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How Often Should I Clean My Rugs?

By January 7, 2020September 22nd, 2022No Comments

As a general rule, most rugs should be cleaned every 12-18 months, but a variety of factors can make it a good idea to clean your rugs more often or less often than that. It all depends on the type of rugs you have, your lifestyle, and the elements your rugs are exposed to.

In this post you’ll learn:

  • Why professional rug cleaning is necessary
  • How to decide when your rugs need to be cleaned
  • The benefits of cleaning your rugs on a regular basis

How Professional Rug Cleaning Works

No two rugs are alike. A very sturdy, very dirty rug needs to be treated differently than an extremely delicate rug that’s only a little bit dirty. That’s why we carefully inspect and hand wash every rug that’s brought to our facility here in Portland. High-quality rug cleaning is a multi-step process:

Pre-Cleaning Inspection: We closely examine your rug to identify stains, odors, heavy traffic areas, and the specific dyes and fibers your rug is made of. We also see if there’s damage that needs repair or any other special issues. Then we give you an exact quote for the cleaning.

Dust Removal: Dust can really settle into a rug over time. Often you can’t even see it! We thoroughly dust your rug to remove dust, dirt, and other sediments that regular vacuuming and cleaning products can’t.

Washing: We create a customized cleaning formula for each rug, taking special precautions to protect your rug’s delicate fibers and avoid dye bleeding and dye transfer problems. We do this for two reasons:

  1. Acustomized formula can target specific types of soiling, stains, microorganisms, and odors.
  2. Different rug fibers (like synthetics and wool) need to be cleaned differently. We know how to get your rug clean without damaging it.

Pet Urine Removal: Pet urine accidents happen, but they don’t have to ruin your rug! For badly saturated rugs, we submerge your rug in our enzyme pond to remove stains and neutralize odors. An enzyme spot treatment may work just as well for small stains. Learn more about urine removal.

Drying: Our environmentally controlled drying room keeps your rug safe and uncontaminated as it dries naturally. Controlled drying is especially important for rugs with odor issues or fast-moving dye sets.

Post-Cleaning Inspection: We do another inspection after the cleaning process to ensure that we send you home with a beautiful, clean rug you’ll be proud to display in your home.

Now you know how the cleaning process works, and you know that most rugs should be cleaned about every 12-18 months, but it’s more complicated than that. Let’s look at what types of rugs need to be cleaned more or less often than the traditional 12-18 months.

You May Need to Clean a Rug More Often if…

1. It’s in a high traffic area.

Rugs in entryways, hallways, living rooms, and other frequently traversed rooms may need to be cleaned more often. Dirt and dust can set in gradually, making them easy to miss. Keep an eye on the appearance and smell of your rug, and you’ll probably know when it’s time for a cleaning.

2. You have pets or young kids.

Pets are wonderful companions, and children bring so much joy to our lives. Unfortunately, pets track in dirt, mud, pollen, and all kinds of other things from outside. Plus, even the best behaved pets have accidents sometimes. Similarly, your kids probably aren’t as concerned with cleanliness as you are.

3. You have allergies.

You might be surprised how many pollens, dust mites, and other allergens can accumulate in a rug. If you have allergies that just won’t go away, your rugs and carpets (and possible other upholstery) may be to blame.

4. You’re a “shoes on” home.

Just like your pets, your shoes also track in debris from outside. As you could probably guess, wearing your shoes around the house might mean you’ll have to clean your rug more often.

5. You notice your rug is looking dirty.

Some rugs (especially light colored rugs) show several signs of dirtiness. Keep your eyes open for:

  • Heavy spotting or staining

  • Noticeable odors

  • Greying or shadowing

  • Noticeable traffic lanes

You May Need to Clean a Rug Less Often if…

1. It’s in a rarely-used room.

Do you have a guest bedroom you hardly ever use? A dining room you only use on special occasions? You may be able to get away with cleaning rugs in those rooms a little less often.

2. You’re a meticulous cleaner.

If you already follow a meticulous cleaning routine, you may be catching some of the dirt, oil, and other debris before they settle into your rug. Just keep in mind that your rugs still need a professional cleaning — vacuums and at-home cleaning products simply can’t remove everything that professionals can.

3. It isn’t exposed to the elements much.

No pets, no kids, and no shoes in the house? You may be able to stretch the 12-18 month recommendation a bit.

The Benefits of Regular Rug Cleanings

Many people find that getting their rugs deep cleaned on a regular basis is beneficial for their home, health, and peace of mind. Even if you’re generally pretty tidy, you might be surprised at the difference a professional cleaning can make.

The main benefits are:

  • A longer-lasting rug. No matter what material they’re made of, clean, well-cared-for rugs last longer.
  • A fresher smelling home. A clean rug doesn’t smell like anything, but a dirty one can stink up the whole house over time.
  • A more beautiful rug. You’d be amazed at the difference we see in many of the rugs we clean at our Portland facility. Many people don’t even know how dirty their rug is until they see it clean!
  • A healthier environment. Allergens, microorganisms, and bacteria live in dirty rugs. A good professional cleaning can remove them, contributing to a more hygienic home.
  • Less stress. Are you the kind of person who gets stressed out when you’re stuck in a cluttered or unclean environment? Do yourself a favor and get those rugs freshened up.

Final Thoughts

Do you still have questions about how often to clean one of your rugs? Do you have a technical question about our cleaning process?

If you’d like a free rug cleaning estimate (or you’d just like to learn more) give us a call at (503) 477-4097 or simply drop your rugs off at our facility anytime (get directions).


Gallagher’s is proud to be a locally owned-and-operated Portland, Oregon business. We are nestled in the historic Central Eastside neighborhood, located right on SE Belmont, just off of I-5, with our own safe, off-street parking available to customers.