Area rugs can be expensive, not only to purchase but also to clean and maintain. Like most things that we own, if area rugs are not properly cared for, they will begin to wear down and fall apart. It takes some responsibility to own an area rug – especially handmade rugs which, aside from serving a purpose in your home, are also pieces of art. Every two to three years, it may cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to have your area rug cleaned and repaired. Though cleaning and maintenance are normal parts of most things in life, it may be difficult to understand why it applies to an area rug.

Professional Rug Cleaning
Many people, unless told by their parents or whoever sold them the rug, may not know professional rug cleaning facilities exist. Rug cleaning is an isolated skill and requires professional training and experience to be done well. Some area rug owners prefer to have their rugs cleaned at home with hot water extraction – like carpet cleaning. While at-home rug cleaning is about half the cost of in-plant cleaning, it is only recommended in rare cases.

When Can Area Rugs Be Cleaned at Home?

Using a carpet wand to clean an area rug at home

When an area rug is cleaned at home, most cleaning companies use an extraction method with a carpet cleaning wand. Carpet cleaning wands are designed to push hot water down into the fibers of carpet and pull it back up along with any soil using a high-suction vacuum. Carpet cleaning wands were not designed for cleaning area rugs. When an area rug is being made the fibers are packed down into the rug creating a very dense nap. Whereas, when carpet is being made, fibers are punched into the base leaving space in between.

If you have both wall-to-wall carpet and an area rug in your home, try putting your fingers down to the base of your area rug, and then try doing the same with your carpet. It will be quite difficult to reach the base of your area rug with your fingers, but easy to do with your carpet. Hot water extraction using a carpet wand, according to most cleaning professionals, is the best method for cleaning wall-to-wall carpet – but it was not designed to penetrate the dense fibers of an area rug.

In very rare cases, area rugs may be cleaned at home using a carpet cleaning wand. These cases include:

– The area rug is underneath immovable furniture.
– The area rug is embassy-sized (over 15 feet in length and width)
– The area rug is a border or custom-made rug, meaning it may be damaged if rolled-up and transported to the cleaning facility.
– The area rug is made out of carpet that has been cut and bound.

When an area rug is cleaned at home, most experts refer to it as a “topical cleaning.” While the area rug may seem to be clean, it is only the soils at the top of the rug that have been removed – the rug has not been cleaned all the way through, leaving dirt and other particles packed deep into the fibers.

The Benefits of In-Plant Area Rug Cleaning

Professional Rug Cleaning
While there are many ways to clean an area rug, most rug cleaning experts agree that in-plant handwashing achieves the best results. A rug cleaning facility not only has the best tools for cleaning area rugs but there are also rug experts on site overseeing the process and addressing any concerns. Because area rugs are made out of various materials, from synthetic to natural fibers like wool or silk, it is imperative that experts be involved in order to avoid any damage to your rugs.

The handwashing method involves scrubbing both the front and back of the area rug and using a high volume of water to flush out any soil that may be packed into the dense fibers. The ability to flush out the rug is the key to getting an area rug clean. This simply cannot be done at home with a carpet cleaning wand.

Additionally, because 79% of soil held within an area rug is dry soil, having it dusted in-plant using a tumble duster or other industrial machine makes a huge difference in the cleanliness of your rug. As stated above, most professional rug cleaning facilities have specialized tools to get your rug as clean as possible.

Rug Tumble Duster
Lastly, in-plant cleaning allows rug experts to have multiple days with your area rug. Not only does this allow them to have their hands on your rug and assess it for necessary treatments or repairs, but it also allows them the option to wash it multiple times and achieve the best results possible.

Do You Have Questions?

Ayoub Carpet Service located in Chantilly, VA, and Falls Church, VA has been in the rug cleaning business for over seventy years! Our experts are always ready and willing to answer any questions you may have about your area rugs! Please call us at 703-255-6000 or Text us a photo of your rug along with any questions or concerns.


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Phone: (703) 255-6000

3856 Dulles S Ct
Chantilly, VA 20151

Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sat, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.


Phone: (703) 533-9233

312-A S Washington St
Falls Church, VA 22046

Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sat, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.