What rugs are the easiest to clean? It may sounds like a simple question to answer, but there are so many variables to consider and let’s not forget the easiest rugs to clean may not be your preferred texture. A machine washable rug is the logical answer but a typical lounge size rug is just too big to fit into a standard washing machine, so these are usually only made in small bathroom sizes. When we say clean do we mean stains or general maintenance like vacuuming? If you need to wash a rug my advice is; don’t do it yourself, find a reputable specialist carpet and rug cleaner. So, to save going around in circles let's first establish that this article refers to general maintenance and spot cleaning.
Some quick general rules to consider before buying a new rug. Lighter colours are are more likely to show soiling and dark colours are likely to show dust and hairs. Plainer rugs will show more tracking and wear than a patterned rugs. Busy designs with many contrasting colours will appear to wear better because your eye focuses on the design rather than the traffic paths. Longer pile lengths take more maintenance than short piles.
Flatweave: The easiest rugs to vacuum and spot clean are flatweaves woven on Wilton looms using a polypropylene fabric. The flat construction means dirt cannot penetrate into the pile while the vacuum cleaner can effortlessly travel over the rug surface in any direction because there no resistance from a physical pile. Spot cleaning is easy too because the polypropylene fabric is stain resistant even to harsh chemicals such as bleach, in fact on extreme stains bleach can be used as cleaning agent. Which makes it ideal choice for high traffic and high soil areas such as kitchens and conservatories.
One potential downside to this style of product is it has virtually no comfort factor. The flat weave texture is thin and hard.
Twist Pile: When we talk about an easy to clean rug we really mean spending less time making it look pristine. Twist pile or frieze rugs fit into the category of easily clean because the pile texture is twisted meaning it catches the light from different directions giving the surface a intentional bobbly appearance. These rugs are generally available in wool or polypropylene in a massive range of designs and colours.
Vacuuming this style of rug is usually easy because the kink in the pile give the overall surface a springy texture that makes dirt particles easy to remove. A rug of this style should be vacuumed regularly to prevent the pile from flattening and trapping the dirt.
Cut Pile: These rugs have straight pile that is cut to form a velvet texture and produced from wool, polypropylene, polyester and acrylic. Because the pile falls in one direction it will often show imprints when the pile is disturbed, such as footsteps when walked over, on busier designs the shading and trafficking will show less. Actual cleaning of the rug will often depend upon fibre used. Generally a good quality wool rug is the best option, it will shed initially which some people find anyong, but once it settles the natural attributes of wool make it the prefered choice.
If your budget won’t stretch to wool rug, there are also some excellent acrylic and polyester fibres available in handmade rugs. When it comes to machine made rugs polypropylene is the fibre that dominates the market, always go for a more expensive heat-set polypropylene as these are definitely easier to hoover.
Shaggy Rugs: Longer piles equal more maintenance, simply because dirt can penetrate deeper into the pile. On the plus side the typical shaggy rug has a more open weave therefore the dirt can be vacuumed out with relative ease. However it is recommended that you hoover them more that just occasionally. Oh, and never ever use an upright vacuum with a beater bar this will damage the tips of the pile... always use suction only.
Because the pile of shaggy rugs don’t stand up straight a shaggy pile tends to lie casually across the surface of the rugs in different directions which gives the surface an exaggerated texture. The visual appearance is of a casual laid back pile surface which like twist piles and friezes catches the light to give an uneven appearance.
Shaggy piles work best with man-made fibres that don’t shed, so choose a nylon, polyester or polypropylene. Natural fibres like wool are spun and spun fibres, particularly on longer yarn lengths will shed, as they shed they are more likely to mat together. Not only do you end up with an ugly matted rug, it can look often like you have more pile of the rest of your floor than on the rug surface.
At rugzone.co.uk we don’t offer 100% wool shaggy or Flokati rugs becase we’d prefer to avoid the shedding and matting problems assicated with them.
Summary: There are many other textures and styles of rug available, I have just touched on some of the popular styles available. And let’s face it human nature dictates that we ignore 60% of advice and buy what is attractive to our eye. The basic points to remember are longer piles take more work than shorter piles and busy designs will appear to look better longer than plainer designs.