Rug Cleaning 101

What is the best way to clean your area rug? The answer may surprise you.

Let’s say you decide to have a dinner party and one of your guests accidentally spills a glass of red wine on your brand new wool area rug from The Rug Merchant. The first thing that wool rug is going to do is suck the wine straight into the fibers. While the scenario might seem all too real, the solution to make the mess disappear is simple and probably already in your cabinet.


Add a couple tablespoons of vinegar to a glass of tap water and saturate the area. Once the area has been saturated, blot with a clean towel. DO NOT RUB.

This solution can be used on wool or synthetic area rugs.

Let’s imagine the same scenario only this time, it happens to your synthetic area rug. Synthetic area rugs are just as easy clean. Because synthetics are sealed with a stain-guard, when spilled, the liquid will bead up at the surface. To remove the liquid, just lightly dampen the area and blot clean with a paper towel or cloth.

Now let’s say that during said dinner party, you do everything right and clean up the mess with your solution of water and vinegar, but a few days later you notice a spot was missed. What should you do? Well, if you’re dealing with a wool rug, just repeat the saturate-blot-repeat method until the stain is gone. If your working with a synthetic rug, you may have a bigger problem on your hands.

Once a synthetic rug is produced, it is finished off with a stain guard, or scotch guard. This helps to protect the rug from immediate stains by beading up the stain on the surface of the rug which makes for an easy clean up. But these stain guards are only warrantied for 48 hours. After that 48 hours, the stain penetrates the stain guard and now what kept the stain out is going to keep any cleaner out, as well.

So why does the stain come out of the wool rug? Isn’t wool a sensitive natural fiber?

Wool is a porous, natural fiber, and very resilient. It also has a natural stain guard, called lanolin. So once the liquid is spilled, the wool soaks it up and the water and vinegar flush it right back out.

Be sure to always vacuum your rugs with the beater bar on high or off and for a serious rug cleaning, see your local professional area rug cleaner as needed.

Always shop local, but make sure we earn it.

Here lately, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Shop Local” more than a few times. The market is booming and small local businesses are popping up all over the Tri-State. But why shop local?

Most would rationale that by shopping local, we are supporting our community and our neighbors. Here at The Rug Merchant, we agree with this ration. But we also agree that we should EARN your business.

With the world at our fingertips, it’s important for local businesses to stay competitive with the internet. The Rug Merchant is no different. For more than 40 years, we’ve been staying in sync with the ebb and flow of the retail market, following the trends and pricing our inventory accordingly. We challenge every customer who walks into our store to do their due diligence and shop around to find the best price. We strive to provide all of our customers with expert advice, quality product, and the lowest prices.

Let us prove that we can EARN your business.

What can your rug do for you?

Did you know rugs serve a specific purpose? While there are many beautiful area rugs in the market, they aren’t just accessories. Here are just a few ways area rugs can improve your space.

  1. Area rugs define your area. Area rugs are meant to bring your space together. For instance, a living room typically has a couch, coffee table, and maybe a chair or two. To place an area rug big enough for just the coffee table to sit on doesn’t serve purpose to your space. Using a larger rug, one that, at the very least, rests in front of the furniture gives the space a more defined sense of purpose.


2.Area rugs reduce noise. Have you ever replaced your carpet with hardwood and noticed your space being much louder? That’s because hard surfaces reflect sound. Area rugs help to absorb the noise so your home can be a quieter, more peaceful living space. Perfect for households with children or pets!




3.Area rugs provide warmth. Simply put, area rugs keep your feet nice and warm and protect them from the cold, hard wooden or tile surfaces.



4.Area rugs protect your floors! I know what your thinking, “I just spent a ton of money on my beautiful floors. I don’t want to cover them up with an area rug!” Trust us, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by preserving your floors with an area rug, while also adding a pop of style!









So, you see. Area rugs are NOT just accessories. They’re NECESSITIES.


Rugs 101, Part 3: How to size and place your perfect area rug.

By now you’ve learned about types of rugs, and have discovered some ways to discuss your style with your Rug Merchant. In this installment of Rugs 101 you’ll learn everything you need to know about choosing the best size rug for your space, and placing it in a way that compliments all your other furniture and decor and pulls together your space in just the way you want.

What is an Area Rug?

Simply, an area rug defines a given area of your home. In most cases this is a furniture arrangement of some sort, and yes, you can have more than one ‘area’ in a single room!Designing-A-Contemporary-Style-Home-Decor-5

Defining Living Room or Den Areas

For instance, in a living room or den what your rug should do is UNITE all elements of the furniture in the arrangement. It’s simpler than you think:

  • DO: make sure the rug touches all major pieces of furniture in the area.
  • DON’T: let your rug float out in the middle of the floor!

Once it touches the furniture, there is no right or wrong. The rug can be just touching the edge of the furniture or keep going all the way past the back of the furniture piece or stop anywhere in between. The only boundary is how much of the floor you want to cover.

Defining the Dining Area

A dining area rug placement is a little more involved:

  1. Measure the length and width of your table
  2. Add about 3 feet to these measurements.
  3. EXAMPLE: Width-3’6, Length-6′. Rug size- 6×9 or larger.

This is the minimum length and width for your rug size to make sure that all chairs stay on the rug when they are pulled out. An area rug that’s too small may look good when no one is sitting at the table, but as soon as the chairs get pulled out, the back legs will be off the rug. Not only is it hard on the rug with the chair legs catching on it all the time, it will drive you crazy at dinnertime. Trust us; we’ve been doing this for 40 years!

