How to Clean and Care for Oriental Rugs

Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Oriental Rugs Vibrant.

Cleaning and Caring for Your Beautiful Oriental Rugs.

Tips for Cleaning, Vacuuming and Caring for Oriental Rugs

I love oriental rugs. They are so vibrant and come in such beautiful patterns.

Being a bargain hunter extraordinaire – it has taken me some time to find the perfect rug, but it was worth it because these rugs are not just beautiful, they are built to last.

So now I’m the proud owner of three antique, hand-woven rugs. I also have 2 smaller machine-made area rugs that are just as beautiful.

The dirty truth is that I may know how to clean, but I’m not perfect and I have slacked off when it comes to keeping a regular cleaning schedule.

Dirt can cause real problems with these rugs – The delicate fabric, the beautiful dyes and the heirloom quality should last for years and years – and they will, but only if they are properly cared for.

The good news is that it’s not very complicated to clean oriental throw rugs. There are just a few things that you need to know.

Types of Oriental Rugs

It all sounds so exotic: Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Persian, Afgan and Tibetan. The name or type of Oriental rug really only specifies the country or region it came from.

Oriental rugs come in many beautiful designs such as they can have the look like of a vintage rug, a traditional looking rug, boho style rugs and more.

The origin and name itself will denote the common pattern or style, weave and maybe the fabric used, but the name on its own doesn’t influence its care or cleaning instructions.

Routine Care

  • Rotate the rug 180 degrees every year. If you want your rug to retain its beautiful appearance, you need to protect it against constant sunlight and foot traffic by rotating it’s position every six months. Rotating your Oriental rug will help to ensure that your rug ages beautifully and its colors stay vibrant.
  • Minimize exposure to dirt and debris. I’m assuming you don’t use your rug to wipe your feet. Try to avoid tracking dirt on the rug to start with by taking off your shoes and adding rugs that are meant to remove dirt and grit in the doorways of all entrances to your home.
  • Protect the rug from moisture. Moisture will not only cause natural fibers to mold and mildew, but disintegrate natural fibers. An old or stale odor caused by mold and mildew can be difficult to completely remove, and mold stains may be permanent.
  • Protect the rug from smoke. Smoke from fireplaces, cigarette smoke, or even exhaust combined with moisture creates an acidic environment that can further hasten your rugs demise.
  • Avoid deep indentations. Move your furniture around. This simple trick will help you avoid making huge dents in the pile of your rug and ruining the fibers.
  • Don’t sit things directly on the rug. Plants, ceramic pots, or other furniture can not only dent the rug, but the lack of air space can allow the natural fibers to rot if moisture is present and no air is circulating.
  • The cleaner the rug is, the longer it will last. Dirt and grit wear down the hemp backing that the rug fabric is woven into. Walking on a dirty rug grinds away at the fibers and backing. The cleaner the rug is the longer it’s beautiful and useful life.


  • Vacuum frequently. Don’t wait until the rug is filthy before you clean it. Dirt and debris are very damaging to oriental carpets. Vacuum your rug at least once a week or more often of needed. Clean both the front and back sides.
  • Vacuum in all directions. Make sure to vacuum in the direction of the pile both forwards and backwards.
  • Vacuum with the pile. Vacuuming with the pile prevents dirt and dust from settling farther into the rug.
  • Vacuum against the pile. Vacuuming against the pile brushes, fluffs and lifts the pile.
  • Finger brush the fringes only. Periodically straighten the fringes with your fingers. The fringe on your Oriental rug can be fragile and a vacuum can pull them up with the suction and both fray and weaken their attachment to the rug itself.
  • Don’t use a vacuum with a beater bar. Use a canister type vacuum only. Avoid vacuuming with a vacuum that uses a rotating brush. Beater bars are hard on oriental rugs and will fray fibers with time.
  • Vacuum the underside several times a year. Flip the rug over and vacuum the rug from the underside to remove dirt and debris lodged deep in the weave.

Keeping Your Oriental Rug Clean

  • Remove your shoes when you enter the house. This will keep dirt and debris from outside off the carpet and it also minimizes wear from hard soled shoes or high heeled shoes.
  • Use floor mats. Floor mats remove dirt and debris that become lodged in your rug and cause all sorts of damage.
  • Switch locations or rug orientation. Rotate rug locations and orientation to reduce wear and tear patterns.
  • Treat your rugs with a water repellant. Scotchgard repels liquid and will help to prevent stains.

Do You Need More Tips To Deep Clean Your Rug?

Below is a link to Part 2 of our Oriental Rug Cleaning Series to deep clean and steam cleaning oriental rugs:

Deep Cleaning Oriental Rugs

Enjoy Your Beautiful Clean Rug!

Now that wasn’t that hard at all, was it?

Remember to clean up any spills immediately, and to vacuum regularly. Your Oriental rug will receive less wear and tear and you won’t need to deep clean as often.

Now you have the knowledge to clean and maintain your rug properly, and your rug is super clean rug too. Great job!