If you have hard floors, you’ll have a decent idea how much dirt accumulates in a given amount of time. It’s all there in front of you, all-too-easy to see. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the same volume of dirt will be found in your carpets and rugs. It’s just that it’s harder to see.

You’ve probably also noticed that winter tends to bring more dirt than the summer months, even though we may be heading outside less frequently. With both the sun and temperatures low, roads and pavements rarely fully dry and what was dust in summer becomes sticky mud in winter. Shoes are inevitably dirtier and no matter what we do, more muck will find its way into the house.

Even if we wipe our feet or leave our shoes at the door, it still somehow seems to spread. Pets are rather less careful and tend to bring in dirt even when it doesn’t come in the form of obvious muddy footprints.

In fact, visible marks don’t tend to be too great an issue. A wool rug can accommodate a worrying volume of dirt without you really noticing it. It is for this reason that you should ensure you maintain a good, regular cleaning regime. It’s not the dirt on the surface of the rug you really need to worry about. It’s the compacted dirt that’s worked its way deeper that’s a bigger problem because it becomes abrasive, shortening your rug’s lifespan and can also lead to mildew or dry rot.

Regular vacuuming and a professional clean every couple of years is usually enough to maintain a rug, but what else can you do to combat the greater challenges presented during winter?


Scotchgard is a branded stain and water repellent which can be sprayed on fabrics in order to protect them. It is available in different forms and is typically either a cleaning spray or foam. If you treat a rug with Scotchgard, the fibres will be left more resilient and it will be that much harder for dirt to penetrate. Clearly, it is not a substitute for cleaning, but it can minimise the dirt which accumulates and make subsequent cleaning efforts that much easier and more productive.


This probably won’t be an option for most people because in general a rug has a designated spot and it makes little sense to position it elsewhere. However, in some cases, it may be possible to move a rug to a place where it will still look good but will see slightly less foot traffic.

Different rug

Perhaps a better option would be to get a designated winter rug. It might sound a little frivolous to have different rugs for different seasons, but it’s no such thing. A second rug will prolong the lifespan of what is now your summer rug for one thing. You also benefit from a change of ambience. Why should summer décor be the same as winter décor, after all? If you do decide to take this option, as well as thinking about the design, you should also look for a rug that is a little more hardwearing for the colder half of the year. Natural fibres such as hemp, jute and sisal all present good options.