Searched high and low for a guide to clean your beloved wool rug? Need to know how to:
- Spot treat?
- Deep clean?
Maybe you're going to buy a wool rug your worried out how to clean it?
But, You don't know where to go for advice?
Phew! Aren't we glad you found us!
Hundreds of people every year ruin their valuable wool rugs from misinformation and myths on how to clean wool rugs So....
How to Clean a Wool Rug
You should be vacuuming your wool rug about twice a month.
What? Vacuum twice a month?! You heard me!
See, Wool rugs have little tiny air pockets where dirt can hide. This means that your wool rug will look clean for a lot longer than the cheap synthetic alternatives, but will eventually need to be vacuumed to clean those air pockets out.
Synthetic (polypropylene, nylon, acrylic etc...) rugs fibers are plastic and dirt will lay on top.
You want to vacuum your wool rug only twice a month. Over vacuuming will pull the natural wool fibers out of the rug. You will also want to vacuum both sides of the rug every so often to make sure you get all of the dirt out.
I would recommend vacuuming the underside of the rug every 2 months. Here is a video on how to vacuum a wool rug properly.
[VIDEO] Vacuuming a Wool Rug
But, the most important thing about vacuuming a rug is...
What type of vacuum you use.
Determine What Type of Pile You Have
Flat weave kilims and wool pile rugs each require slightly different height and suction settings. If you have multiple wool rugs will differing pile heights or are looking to invest in more wool rugs over the years,
Here is what you need to look for:
1.The vacuum suction is adjustable
This way you can adjust for pile height for each of your rugs
2.The vacuum does not have a beater bar
Beater bars are a HUGE no no! Beater bars agitate the dirt deep inside the rugs pulling it out faster and more efficiently, but it will also pull out your wool fibers and cause shedding.
3.Or can run without the beater bar
If the vacuum has a beater bar, make sure you can turn it off.
4.Has a handled brush add on
This way you don't needlessly vacuum a larger area than necessary when a spill occurs, and so you can safely vacuum the fringe.
Best Vacuum Cleaners for Wool Rugs
Sebo Felix 1 Premium ($599)
While Sebo may not (yet) be a household name in the US, the German brand is known for delivering brilliantly designed and engineered vacuums with a focus on usability and easy maintenance.
You know what they say about German engineering...
The Felix line of vacuum cleaners is touted as one of the best vacuum cleaners available for pet owners.
Right off the bat, the Felix is perfectly tailored to the needs of the discriminating area rug owner. A suction control slider is located right on the handle, allowing for quick and easy adjustments when moving from one carpet to another.
The Felix’s roller brush has four manual pile height settings if you choose to use it on your rugs. this is great if you have a flat weave Killim Dhurrie like this...
That way you can easily switch between the two rugs, no problem!
The Felix comes in several whimsical colors and patterns which please not only the eyes, but the ears and the nose as well. The outer layer doubles serves as a sound insulator and has a hospital-grade filtration system.
This keeps every last dust particle inside the vacuum unit and out of your air!
Miele Dynamic U1 Twist ($449)
Another German brand, Miele has earned a reputation amongst oriental rug enthusiasts as the go-to name for area rug vacuum cleaners.
The U1 Twist is Miele’s top-of-the-line upright vacuum cleaner. It has received extremely favorable reviews across the board. Everywhere from Amazon to Good Housekeeping.
The Miele Twist motor is remarkably powerful allowing it to effectively clean high pile carpets, but, the rotary dial offers suction control so it can be used on everything from shag rugs to flat weave killims!
The Twist features an automatic pile height adjustment system. The roller brush runs on a separate dedicated motor, so it can be disabled easily during use if necessary.
Shark Rotater Professional Lift-Away ($239.99)
Rounding out our vacuum rundown is the Shark Rotater.
A significantly more affordable unit that boasts an impressive arsenal of features well-suited to cleaning large area rugs. Over 70% of Amazon reviewers gave the Rotator five out of five stars.
This reception proves the Rotator’s competitiveness with other higher-priced units.
Much like the Miele and Sebo vacuum cleaners, Shark’s Rotater has variable suction control suitable for antique pieces, double pile rugs, flat weaves, and shag rugs alike.
The suction control is just below the Rotater’s handle for quick adaptation from rug to rug.
The Rotater’s brush roll can also be shut on and off independently making it ideal for gentle yet thorough cleaning of more sensitive area rugs.
There is no manual pile height adjustment so keep that in mind when working with higher pile carpets.
11. Shake it Out
If the thought of only vacuuming twice a months make you cringe, shaking out the rug outside will help clean the rug without vacuuming.
