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Sunlight is notorious for fading carpet and rug fibers. Here's a natural way to dial up the color.

"Keep your curtains drawn."
That's the advice one friend gave me when I was soliciting ideas for how to brighten my carpets and prevent further fading. But sunshine is essential in my home, and I'll live with faded carpets if I have to. The good news? I don't have to.

I discovered a natural way to brighten carpet fibers, so I tested this method on a small area rug that was lacking in luster. Now that I know how well it works, I plan to make my way through the rest of the house, bringing life to our tired and faded area rugs and carpets.

All you need is hot water and salt. The salt brightens faded fiber and guards against further discoloration. Some suggest that ammonia is a necessary ingredient. It's possible that that would yield an even more impressive result, but this solution worked well too, and without being harmful to pets and children (and to all of us really!).

I was thrilled to find out that the process not only brightened my carpets and will guard against further fading but it also took care of some minor stains. I'm going to add this one to my Spring Cleaning list for next year:,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=915838&pid=915837&uts=1280256998

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

Use equal parts salt and hot water.

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

Stir in the salt until it dissolves, and wait until the water is cool enough to handle.

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

Grab your handheld or floorstanding vacuum and give the carpet a once-over.

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

Dip a clean rag in the water and wring it out so it is just damp. Resist the temptation to think that more is better. It really is just meant to be a damp wash, any more and you'll be struggling to get salt deposits off the carpet. I made this mistake, so take my word for it. You only need a damp cloth.

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

Wash the faded area with your dampened cloth (microfiber cloths are best).

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

Let the rug dry, then vacuum it again. You should notice a subtle brightening!

Brighten Faded Carpets and Rugs

  • ca

    Did you test the salt wash to see if it really was more effective than just washing with water? I can't think of a reason salt water would make something brighter.

  • sheppy

    Well, Ma'am,

    There's iodized salt, non-iodized salt, sea salt, low-sodium salt, rock salt, etc.
    And there's boiling hot water, and hand-immersable hot water, etc.

    Can anyone who's tried this please supply some specifics? Sincere thanks from a home with faded carpets!

  • China P. Lanier

    "ca" why, pray tell, do you think that just plain water would prevent fading/

  • Susan

    Adding ordinary table set, as in this solution, sets the colors. Plain water does not.

  • tothag

    Salt is a in bleach. It isn't as strong a bleach, but is great for a lot of things. Spill red wine on your white tablecloth, don't panic, just sprinkle some salt on the spot to cover and finish your meal. When you are ready to wash, just wash, the stain is gone! Missed the spot during the meal; just dampen the spot, rub in salt, let it set for several minutes and wash as usual.

  • Alec Houle

    Using the salt solution did two things. First it helped in removing some of the topical soil deposited on the rug but it also left a residue in the carpet that will make the fibers stiff and actually attract soil causing a much faster re-soiling. Overall , not a good idea. Professional carpet cleaner.

  • Bob Furr

    When you wash fabric the individual threads roll... even a cold water wash will brighten faded colors....

  • Rich

    I too am a Professional Carpet, Rug & Fabric Cleaner, Dyer and Restorer and have been in this industry for 31 years and I am here to tell you that that salt & water combo is a 100% BAD IDEA!! The only way to put color BACK into carpets and/or rugs is with DYE. That's it. No if ands or buts. And you can only dye nylons and wools. And Good luck trying to dye, or tint a persian rug.

  • cheenna

    the article is not about WASHING per se', it is to PREVENT further FADING! Jeeeeeze, doesn't anyone actually READ the articles on here?

    I agree with "sheppy" those writing these articles need to be specific about ingredients instead of vague amounts.

  • Susan

    It does state in teeny, tiny print under the picture of the solution, to use equal parts salt and water. And ordinary table salt is what I have used in the past.

    Good comment about people not "reading" these articles! I like it.

  • Mines

    Actually we DID read the article. I'm not sure you did, tho. I direct your attention to the phrases "natural way to brighten carpet fiber" and "bringing life to our ... faded area rugs" and "the process not only brightened my carpets." All of these indicate the writer was able to restore color to the fabric (which is impossible).

  • marcus


  • Cathy

    Use equal parts salt and hot water. the author said

  • Rug Guru

    OH, NO STOP! Totally wrong advice here,...Most area rugs are made of wool. and you don't put hot water and salt on wool! ... your rugs are dull, look faded and have lost luster, because they are dirty and need to get proffessionally cleaned!! As part of their maintenance, area rugs need to get cleaned every 3-5 years depending on how heavily they get used. It is best to contact your local oriental rug store for this service.

  • 14 Comments / 1 Pages

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