5 Rules for Cleaner Rugs: Emily Henderson Talks New Rugs USA Line (and a Discount Code!)

The celebrity interior designer released a new collection of affordable floor coverings and shared her best maintenance tips, as well as an exclusive discount for Real Simple readers.

<p>Mark Weinberg</p>

Mark Weinberg

Rugs get notoriously dingy—fast. The whole point of rugs is that you walk on them, which makes it pretty hard to keep them in pristine shape over time. It almost feels like a sisyphean task! But when we found out our friend Emily Henderson, interior designer and author, partnered with Rugs USA to produce a whole new collection of beautiful, affordable rugs, we knew we had to ask her for her best maintenance tips to minimize the wear-and-tear. Plus, we just wanted to learn more about her stunning new line.

Related: Take a Look at Real Simple's Tour of Emily Henderson's New Oregon Home

Here’s a little background on the collection: It comprises 20 designs in a range of wallet-friendly sizes, some as low as $90! The styles are very Emily in the best way possible: Lots of stripes, modern plaids, geometrics—all flexible and timeless. She says, “I love things that are simple but special—it’s one of my design philosophies that I say over and over. Not everything has to be loud or graphic or busy. I kept that in mind when designing this collection: I wanted the rugs to be really, really versatile. These rugs are so transitional, they work everywhere.”  There’s a mix of jute, flatweave, wool, and cotton-blend tufted options, so there really is something for everyone.

Even better: Rugs USA is offering Real Simple readers an exclusive 10 percent off sitewide through May 3, 2024 with the code REALSIMPLE10, so you can snag an Emily Henderson-designed piece at an even more affordable price point—and possibly a few other rugs from the site!

Now, back to the main issue at hand: How does one keep your rugs clean and beautifully styled? Emily Henderson and the Rugs USA team shared their best tips.

Pick a Durable Material

First things first: To make sure your rug lasts a long time and looks good, you pretty much need to start off with the right, long-lasting material. Emily’s durable pick: Wool! It holds up well to daily life. She says, “One of my favorites, the Oregon Plaid Wool Rug is a low-pile rug that makes is super sleek, but also extremely functional for high traffic areas. You do not have to worry about this rug, as it’s very forgiving with all the mid and darker tones.” As for the material you should avoid if you want something that’s easy to maintain: Silk. It has a reputation for being extremely delicate and can stain easily. Plus, it’s a challenge to clean.

Embrace Light Rugs

Surprise! A light rug doesn’t necessarily mean all the dirt you track in will be exposed. “A bright white rug can show dirt of course, but with texture, contrast, larger yarn sizes you’d be surprised at how little shows and how much vacuums up!” Emily says. She adds that a good rule to follow is that medium tones hide both light hair and dust that shows on darker rugs and every day wear and tear that shows on white rugs. Her suggestions from the collection are the Merrick and Hyperion rugs, which are good examples of lighter rugs that help disguise messes thanks to their creamy tones, a lot of texture and the contrasting weaves.

Kick Off Shoes Indoors

This one might seem obvious, but some folks have a hard time sticking to this rule for a variety of reasons—some foot conditions make it a challenge to walk around barefoot or you might have funky feet that need to be contained. But this is one of the easiest ways to keep your floors clean. Emily says, “If everyone adopted the no shoes inside rule your rugs would, of course, wear better.” And related to the last point about rug color, she adds: “I’m very pro a light white or cream rug in the bedroom where there tends to be less foot and pet traffic.”

Related: Listen to Our Podcast Episode: Should You Ask Guests to Take off Their Shoes?

<p>Mark Weinberg for Emily Henderson x Rugs USA</p>

Mark Weinberg for Emily Henderson x Rugs USA

Rotate Your Rugs Regularly

If you’ve ever noticed a large, dark patch on one end of your rug, it could be that that area gets the most foot traffic. Rugs USA suggests rotating your rugs regularly to promote even wear of the rug. Their other tip: Don’t expose rugs to continuous direct sunlight, because this might actually cause colors to fade over time!

Never Rub In a Stain

Rugs USA recommends following care instructions specific to the rug’s material and construction—something many people don’t do. But! There’s one universal rule they suggest when you’re spot cleaning a stain: Never, ever rub. They advise gently blotting with a clean, dry towel and carefully dabbing the splotch with your rug cleaner of choice. According to Rugs USA, rubbing makes it really difficult to get the stain out. (Makes sense! Doing so is essentially grinding the stain into the fibers!) And on that note: Always vacuum regularly! It’s crucial for maintaining rug cleanliness, regardless of material. It helps remove loose dirt, dust, and prevents debris from settling in.

Related: 6 Unexpected Ways to Decorate With an Area Rug

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