October means it’s time once again to get into the spirit for a big fall cleanup. What? You think spring is the only time to clean? That’s a myth. Spring is simply a time to open up the house from the hunkered-down months of winter, sweep away the dust, and uncover the patio furniture.
By comparison, autumn is a time for real cleaning. To prepare for winter, you have to clean everything before you pack it away. You have to rake the yard and cover the pool, bring in the cold-sensitive plants and slide the storm windows into place. Indoors, you perform some major cleaning, wiping down the windows, baseboards, fan blades, and vents. And for heaven’s sake, don’t forget about your rugs.
While the indoor/outdoor rugs on your deck and patio can withstand the harsh overnight chills, they will last for many long spring and summer seasons if you bring them indoors when the cold hits. Chances are you won’t be entertaining outdoors anyway (and it will be too cold to chill out next to your frozen grill), so put your removable outdoor rugs on the cleaning list and make room in the attic.
It’s fairly easy to clean most indoor/outdoor rugs, since they are made of synthetic materials designed to withstand mild soap and water. Lay out your rug and scrub it with a soft-bristled long-handled brush using mild dish soap that does not contain bleach. Turn the rug over and repeat on the backside. Hang the rug over a railing or on an incline so the water can drain until the entire rug dries.
Once it’s completely dry, roll up the rug, careful to keep edges even to prevent crinkling. Tape or tie the rug into a secure cylinder and store it in a cool, dry place. Come spring, your rug will look brand new when you once again unroll it onto your patio.
Your big fall cleanup should also include steps to maintain the other rugs in your home. At the very least, you should use the seasonal housework push to turn any rugs that have been exposed to the direct rays of the hot summer sun. Wool rugs are very sensitive to light. The natural fibers can fade or even discolor when exposed to ultraviolet light. Once the sun’s rays have bleached the dye in a hand-knotted wool rug, no amount of cleaning can restore its original vibrancy.
By turning your wool rugs, you help them fade evenly, allowing the aging process to occur gradually and gracefully. At the same time, you’ll appreciate your rug from the many different vantage points turning provides you. Here’s all you do: move the furniture off the rug and turn it 90 degrees.
For some rug aficionados, a faded look implies antiquity and adds personality to the rug. But uneven fading reduces a rug’s attractiveness. Be good to your rugs, and you’ll be able to enjoy them for many autumns to come.