Bedroom Placement

Compared to other rooms, the proper placement of your rug in the bedroom is more relaxed and comes down to personal taste. Your main concerns here are:

  1. Do you want your feet land on the rug when you get out of bed?
  2. How much of the rug do you want to show at the foot of the bed?

You have several choices here. Depending on the size of your bed you can get a rug that goes under your bed about two-thirds of the way, if you want your feet to land on it. Or just a little way under. Or if you don’t want a lot of your rug under the bed, you can use a couple of runners, one on each side of the bed, and another rug at the foot of the bed. These don’t even have to be exactly the same, just coordinating. We can help you explore a few different options to see what is your favorite!

A lot of things to think about, but really only four main points to remember:

  1. A rug should touch all pieces of furniture in a setting.
  2. Dining room chairs should stay on the rug at all times.
  3. Bedroom rugs are more about comfort and aesthetics.
  4. There is no exact amount of flooring that needs to be showing around the rug.

Download our FREE Rug Style Worksheet and make your rug buying journey even easier.


Rugs 101, Part 1: Begin your rug buying journey: what are the different types of rugs?

When you step into The Rug Merchant, one of the first things we ask you isn’t “what can we help you with?” but “what can we help you find?” With all the different types of rugs we offer in our 10,000 feet of showroom, we know the choices can be dizzying! Thankfully most of the time our customers have a good idea of the size they need and what they don’t like.

This is a great start, but it’s really helpful (and far more challenging) to describe what you DO like! If you’re just beginning your rug-buying journey you probably haven’t been exposed to enough options to truly understand what your choices are.

In this article, we’re going to cover some key ideas you’ll use to define exactly what type of rug you’re looking for. So read on and prepare to become a rug-buying expert!

  • What the heck is an Oriental rug anyway?
  • How is it different from a machine-made rug?
  • And what does “hand-tufted” mean?
  • Why are they so different in quality and cost?
  • How can I tell what I’m really paying for?

Oriental Rug

When you think of an Oriental rug, chances are this is what you’re picturing:

But did you know that these are also Oriental rugs?

What?! How so?

In the rug world “Oriental” does not describe a style of rug (the way it looks) but how, and where, it is created. An Oriental rug is any rug that has been entirely hand-knotted in any of these rug-weaving countries:

  • India
  • Turkey
  • Afghanistan
  • China
  • Romania

(In later Rug 101: Rug Buying Guides we’ll cover different styles of rugs: “contemporary”, “traditional”, colors, patterns, borders, etc. to help you determine what look you’re after. But for now, know that any type of rug: Oriental, machine-made, or hand-tufted, can have any style the designers want!)

Machine-Made Rug

A machine-made rug is any rug that has been woven in whole or in part on any type of machine, whether its been made on the best Axminster Loom (here’s a great video describing the Axminster Loom) or is a piece of carpet that’s been serged (bound around the edges.)

Machine-made area rugs can be made almost anywhere, from the good ol’ US of A to any of the same countries where Oriental rugs are made. But remember, Oriental rugs are hand-made, so no matter what they look like, a machine-made rug is never a real Oriental rug!

Here are a few examples of machine-made area rugs:

Surprised? Machine made rugs, like true Oriental rugs, can have completely different styles. It’s just the way they’re made that determines what type of rug it is.

Hand-Tufted Rug

A hand-tufted rug is not a real Oriental rug, either. A hand-tufted rug is made by the weaver holding a tufting gun (link or pic?) and shooting the yarn into a canvas, then putting latex onto the back of the rug to keep the yarn in place and covering the back with a piece of fabric, because as the latex dries it becomes hard and bumpy and can damage your floor. What makes a difference in the price in tufted rugs?

  • material
  • amount of material, and
  • quality of the latex or glue used to hold the material together

When you look on the internet and see two very similar tufted rugs with VERY different price tags, it’s probably because the construction and quality of materials is different.

So what kind of a rug is it, anyway?

If you’re looking at a photo of the front side of a rug in a magazine or on the internet, it’s next to impossible to tell how a rug is made is unless you already know what you’re looking at. Looking at the back of the rug in person will tell you everything you need to know about its construction and what type of rug it is:


  1. Oriental rug: you can actually see the individual knots on the back.
  2. The machine-made rug (better) is a little harder to tell except that the knots are really uniform (something that’s impossible to accomplish when you’re tying thousands of knots by hand!)
  3. With the (good) machine-made rug it’s a bit easier; you can barely see an actual knot at all.
  4. The hand-tufted rug is the easiest to see; fabric back=hand-tufted.

Okay, so how can I tell the quality of a rug by a picture on the internet?

The short answer is, you can’t. The only way to tell the quality of a rug is to see and feel it in person. But the oldest Oriental rug and area rug cleaning company in Evansville can tell! Some brands make their rugs with quality materials 99.9% of the time. These brands will clean their rugs without you signing a release. Some brands are less consistent with quality control and the chance of the glue disintegrating and the wool shedding with cleaning is greater, a risk they want you to know about before they clean.

The answer? You need to buy a trusted brand name from a trusted source so if there is any problem with your rug, the problem will be theirs, not yours!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this first Rug Buying 101 Guide. We believe that that the more informed you are, the more fun you will have on your rug buying journey. Stay tuned for our next installments of Rugs 101 where we will cover determining your perfect style, and how to choose the right size rug for pulling a room together in just the right way.