Tips for Vacuuming an Area Rug

Area rugs are a stunning addition to any home. If you have a huge space, it will make the room feel less empty. If you have tile floors, it brings warmth and softness underfoot. If you have hardwood floors, area rugs act as a barrier, protecting it from dents and scratches. Alternatively, it can provide cohesion, unifying your home’s style.

Whatever purpose area rugs may serve you, it’s essential to clean and vacuum them regularly to keep them clean and ensure that they’ll last longer. Just be mindful that different types of rugs entail varying levels of care to protect them from damage.

Don’t worry! With the right tools and approach, you’ll have a cleaner and brightened floor covering to walk on and sit on. Here are the best tips on how to vacuum your area rugs. 

Tips on Vacuuming Different Rug Types


Woven Rugs

If you own a woven rug, vacuuming procedures, tools, and frequency may vary, depending on the rag pile or the density of its fibers.

Use a handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment for woven rugs with a thinner pile or no pile at all. Begin by checking in which direction the pile goes. Note that you need to vacuum in that direction only. Don’t fret, as it’s pretty easy to determine whether you’re going with or against the grain. You can quickly tell with a few pats, allowing you to adjust quickly, if necessary. 


Start vacuuming from the top in a short downward motion moving from one side to the other. Repeat this until you finish the whole rug. Vacuum your rug regularly, weekly, or at least bi-weekly.

Aside from the regular vacuuming of the front side, you must vacuum the backside at least monthly to ensure your rug’s longevity and avoid bugs from treating it as their comfy dwelling place. As there is no pile underneath, you can vacuum freely in any direction. Afterward, you may disrupt the bugs further by shaking the rug or exposing it to direct sunlight.

If your woven rug is sturdier, has a thicker foundation, and heavier pile, you need to devote extra effort by vacuuming more frequently than you would for a rug with a thinner pile. Make sure to turn your vacuum’s beater bar off. The aggressive motorized brush can be harsh on the fibers, causing damage to your rugs. Vacuum in a sideway motion across your rug’s width or follow the pile’s direction if you’re using the upholstery attachment. Like in a thin pile rug, flip it and vacuum the underside monthly to remove all the dirt and dust from your precious floor covering.

Tufted Rugs


While tufted rugs may look durable, they are lower-quality rugs that are often mass-produced. Instead of hand knots that secure the rug tightly, only a mesh foundation loops the rug together. Afterward, latex glue is applied to the rug’s backside to keep these loops in place. It is then covered with another material to conceal the tufts and give the rug a nicer, polished look.

With the way they’re produced, tufted rugs are less durable and less valuable. They also attract more soil and are more prone to damage and shedding. Thus, needing more-frequent vacuuming than their woven counterparts. However, a common mistake by many rug owners is vacuuming their tufted rugs aggressively to clean the shedding, not knowing that their action actually causes the tufts to break off.

To avoid such a scenario, be sure to vacuum your rug gently, running in the direction of the pile. Avoid beating the rug as it can damage the latex backing. As upright vacuums will also harm by pulling off the mesh foundation with their suction power. Use the handheld or upholstery attachment instead for safe vacuuming.

Shag Rugs


Shag rugs are well-loved by many due to their unorthodox look, adventurous colors, and utmost comfort. If you own one, you might feel the same way, not until you reach cleaning time and get bewildered on how to clean them.

Shag rugs have long fibers that quickly harbor dirt, dust, and bugs, which is why you must vacuum once or twice a week, depending on the traffic in your home. Start by taking the shag rug outside and shaking it down face down. That way, you can already loosen the particulates in the rug while eliminating some in the process.

Afterward, you can now vacuum the shag rug by hand. Like with other rag types, an upright vacuum with a beater brush can be too powerful and harsh. Vacuum by hand using upholstery or rake attachment or a suction-only model to protect the yarns on the rug. Otherwise, the fibers will lose their natural twist and start piling or shedding.

To further get rid of deep-down dirt, lay the shag rug on its backside and vacuum with the pile slowly and gently. Not only will it clean your shag rug thoroughly, but it can also help rework the tendrils from the back end, making your shag rug soft and fluffy gain.

General Vacuuming Tips


Here are a few general tips to help you vacuum your area rug:

  • Always shake your area rugs first before vacuuming to get a better and deeper clean.
  • Vacuum your area rugs regularly. If you have higher foot traffic in your home, active kids, and pets, vacuum more frequently to keep your area rugs clean.
  • If your pets shed a lot of hair, use a broom or a small, soft brush first before vacuuming. With this, you can remove the pet hair and prevent yourself from stroking with extra effort and a heavy hand. However, if dander builds up quickly, don’t hesitate to brush your rug more frequently than you would vacuum.
  • Vacuuming once may not suffice in taking all the dirt and debris from your rug. Try to go over the same area at least two to three to get the best results.
  • Vacuum both sides. Any particulate left may cause your rug’s fibers and backing to break down prematurely.
  • Go with the pile’s direction. If you feel like the vacuum is pulling out the fiber from the rugs, stop immediately as you might be using the wrong unit or attachment.
  • While vacuums are a powerful tool, they may not be enough to tackle stubborn stains. You may need to put them on a washing machine or steam cleaning. However, be sure to check the rag’s manufacturer tag for cautions and instructions first to avoid causing damage to your rug.
  • For old, very delicate rug or sheepskin rugs, it’s best not to vacuum them at all. That’s because they may not survive vacuuming even with the best upholstery attachment. You can use soft brushes instead and run them gently across the rug’s width. Dust more often to avoid particulates from penetrating deep inside the rug, which can cause extra problems. 

Rolling Up

Area rugs provide many benefits, rather than being a mere floor covering over a hardwood, tile, or laminate surface. It can add warmth and comfort, reduce noise, or define a room’s design. Yet, you can only fully enjoy all that if you know how to vacuum your rug properly. Remember, a clean and fresh area rug will always serve better and endure longer than a sully rug.