Area rugs and carpet are basically the same thing, right? That’s actually incorrect, and it means that you can’t just treat your wall-to-wall carpeting and your area rugs exactly the same way. Here are the differences between carpets and rugs and how that affects how you should treat them:
The biggest difference between area rugs and carpeting is the purpose they serve. Carpets are meant to be permanent (or at least semi-permanent). Rugs, on the other hand, are meant to be a secondary flooring laid over the top of a permanent flooring, such as hardwood. Area rugs are made to be picked up, rolled up, and moved around. Because of this difference, rugs and carpet are constructed differently. These construction difference allow carpets to be a long-lasting flooring solution and rugs to be moved around, and it also changes the way that these should be handled.
The difference in construction between rugs and carpets means that they have different cleaning needs and methods. Area rugs often have a denser, longer pile than carpeting. This is why some rugs are very soft to walk on while carpets might not be. This also means that rugs can trap soil near the base of the dense pile. This trapped soil is hard to remove with a traditional vacuum cleaner. However, because rugs are portable, they can be taken outside and shaken out, while a carpet can not. Because carpeting includes additional layers like a carpet pad underneath the actual carpet, it means that spills can be a much bigger and deeper problem. Rugs can easily be picked up to clean underneath, but if you have something spread to your padding and sub-floor, such as a pet urine accident, it can require work by professional carpet cleaners to remove.
Carpets are often wall-to-wall, or at the very least have an edging piece that covers the edge of the carpet. Rugs have exposed edges, which are often bound or feature fringe. Fringe is often delicate, and it’s easy to tell when the fringe on a rug has been damaged. This means that when you have a rug with a fringe, you have to be very careful when vacuuming the rug, as vacuums can damage the fringe. It also means that cleaners need to be careful with area rugs in a way they don’t need to be with carpets.
Another big difference between area rugs and carpets is that carpets are often a single color or a speckled mix of colors. On the other hand, rugs often feature intricate designs. If something caused the color in a carpet to bleed, you probably wouldn’t notice. However, if the dye in an area rug bleeds, the pattern would be ruined. This means that you should use a professional rug cleaner to clean your rugs, and that rug cleaners have to mush more careful in how they clean area rugs, how much water they use, and what solutions they use on rugs. There are some cleaning solutions that are safe to use in carpeting that run the risk of damaging the coloring in area rugs, making this an important difference.