Beauty style and protection – these are the most important features of a rug, its sole purpose. Of course we're talking about the commercial mats and area rugs, not the magnificent extremely expensive hand-made Oriental ones. They're high above our scope and they're very hard to maintain and clean, but we don't need them anyway. Back to our casual textile flooring, as I said it protects the floor below by absorbing soil and dust stopping it from scratching the laminate or hardwood.
Cleaning a rug could be a piece of cake or a nightmare, depending on the material it is made from and the condition you keep it in. There are moisture sensitive natural fabrics and synthetic ones, delicate and rough almost everything you can think about. The worst thing is there are different cleaning approaches for nearly all types. There are of course some similarities considering the maintenance.
Take vacuuming for example, despite the fabric you should do it once a week using the right attachments. Also all rugs will be damaged by the sunlight so it does not matter if you have thick curtains, you should rotate the mat once a year. If you have pets, get a brush and every once in a while spare some time to thoroughly remove the pet hair. If the fabric is not too delicate an occasional beating is a good idea since the standard vacuum cleaner can't remove all the grime and dust.
Another similarity between most natural fibres and synthetic rugs, is that most natural fabrics are moisture sensitive, therefore dry cleaning is in needed. On the other hand synthetic and mixed rugs and mats should be steam cleaned without a problem. Be careful, because some textile flooring are covered with protective coating and by using strong chemicals, you may cause problems. You may damage the fabric or inhale volatile organic compounds.
If you're not sure if your rug has protective coating I recommend you hire a professional carpet cleaning company or use green Eco-friendly detergents. The best option is to make your own solutions using common household materials like baking soda, ammonia, vinegar, dish-washing soap, salt etc. The most simple recipe for liquid sensitive rugs is a mixture of baking or washing soda and salt. This mixture will absorb liquid stains like red wine and juice.
Another useful solution is a paste make from salt, washing soda and liquid soap, you rub the paste onto the stain, let it dry and vacuum the area. There are plenty of useful recipes all over the Internet if you're interested in DIY cleaning. No matter what you prefer you should occasionally hire a carpet cleaning company to check the condition of your rugs.