Just take your rug outside and shake!
If your rug is larger, ask a friend to help you.
Just shake for 30 seconds to a minute and all of the dirt will come out like a charm.
If the forecast looks clear, go ahead and leave your rug outside for a few hours. If you want to go the extra mile, spritz your rug with a little Febreeze before leaving it out.
Your rug will smell like its fresh off the laundry line!
10. Give it an Old Fashioned Beating
For those of you who want to go the extra extra mile...You can beat your rug.
There was a reason they used to beat their wool rugs in the old days. This method loosens the dirt without pulling out the fibers. Although this is the method they used before vacuum cleaners were invented, the method survived as homemakers quickly realized less and less wool on the rugs everyday using beater bar vacuum cleaners.
To do this, set up a laundry line or use a sturdy clothes drying rack, and go to town beating your rug with a rug beater!
I bet you could score an antique one from your local antique or thrift shop!
But if you can't find one, you can grab a new one here from Amazon for $19.93.
You could also use a wooden spoon.
This method is more tedious but if you're looking for a good work out and a deep clean without a professional cleaner, knock yourself out!
9.Dry PowderThis is a popular trick...
But a bad one.
Dry powders will set into the the little air pockets and just create more of a mess, and cause the rug to become fuzzy.
Professional cleaners do use this method but only in particular circumstances and with the proper equipment. We would not recommend trying at home.
8. Snow Dusting
This is another old fashioned way of cleaning a wool rug.
In Russia, after a heavy snowfall, Russians would take their wool rugs to the park to clean them! The theory is that dry snow would freeze the dirt particles in the rug.
This was done because when the dirt particles freeze they can simply be shaken off, much easier than beating the rug!
So here's what you do:
Make sure the snow is DRY and powder-y and there is at least 3"-5" inches on the ground and that temperatures are to stay below freezing the day you choose to do this.
You do not want the rug to get wet from melting snow.
You will also need a broom because the snow causes the rug to become quite heavy.
This process works best with a smaller rug unless you have a few friends to help you out!
1. Place the rug outside in freezing temperatures to let the rug acclimate to the temperature change from indoors to outdoors
Over a banister or clothes line works great
2. Lay the rug in 3"-5" of snow
3. With the broom flip a liberal amount of snow across the entire rug
4. Beat the snow around the entire rug with the flat side of the broom.
The trace amounts of ammonia in the snow will react with the cold air and cause any dirt or grime to solidify and fall out of the rug.
5. Let the snow sit on the rug for 15-20 minutes before flipping it over and repeating steps 1-3 on the other side.
6. Then shake as much excess snow off the rug as you can and hang the rug back over the banister or clothes line.
Leave it to hang for at least 20-30 minutes to allow the snow to sublimate.
The snow will go from it's solid phase to vapor without actually getting the rug wet
7. Shake the rug to release the frozen dirt and reveal a newly, naturally cleaned rug!
Edited from an original post by Regina Yunghans published on February 16, 2010
We do not necessarily recommend this method but it is one of the more wacky ones out there!
If you are going to try this method, be careful and do so at your own risk.
DO NOT DO THIS!!!
Some bloggers are reporting that they steam clean there rugs...
Everyone here at RugKnots is pulling their hair trying to figure out why someone would do this!
First of all, you should never wet the entirety of your rug at home. You cannot dry it fast enough to prevent mold and mildew.
The steam is too hot for the wool.
You know how blow drying and straightening your hair can damage it?
Lastly, if there is any dust or dirt inside of the air, pockets in your wool rug, the steam will create mud in your rug.
Yeah...You can image how difficult that is to get out.
This method is most effective when performed by a professional. There are so many factors that go into cleaning a rug that there is a reason professionals exist.
6. Be Sure to Rotate Your Rug
This simple step is SO important!
Although more about prevention, rotating your rug will prevent discoloration, matting from frequent foot traffic, and excessive dirt to one spot.
When a rug is partially covered by a couch, desk, or ottoman, the covered part of the rug will stay inevitably more clean than the exposed portion of the rug.
So,simply rotate your rugs about once every 6 months.
5. Spot Clean
The biggest thing when it comes to spot cleaning is getting to the stain IMMEDIATELY.
After the 15 minute mark the stain is already beginning to set.
There will not be enough time to find this blog and pull up our instructions so...
Download our free Wool Cleaning Guide and save it your computer or print it out so that you can have it at a moments notice
Rug Knots has generations of experience with antique and new hand knotted wool rugs
We got you covered!
Trust us, you'll want to have this on hand, ready to go.
