How to Clean Wool Rugs

How to Clean Wool Rugs

The first step to cleaning your wool rugs is the vacuum them regularly to remove dirt, sand, dust, leaves and all of the other icky stuff we track into our homes every day.

If you can, lightly vacuum them every day. Use a vacuum with a strong beater brush. This will ensure the fibers are being separated and that any ground-in dirt that has accumulated at the bottom of the rug will be picked up.

Don’t sprinkle a commercial deodorizer on a wool rug before vacuuming. If you need to remove odors, sprinkle baking soda on the rug and let stand for 15 minutes before vacuuming.

Cleaning Delicate or Handmade Wool Rugs:

Steam cleaning is usually the recommended method of cleaning delicate, handmade wool rugs. Handmade rugs are not as durable as those made by machine and must be treated with care. Steam won’t harm a handmade rug as long as it is applied properly. To steam clean your rug, you’ll need to rent a steam cleaner if you don’t have one. Follow the directions exactly, as using an incorrect mixture of detergent and water will more than likely damage your rug.

Cleaning Durable or Machine Made Wool Rugs:

If your wool rug is a durable, machine-made rug, you can clean it outside on your patio with cool water, a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush. First, however, vacuum the rug as outlined above to remove all dirt particles from the top layer of the fibers and from deep within the rug. Then:

  • On a sunny day, take the carpet outside and lay it flat on the patio
  • In a small bucket, mix a gallon of warm water with a tablespoon of neutral pH soap
  • Dip the soft-bristled brush into the solution and shake to remove excess liquid
  • Gently brush the rug
  • Allow the rug to dry out of direct sunlight

Don’t use a sponge on a wool rug unless it’s an all-natural one that has not been dyed to change the color. The dye may stain the rug when the sponge gets wet. Some sponges also crumble when used on fabrics like wool, which means you’ll have sponge detritus covering your wool rug.

Don’t scrub the rug to avoid damaging or fraying the carpet fibers. Wool shrinks when exposed to heat. Keep the rug out of direct sunlight.

Coffee, Tea and Urine Stain Removal:

To remove coffee, tea or urine stains, you can use a mild, pH neutral soap mixed with distilled white vinegar and water. Always be sure to test the mixture on a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet first before applying it to a larger area.

  • Start with a 2:1 mixture of water and vinegar (2 cups of water mixed with 1 cup of vinegar)
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the mild, pH neutral soap
  • Dip a clean, lint-free cloth or chamois into the bucket and squeeze to remove excess liquid
  • Lightly dab and blot the stain – don’t rub it
  • Lay paper towels or a clean cloth over the area and allow it to dry

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