How to Clean a Hand-Knotted Wool Rug

Smaller, hand-knotted wool rugs can be cleaned by hand using gentle liquid soap and cool water. Vinegar and water are also effective cleaners.

A hand-knotted wool [rug](https://society6com/rugs?utm_source=SFGHG&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=8775) is a work of art -- a testament to the individual who crafted it.  It's one-of-a-kind, and, as such, it should be treated accordingly.

Oriental rugs are the hand-knotted woolen rugs that you see most often. 

The natural oils in the wool repel stains; the colors don't run; and the rug should be hand-washed.  However, wool rugs are heavy.

A room-sized rug should be professionally washed every few years, depending on the amount of traffic it's experienced.  A smaller, hand-knotted wool rug can be hand-cleaned and its nap returned to the shine it displayed when brand new.

The Dirty Test

Test the cleanliness of your rug by lifting a corner of it off the floor, bending it and **examining the base** of the fibers.  If you see dirt, it's time to clean it.

Another method is to rub over the surface of the rug with a damp, clean white cloth.  If dirt transfers, it's time to clean it.

Vacuum or Shake First

If the rug is small enough, **shake** out the **ground-in dirt** A vacuum will remove most of the dirt as well, but before you use it, turn off the rotary beater.  [Vacuum with the nap](http://bashianrugcom/care-and-maintenance/) and be careful not to tangle the fringe in the machine.

Turn the rug over and **vacuum** the **bottom** to catch residual dirt and grit. 

Full-Rug Cleaning

To completely wash a hand-knotted wool rug, take it outside and put in on the driveway or patio.  Thoroughly wet the rug with a **hose** and **cool water**, and hand-rub gentle wool cleaner into the nap.

Using a large, soft sponge, scrub lightly in a **linear motion**, always going in the **direction of the nap**.  Rinse thoroughly with the hose; then move the rug to a dry spot, preferably in the sun.

A rotating fan helps the wool dry.  If the rug is small enough, spread it over a slatted lounge chair to air out the underside.

When the top has dried, turn it over to dry the back.  Vacuum again to restore the nap.

Spot Cleaning

**Water** is one of the best cleansing agents for a wool rug.  A wet, color-safe cloth run over the nap should remove surface stains.

**Club soda** is another safe spot remover; the bubbles lift and help remove a stain.  Always blot the excess fluid from the rug.

A light-duty machine also cleans the rug, but don't use a soapy solution.  Mix 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar with a gallon of water to clean the rug, always cleaning in the direction of the nap.

If the rug is on a wood or laminated floor, **put plastic underneath** the rug to protect the flooring.  Dry the rug by propping it up from the underside and allowing air to pass over the weave.

A hair dryer also works when drying a small spot. 


Do not clean the fringe with anything except clean water. Bleach changes its color and destroys the fibers.

Things You Will Need

  • Vacuum with clean soft brushes and a clean bag.
  • Woolsafe certified carpet cleaner
  • Clean white towel
  • Household cleaner
  • Soft brush

About the Author

Jann Seal is published in magazines throughout the country and is noted for her design and decor articles and celebrity *in-home* interviews. An English degree from the University of Maryland and extensive travels and relocations to other countries have added to her decorating insight.