The steps are categorized by the type of spill:
1.Food, Cosmetic Powders, Modelling Clay, Potting Soil and Skin Ointments
Spot treat the affected area with:
- 8 parts water
- 1 part white vinegar
- And a small squirt of a mild dish washing detergent
Simply dab the solution on with a white paper towel.
Then with a clean, dry paper towel, dab the wet area until the carpet is bone dry.
2. Red Wine or Dark Fruit & Vegetable Juices
Pour salt over the entire affected area. The salt will absorb the liquid like a sponge.
Once the salt has absorbed the stains, use a rounded spoon to lift off the residue the silk carpet. Sprinkle on cold water with a spoon or syringe. Then blot dry the area dry.
3. Pet Messes, Perfume & Alkaline Spills
Use either the vinegar solution mentioned above, or an ammonia solution of 1 teaspoon of household ammonia to 1 cup of water.
Dab the solution on with a white paper towel. Rinse well with cold water on a spoon on syringe, and blot dry.
4. Paint, Oil & Grease
Remove paint, oil and grease with nail polish remover, or use a spot removal or dry cleaning solvent.
- Vinegar solution
- The Ammonia solution listed under PET MESSES
Rinse well with a spoon or syringe, blot dry.
Many of these solvents and solutions will leave the affected area more prone to dirt that the rest of the rug. Rinsing well with cold water and blotting help alleviate the problem.
5.Peroxide Bleach & Other Harsh Chemical Spills
Use cold water on the affected area and immediately, contact a professional rug cleaner.
***Never use an "oxygen" or "oxy" cleaning solution on a wool rug. This may bleach the rug and/or damage the fibers***
To avoid having to spot clean at all, be cautious!
Wool rugs can take a beating but the need to be taken care of. Would you smoke around the Mona Lisa?
Drink red wine after getting your teeth bleached?
Of course not!
Here are a few tips to avoid accidents:
1. Have friends and family remove shoes
This is a good practice even if you don't have any wool rugs.
Your shoes step on public bathroom floors, dirt, asphalt, and who knows what else!
2.Limit pets around a wool rug
Make sure their paws are clean and that they aren't lounging on the rug.
Trust me, they will want to!
Wool rugs are just so soft!
3. Be Careful with Red Wine
I'm not saying to all of a sudden become a white wine drinker, but be careful!
4.Make Sure Kids Do Not Use Art Supplies On or Near the Rug
A crayon ground into the rug will need a professional clean....
5. Avoid Smoking Around the Rug
The smoke odors may embed themselves in the rug and could cause discoloration of light colored rugs.
Just as smoking causes damage to lungs, teeth, and ceilings, it will harm a wool rug too..
Wool rugs are flame resistant and will not burn, but they will char.
Avoid open flames to avoid any damages to your piece.
3. Do NOT Try to Bypass Professional Cleaning
No matter how many Youtube videos you watch, you will never be able to clean a wool rug like a professional.
They how advanced equipment that seems easy to replicate, but it's not.
[VIDEO] Here is How You Should NOT Clean You Wool Rug
Vacuuming and spot cleaning are one thing but trying to deep clean on your own is a huge mistake.
1. NEVER get your wool rug soaking wet
Once wool is wet it is very hard to dry on your own. The top layer of each individual wool fiber is hydrophobic meaning it repels water. But the bottom layer is hydrophillic meaning it attracts and retains water.
If the rug does not become bone dry fast, your rug may produce mold and mildew which is irreversible.
Just don't do it.
Learn more a bout mold from Rug Chick!
2.Do Not Use Colored Soap
For the cleaning described above, you'll want to use a clear soap. The dye in the soap could stain light patterns on a rug.
2. Professional Cleaning
I know...But you have to do it.
By following the steps above, you will be able to stretch out the time in between professional cleans.
You should have your wool rug cleaned every 1-2 years depending on how hard you are on your rug.
But if you have a deep set it stain, you absolutely need to head to a professional cleaner.
[VIDEO] Professional Cleaning Process
Like I said earlier, don't try to by pass professional cleaning. It may be expensive but if you try to do it at home. You may end up ruining your heirloom wool rug.
1.Be Kind To Your One of A Kind Piece
Simply be kind!
There are many different styles and colors out there but one thing remain the same...
Wool rugs and true pieces of art and the deserve to be taken care of.
What is so wonderful about wool rugs is that they are functional pieces of art that if taken care of properly will be an heirloom piece you can pass down to you great grand children.
So there you have it!
Our Ultimate Guide for Cleaning You Wool Rugs
What did you think?
Did we miss anything?
Let us know in the comments below!