Rug cleaning is as much a hassle as it is important. But during the COVID-19 outbreak, the need to clean and disinfect your rug and other household items has become indispensable. According to the directions given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), disinfection is the best method for the prevention of coronavirus and other illnesses. The CDC recommends routine disinfection and sanitization of home décor and furniture items such as carpets, rugs, draperies, recliners, and furniture upholstery. However, if your rug has already had exposure to the COVID-19 virus, you may be contemplating a different approach. Should you disinfect your rug or just get rid of it and buy a new rug? While there are plenty of rugs for sale that you can buy to replace your old carpet, you cannot simply throw out antique carpets and expensive Oriental rugs. So, what do you do? We have an idea: you disinfect your rug.
This course of action ultimately brings us to our next question, which also happens to be the topic of this article: how to disinfect a rug? Whether you place your rugs outdoors or in the sanctuary of your bedroom, rugs are one of those household items that see as much traffic as a road during rush hour. Over time, they collect lots of grit, allergens, and bacteria – from our shoes, bodily fluids, coughs, and sneezes – and contaminate the surroundings. Rugs teeming with bacteria put you and your family at a higher risk of getting infected by the virus. And this is why, during these times, you must know how to disinfect a rug and do it regularly. So, let us take you through the process of disinfecting your rug.
3 Home Friendly Ways to Disinfect Your Rugs at Home!
You can always buy sanitizing products to disinfect your rug. But if you prefer home-friendly methods of cleaning, you are in luck! So, gather all your carpets and let us get to work!
1. Vinegar with Steam Method
To disinfect your rug, you need a simple disinfecting mixture. Some rug detergents and sanitizing kits may not be budget-friendly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the prices of sanitizing products are sky-high. As a result, you make your disinfecting mixture at home! Follow these simple steps:
Take two cups of distilled white vinegar and pour it in a spray bottle. Fill the bottle with an equal amount of water. Using a spray bottle will keep your hands clean, and you will be able to cover large portions of the carpet without creating a mess.
Next, spray the mixture on the carpet. Do not spritz too much of it, just enough to cover all the carpet fibers. Now, let the mixture air dry.
Now, it is time to pull out that steam cleaner. Fill the fluid compartment with three parts of water and one part of distilled white vinegar.
Power the steam cleaner and wait for five minutes until the steamer heats up. Now push the steamer across your rug. Push the trigger every thirty seconds to shoot a gust of steam. As soon as you cover the entire carpet, you will be able to see how well steam and vinegar work together to sanitize and disinfect your rug.
Once you finish steam cleaning the carpet, let it air dry. It is best to do this outdoor in dry weather so you can get quick and effective results.
2. Vinegar without Steam Method
This alternative method involves cleaning your carpet with a vinegar mixture but without the steam cleaner. This method is for those who do not have a steam cleaner at their homes. We will show you how to create a few vinegar mixtures that will help you disinfect your rug without having to use a steam cleaner. Once you finish, you will not only have a disinfected, bacteria-free carpet, but you will also have saved money that you would have otherwise spent on a steam cleaner. The disinfecting mixture should have an equal amount of cold water, white vinegar, and a little bit of regular liquid dish detergent. To carry out this method, all you will need is a bucket, a scrubbing brush, and a rag. Now, follow these steps:
Clear your carpet of all furniture items, and then vacuum clean it. The vacuum cleaning will remove all the visible grit and debris from the carpet fibers.
In this step, you sprinkle baking soda all over the carpet and let it stay there for about five minutes.
Meanwhile, you prepare your disinfecting mixture from the ingredients mentioned above. Once you have a mix of all the ingredients, stir until you have a bubbly and foamy consistency. Make sure that the disinfecting mixture has equal parts of cold water, distilled white vinegar, and dishwashing liquid.
Dip your scrubbing brush in the foamy mixture and scrub the carpet. Do not over-saturate the rug with the disinfecting mixture. You want to get enough mixture on the carpet to clean it. But if you go beyond the optimum level, the rug will become soggy, and it will be difficult to wash off all the soap and vinegar. So, start with one corner of the carpet and continue towards the other corner. When you feel that the scrubbing brush is drying up or does not have enough mixture, give it a dip in the bucket.
Once you are done, wait for five minutes. Next, take a clean rag and dip it in cold and freshwater. Yes, you guessed it; it is time to rinse the carpet! Wipe the rag on the carpet the same way you scrubbed it. If you feel a cloth is no longer effective, a switch is out with a new one for effective cleaning.
Let your carpet sit and air dry. As we mentioned before, it is best to do the cleaning on a dry day with low levels of humidity. Once the carpet is dry, vacuum cleans it to get rid of any remaining soapy mixture that may still be stuck in rug fibers. And that is how you disinfect your rug without a steamer!
