It's inevitable that the rugs in your home will fade with time and wear. Maybe you're going for that look, but if you're not or need to bring a little life back into a thrift store or garage sale find, all you need is a trip to the grocery store.
Over at the weblog DIY Life, they share a quick and easy process of combining equal parts hot water and equal parts salt to apply to your rug with a damp cloth. Although you don't need an ocean of the mixture applied (it will leave salt deposits that you'll need to re-rinse out later), you'll want to use enough that it will transfer from the rag or sponge to your rug.
The salt helps brighten the colors and the hot water helps to keep it that way. We of course suggest you give this trick a spot test to ensure that your particular rug can take the hot water, though most all rugs are able to hold up to this type of method. If you're worried, try using a dry towel placed over the areas to help blot any excess moisture back up. Just walk on it and the hard part will be done for you.
If you come across an old braided cotton rug at a garage sale, before heading home, try picking up some salt and heading to the car wash. Give it a scrubbing there and a slight power wash while you're at it! It's sure to get all of the previous owners' smells, pets and snack crumbs out like a champ!