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Cleaning Rugs Using the Sun


It is often easiest to take rugs outside when cleaning them. This is true whether you're cleaning the ones from your house or the floor mats from your car. For simple clean-ups you can use a bucket of warm water with some dish soap in it, along with a scrub brush. Then use your garden hose for rinsing.

In general it is easier to scrub rugs if you have a clean wooden deck or section of cement to do it on. Just lay them out, pour a little of the soapy water on them, and start scrubbing. Otherwise you can drape the rugs over a plastic chair to work on them. After you have cleaned them and rinsed them, hang them to dry, preferably where the sun will shine on them.

The Sun as Disinfectant

The ultraviolet radiation from the sun is actually a powerful disinfectant. In fact, in experiments done in Africa it was found that just putting water in clear plastic bottles and placing these where the sun could reach them all morning, was a decent purification treatment. The incidence of diarrhea in those who treated their water in this way went down significantly. There are even devices to disinfect your toothbrush using ultraviolet light now.

To the best of my knowledge, experiments have not been done on how well the sun will disinfect rugs, but the effect is almost certainly there. Try to leave the rugs in the sun for a an hour after they are dry. You might want to flip them over as well, to disinfect the underside.

One warning, though; the sun will cause bright colors to fade over time. For the rugs that you want to protect from fading, avoid the sun. After cleaning just put the small ones in the dryer and hang larger ones in the shade to dry.

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