3. Homemade Cleaning Detergent
This technique also involves using a vacuum cleaner with a homemade disinfecting mixture. This mixture contains only two ingredients: baking soda and dish soap. To use this method, you first need to gather a few tools. You will need an old toothbrush, a scrubbing brush, a clean rag, and a bucket.
First off, use the vacuum to get rid of the visible dirt particles and grime.
Next, you will need a bucket full of fresh, warm water. Sprinkle the rug with baking soda until it covers every spot on the carpet. For dish soap, use one tablespoon for every 6 inches you cover.
The next step is to mix baking soda and dish soap in warm water. You can stop mixing as soon as you see bubbles in the foamy mixture.
This is the step where you get the rest of your tools out. Use the scrubbing brush and the toothbrush (for spot cleaning) to scrub away the grit and the stains from your carpet. Use warm water to scrub away the stains and make sure you do it with gentle hands. Do not scrub away harshly; it will damage the rug. Use the clean rag to get rid of the soapy water and give the rug a finishing wipe.
This is the last step of this method, one where you let the rug dry. You can use a fan to get the rug to dry or leave out in the open air to dry. Once the carpet is dry, you should vacuum it once again to sanitize it and make sure it is finally free of the bacteria.
How Often Should I Disinfect a Rug?
The best way to keep your area rugs clean and free of bacteria is to vacuum clean it regularly. If you remove the loose soil and dirt before it settles into the fibers of the rug, you will be able to stop the spread of the bacteria in time. In addition to that, you must deep clean and disinfect your rug at least twice a year. During the pandemic, if anyone at your home has been ill with the COVID-19 virus and has a compromised immune system, you must immediately disinfect the rug to avoid the spread of the virus.
Practical Tips to Keep Your Rug Clean for Longer
Before we conclude this rug cleaning guide, let us give you a few handy tips to keep your rug clean for longer.
- Place washable mats in the entryways, so when you enter your home, you leave the excess grit and bacteria at the entryway,
- Remove your shoes before you walk on to the carpet inside your home.
- Make sure you vacuum clean your rug multiple times in a week to get rid of the allergens and bacteria.
- Bath your pet frequently and keep them outdoors as much as you can.
Should I Disinfect and Re-use My Rug After COVID-19 Exposure or Discard It?
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, governments and health institutions have set up new measures to rein in the spread of the virus. And we bet you have plenty of questions about how these measures apply to your rugs and carpets. Should you disinfect your rug or discard it after COVID-19 exposure? Can your pets aggravate the spreading of the virus? To answer these questions and more, we have prepared a COVID-19 rug guide to help you learn the dos and don’ts of rug hygiene during the pandemic. Taking steps to ensure hygiene is the best way to stay safe and protect yourself and your family from the viral clutches of the coronavirus. And this includes taking care of the cleanliness of your rugs and carpets. Right now, the situation with the virus is far from ideal. We all are confined to our homes, waiting for the pandemic to end. But all this free time may be a good opportunity to get some cleaning done. During these times, it is not only important that you keep your home clean to avoid risking the spread of the virus, but it will also give you something productive to do! And who does not like a clean and corona-free home? However, if your home has already had exposure to the COVID-19 virus, then your focus switches from just cleaning it to disinfecting your home and everything in it. That means you may have to disinfect your rugs, draperies, wall hangings, sofas, recliners, bed, dresser, and every other piece of furniture. Rugs get plenty of traffic daily, which makes them the ultimate touchpoint to keep as clean as possible. So, how to disinfect a rug and curb the spread of coronavirus? Before we jump into that, let us learn about the behavior of coronavirus on rugs and upholstery.
How Long Does Coronavirus Stay on Rugs and Furniture?
Primarily transmitted via close person to person contact, the coronavirus can also spread by droplets released by a patient on surfaces such as rugs and sofas. So, how long can coronavirus droplets last on surfaces? Here is what we know:
- Plastic – 3 to 7 days
- Stainless Steel – 3 to 7 days
- Copper – Up to 4 hours
- Paper – Up to 4 days
- Glass – Up to 4 days
- Cardboard – Up to 24 hours
- Wood – Up to 2 days
- Fabric – 2 hours to a few days
The spread of the virus also depends on environmental factors such as humidity, temperature, and the porosity of the surface carrying the virus droplets. Dry and cold environments will extend the lifespan of the virus in contrast to a hot and wet environment. So, living in a colder region, you may need to disinfect your rug more frequently than those who live in hotter regions. Research proves that the coronavirus can last twice as long on non-porous surfaces than it does on porous surfaces. This means that your clothing and rugs are less hospitable to COVID-19. It is good news for those who have fully carpeted homes or have lots of rugs. If you do not cover your floors with rugs, maybe it is time you buy a new rug for the entryways and high traffic areas of your home. It will help you curb the spread of the virus. But to do this, you must know how to disinfect a rug properly. If you do not maintain proper cleanliness of rugs, they may become carriers of the virus instead of helping you inhibit their growth.
