning recommendations.