How To Clean An Area Rug
Handmade rugs are highly durable and usually very easy to clean. Often a spill or dirt can be spot cleaned by yourself without the need for special profesional rug cleaning. If you have spilled water on your rug, don't worry as it won't harm the rug, just blot it dry with a cloth towel.
Spot-cleaning your rug
To spot-clean a spill, dirt or other material out of your rug, you will need warm water and a cloth towel. Simply wet the towel in the water and blot the area clean. You may need to change the water once or twice. You will know the area is clean when the water you squeeze out of the rag is clean.
Depending on what has dirtied the rug, you may consider waiting for it to dry, so that much of it can be vacuumed off before blotting it clean (See our related rug care article that discusses specific time sensitive issues such as cleaning pet pee out of a rug as soon as possible, and avoiding prolonged dampness).
Vacuuming your rug
In almost all instances, regular vacuuming of an oriental rug with an electric vacuum cleaner is good for the rug, however if not done properly, damage can occur, particularly to the fringe. A dirty rug wears prematurely, and regular vacuuming helps prevent dirt on the surface of the rug from filtering down into the pile where it can accumulate and cause increased wear on the foundation of the rug. Still, be careful with a cleaner equipped with a power brush or "beater bar"; these powered brushes in the vacuum head help the vacuum do a good job on machine-made carpeting, but they cause a raking effect on the top layer of a handwoven rug's pile if used too strenuously. If your vacuum cleaner has a power brush, use it only occasionally and lightly on your oriental rug. For routine cleaning, use just the vacuum attachment designed for hard floors. Frequently fringes get caught and chewed up by the rotating mechanism of the brush. If you pull the vacuum backwards over the fringe (away from the rug), the fringe will not be caught by the power head of the vacuum.
You may have noticed that your handmade rug has a "direction" to the fibers -they are trained in one direction. Because of this you will see a slightly different sheen when looking at it from different sides. Because of this direction the fibers take, it is best to vacuum first one direction, then the other to insure that the vacuum remove debris effectively.
A short list of "Dont's"
- Don't use solvents or cleaners on your rug as even natural cleaners may alter the colors of your rug.
- Don't rub or scrub the rug as this may damage the fibers. Instead blot the area by pressing downward.
- Don't use paper towels. Although they won't harm your rug, they they may leave particles behind.
- Don't vacuum forward over the "fringe" of your rug - the loose yarns that stick out from two sides of a rug - the vacuum may damage these fringes or pull them from the rug. If you need to clean the fringe, pull the vacuum backwards over the fringe (away from the rug), the fringe will not be caught by the power head of the vacuum.
Professional rug cleaning
We recommend having your rug hand washed by a professional only if it is actually dirty, or every couple years. This will clean out the debris particles that may have gotten deep down into the pile where it can accumulate and cause increased wear on the foundation of the rug. This is a specialized process just for handmade rugs. We can refer you to a handwashing service, which is the recommended method for cleaning any good, wool rug. Your rugs will come back to you feeling soft, colors brightened, and clean. Feel free to send us a note with the size of your rug and where you live. We will respond with instructions on where to take your rug or send it via UPS, and an approximate price.