We’ve made it through the Thanksgiving bend and are rapidly moving into Christmas and New Year’s territory, which means plenty more parties and family gatherings to host! Amidst all the excitement, it can be easy to overlook one thing your guests are sure to notice: your rugs. If you’re like most of us, you won’t catch the Thanksgiving gravy stain on your rug until the last minute, but don’t worry! We’re here to help you get holiday-host ready with emergency rug care 101.
Those Thanksgiving Leftovers That Stuck Around
For food or beverage stains that have been lingering since Thanksgiving (or even last year’s holiday feast), a strategic combination of baking soda, water and white vinegar can perform Christmas miracles. Before completing these steps, first test the process on a low-profile section of your rug to check for any adverse reactions.
Step 1: If there’s crusted on food on your rug, first gently remove it with warm water and just a drop of dish soap. Be careful not to scrub too hard or you may damage your rug fibers! Blot out all soap suds with cool water and allow the spot to dry completely before moving on to step 2.
Step 2: Sprinkle just enough baking soda on your rug to cover the stain.
Step 3: Mix two cups of warm water with a tablespoon of white vinegar and, using a spray bottle, spritz a little of the mixture onto the stain.
Step 4: Step back and watch it fizz! Let the baking soda mixture soak in your rug for 5-10 minutes.
Step 5: Gently scrub at the stain with a brush
Step 6: Use a cloth and a little warm water to blot the area and soak up the remaining baking soda and vinegar.
Your Beloved Nephew’s Latest Spill
You watched it all happen in slow motion: the cup tumbled from your nephew’s hand, red juice sloshing out and falling to your beautiful, cream wool rug under the inevitable influence of gravity. The number one factor of keeping that from turning into a stain is to act fast!
Step 1: For wet spills, grab a cloth and blot at the stain – don’t rub it! Scrubbing at this stage will just embed the invading food or beverage deeper into your area rug.
For dry spills, reach for the vacuum and for semi-solids like chocolate and mashed potatoes scoop it up with a spoon or butter knife.
Step 2: Blot the spill with cool water, then blot dry.
Step 3: Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap with tepid water and begin gently wiping at the stain from the edges inward using a sponge or soft brush. If you scrub from the inside out, the mark will only spread.
Step 4: Blot with cool water to remove all soap, then blot dry.
The After-Party Cleanup
Area rugs made from natural fibers like jute, sisal and seagrass will provide you many long, happy years of use if you take good care of them.
Step 1: It’s best to lightly vacuum your area rugs once a week, but after the intense foot traffic of a holiday party they’ll need some TLC. Set your beater bar to the highest level, don’t vacuum the fringe and don’t forget the underside!
Step 2: Take care of any stains or spills before they’ve had too much time to set in.
Step 3: Consider bringing in a professional. Depending on the amount of foot traffic your rugs get, they should be professionally cleaned about once a year. What better time than after the holidays when they’ve gotten a lot of use?