Where did the idea of giving a home a top to bottom cleaning come spring originate? Some trace the origin back to the Persian New Year, which happened to fall on the first day of spring. Iranians would clean the entire house to mark the beginning of a new year. Others point to the Jewish tradition of cleaning the home to get ready for the Passover holiday while some historians credit Catholics who typically gave the home a major cleaning during the first week of Lent. A more practical origin is the fact that many homes were heated by fireplaces or coal and the house needed a thorough overhaul after winter to get rid of excess soot.
Regardless of the origin, the start of spring is the best time to take care of cleaning essentials that are often overlooked. Chores such as washing windows, changing curtains and vacuuming underneath furniture are often tackled. When taking on some of the more challenging cleaning tasks during spring cleaning, don’t forget to include rugs. Yearly maintenance can help prolong the life of area rugs and also keeps the home looking fabulous.
A weekly vacuum is recommended to prevent the buildup of dirt in rug fibers. Homes with pets and children may want to consider bi-weekly vacuuming instead. When spring rolls around be sure to give all of the rugs a thorough vacuuming unlike the quick ones done the rest of the year.
Reversible rugs should be vacuumed on both sides. Avoid vacuuming the backing of hand-tuft rugs since this could cause damage. More delicate rugs such as shag should be vacuumed with the attachment and not the beater bar.
Address Old Stains
Stains should always be handled as soon as possible, but life is busy. Sometimes a stain may be left too long. Use the annual spring cleaning to check for any stains. If found, gently blot at the stain with a solution of mild dish detergent and warm water. Remember, before addressing any stain to check the manufacturer’s directions.
If the stain comes with an odor, add a few drops of white vinegar to the solution. Blot at the stain from the outside toward the middle and avoid rubbing. Rubbing drives a stain in deeper. If an old stain remains stubborn, consider discreetly covering it with a piece of furniture or layering another rug on top. Layering rugs is chic and a simple way to cover an unsightly stain.
When that first hint of spring hits the air, the urge is strong to open up the windows and air out the house. Sometimes area rugs need a hint of fresh air too. Taking rugs outside to air out is a great way to freshen them up. Just take care not to place in direct sunlight.
Another simple way to improve the smell of rugs is to mix a cup of baking soda with 10-20 drops of an essential oil like lavender. Sprinkle a light coating of the mixture on any rugs and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, vacuum it up. This is a simple way to make area rugs smell sweet.
Rug Pad Checkup
For the most part, rug pads are extremely low maintenance. Unlike an accent rug, rug pads do not require a weekly vacuuming. Spring cleaning is an excellent time to give rug pads a bit of TLC.
Take a few moments to shake a rug pad outside to get rid of any dust, dirt or pet hair that has accumulated. Then, thoroughly vacuum both sides of the rug pad. Don’t forget to run a dust mop or the vacuum cleaner over the floor before returning the rug pad and accent rug to its spot.
Spring Wash Up
Not all rugs can be thrown into the washing machine, but a few, like cotton rugs, can. Spring is the ideal time to toss cotton rugs into the wash. Just remember to air dry because the fiber can shrink in the dryer. Polypropylene rugs can be easily washed on a warm spring day using a garden hose and a mild dish detergent. Allow it to air dry as well, but don’t place a polypropylene rug in direct sunlight or run through the dryer. Either will cause damage.
Always take the time to check the manufacturer’s directions before washing any rug. Most outdoor spaces like patios, decks and porches get a sprucing up in early spring. Use this time to freshen up outdoor rugs that are coming out of storage before placing them down for the spring and summer season.