Tips to Keep Your Home Clean during COVID-19
During the trying times of an outbreak, the best way to stay safe is to practice hygiene, protect yourself and your kids from exposure to gatherings, maintain social distance, give your pet frequent baths, and regularly disinfect your rugs and upholstery. So, below are a few tips that will keep the surfaces in your home clean and disinfected.
- You should wear disposable gloves while you clean and disinfect surfaces in your home. Immediately discard your gloves after the cleaning process ends.
- Use EPA-approved cleaning products that claim to be effective against emerging viral pathogens. They will give you protection against the COVID-19.
- You must wash your hands as much as possible for at least 20 seconds. Scrub the soapy lather between your fingers, under your nails, and on the backs of your hands. Try washing your hands up to your elbows.
- If you do not have access to fresh, running water, use a medicated hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol content.
- Use alcohol-based, sanitizing wipes to clean surfaces. You should also replace baby wipes with alcohol-based wipes.
- Frequently disinfect the surfaces in your homes such as door knots, light switches, countertops, dining tables, and walls. And yes, that also includes that you disinfect your rug.
- A HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner, so that the smaller particles are trapped inside the machine instead of recirculating.
- You can buy a new rug to place in the entryway, so your shoes stay clean. Keep your shoes by the door and treat them with a disinfectant every time you visit outdoors.
- If you do not know how to disinfect a rug at home, or do not have enough space to do it, schedule a professional rug cleaning service for your rugs and carpets.
Tips on How to Disinfect Your Rugs and Carpets
Considering the amount of traffic your area rugs and mats receive daily, we recommend daily or weekly cleaning and disinfection to keep them clean and virus-free. When it comes to rug cleaning, always start with vacuum cleaning. Go slowly through the fibers of your rug to pick up all the dust and debris. A lot of the dirt usually settles on your furniture, especially the backs of a sofa, and the undersides of a table. So, if you can, you should lift and move your furniture to thoroughly clean behind your furniture. Regular cleaning may help you keep away the virus, but if someone in your home already has the virus, vacuum cleaning will not cut it, you will need to disinfect your rug. When it comes to disinfecting soft surfaces like carpets, draperies, or area rugs may be more of a daunting task than cleaning hardwood floors and other non-porous surfaces. As per CDC guidelines, you should disinfect your rug with soap and water or with cleaning agents specifically made for rug disinfecting purposes. Having a steam cleaner at home may prove to be handy, but you can also disinfect your rug without one. Disinfectants, EPA-approved cleaners, or DIY rug disinfecting solutions can help you disinfect your rug after COVID-19 exposure as opposed to throwing them out.
Can COVID-19 Spread Via Your Pets?
While we may not know the exact source, we do know that the COVID-19 virus originally came from an animal source. A small number of cats and dogs worldwide have been known to carry the COVID-19 virus, especially after close contact with people who are infected with it. However, as the number of these cases is few, and we only have limited information to date, the risk of your pet spreading the COVID-19 virus is considerably low. If your pets sit on your rugs or climb in your bed without significant exposure to the outdoors, you and your kids are safe. This means you do not have to disinfect your rug every time your pet comes in contact with it. To minimize the risk, do not let your pets interact with people outside the household. Keep your pet away from anyone in the family who is sick. And make sure you bath your pet frequently and disinfect your rug after COVID-19 exposure.
Is It Smart to Discard Your Rug After COVID-19 Exposure?
If your expensive Oriental hand-knotted rug has had exposure to the COVID-19 virus, we are sure your first thought will not be to throw it out. You will naturally want to disinfect your rug, either by yourself or hire a cleaning company to do it for you. On the other hand, if the infected rug is cheap, old, worn, and just not worth the effort of disinfecting it or the money you would have to spend on professional rug cleaning services, discard it. Instead of spending money on a frayed, old rug, you can buy a new rug. You can always visit RugKnots online and browse our rugs for sale collection to buy area rugs at discounted prices.
Our final message is to keep your rugs clean and disinfected. If you or anyone at your home is sick, we recommend you disinfect your rug right after COVID-19 exposure. If you want to buy a new rug, you can always visit RugKnots online for authentic rugs! Practice personal hygiene, keep your home clean, give your kids and pets frequent baths, and stay safe! So, that is all from us today, folks. Until next time!