How to Clean a Wool Rug

Amber Kelsey

Rugs add a lot of warmth, comfort and color to your living space. Although wool rugs tend to be more expensive than other types, they also have excellent crush resistance, resilience and durability. Unfortunately, wool rugs are only moderately resistant to stains from spills, foot traffic, dirt and dust.

Wool rugs need regular cleaning to prevent color fade.

Regularly clean your wool rug to keep the colors from turning dull or faded.

  1. Vacuum your wool rug thoroughly two or three times a week to remove any loose fuzz, surface dust and dirt. Remove surface particles before they work their way deeper into your rug and become harder to remove, notes the Colorado State University Extension. These particles can also scratch the wool fibers and make your rug look worn.

  2. Give your wool rug a good shake. Take smaller rugs outside and shake them after vacuuming to get rid of excess particles. Dust and dirt can scratch the wool fibers.

  3. Trim your wool rug. Wool rugs tend to get pills from the fibers tangling up and forming hard, little masses. Sprouting occurs when a tuft of wool rises above the pile of your rug. Gently trim off any pills or sprouts, using a pair of sharp scissors.

  4. Spot-clean your wool rug. Mix 1 tsp. of mild laundry detergent in a small bucket of cold water. Gently apply the solution to the soiled area with a clean, white cloth and blot dry. Repeat until the stain comes off. Rinse the spot with cold water, cover the area with a stack of paper towels and allow your rug to dry thoroughly. Gently brush the pile back into place with your fingertips.

  5. Deep-clean your rug. Most wool rugs need a deep cleaning about once a year to remove ground-in soils and stubborn grime. Either hire a professional to deep-clean your rug or rent a rug cleaning machine. Follow your rug manufacturer's recommendations to choose a deep-cleaning solution.


New wool rugs tend to shed little balls of loose fiber. This is natural and typically stops within the first year of use.


Never rub or scrub your wool rug because you can wear down the fibers and cause matting. Test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous section of your wool rug before applying it to a larger area. Never use bleach or abrasive cleansers on your rug because they damage wool fibers.