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Wool Area Rug Cleaning

Updated on December 10, 2011

Wool Area Rug

Clean wool area rug
Clean wool area rug

Do-it-Yourself rug Cleaning or Rug ruining?

Everyone is very price conscience about the non-necessities, which includes area rug cleaning. Unfortunately when it is time to clean your area rug it is hard to ignore especially when you entertain friends and family.

To save some money on cleaning you go to your computer and start a search on how to clean your rugs yourself. You will find a ton of websites and blogs that explain in great detail how to clean rugs. Before you rush off to grab the soap and bucket stop and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Did the article you read talk about synthetic or wool area rugs?
  • Did it describe cleaning wall to wall carpet only but had the title of rug cleaning?
  • Is the person who wrote the article a professional cleaner or a do-it yourself who cleaned their own rugs and had good results?
  • Has the author of the article written any other articles on cleaning or any other topics?
  • Did you feel like the article covered everything you needed to know about do-it-yourself rug cleaning? Explaining every step from start to finish in detail.
  • Did the article give do's and don'ts about cleaning particular rugs or spots?
  • Did you feel like the cleaning method described made sense or seem a bit promotional for a particular product?

I have read many different articles on DIY cleaning from using snow to renting a carpet cleaner, all had some truth contained in them, but not the full truth.

Here is my question to you: Since not all rugs are made the same why would using the same cleaning method work for all rugs?

Answer: It doesn't.

DIY Cleaning equals buying new rug

The Proper way to Clean Rugs

There is no one way of cleaning that works for all area rugs. Using steam or water extraction is the most popular, but if the dyes used in your rug bleed easily, using water will ruin your rug. If the construction of your rug is delicate or if your rug is old using a heavy machines may not be the best. The best way to clean your rugs is by a professional who is trained and preferably also a Wool Safe certified cleaner.

That is why at Luv-A-Rug, in Victoria, BC, we base our cleaning methods on the fiber type and construction of your area rug. Some rugs cannot handle a full wet cleaning or they will get damaged while other rugs can get an immersion cleaning and are great. It is all based on the type of rug and the reason it needs to be cleaned.

Most of the time it is what you cannot see in the area rug that can cause problems. The foundation of your rug, the fiber that the wool is tied around, is it wool or cotton? If it is cotton is it a dyed cotton or natural cotton? Is there also jute in the foundation of you rug? All things that can rear up and cause damage if cleaned improperly.

Some area rugs are laminated together with glue and fabric and these rugs can react badly to getting overly wet. The backing can shrink, they can smell after cleaning from improper drying, the rug can de-laminate and start to fall apart. None are wanted results.

Even though you are trying to save money by personally cleaning your wool rug, take a moment and ask yourself if the rug gets ruined how much will it cost to replace? Can you still buy a rug with the same pattern, design,colours or even size?

Getting your area rugs cleaned isn't an expense you have often, 1-3 years unless you have pets and/or small children. When you have pets and children they can cause more accidents and extra dirt to happen to your rugs. It is something you can plan and budget for. Plus getting your rugs cleaned makes your home healthier and makes you feel better.

When you do have pet accidents get them taken care of right away, do not wait until the puppy is trained and 6-12 months later hope the smell and stains will disappear, they won't especially on wool rugs. The less time urine is in a rug the better. Once the urine settles in the stain becomes permanent and the smell is absorbed by the foundation fiber and becomes much harder to remove.

The best advice to give about cleaning your wool rug:

  • Leave cleaning wool rugs to the area rug professionals.
  • Spot clean as needed. Vacuum the top of your rug with suction only regularly, once a week.
  • Vacuum the back of the rug with the rotating beating bar at least once a month.
  • Do not use any spot cleaners or shampoos that do not say they are wool safe.
  • Never let anyone clean your rugs in home. They can ruin your rug and floor and your rug isn't getting a proper cleaning and drying.
  • Most importantly before using any cleaners on your rug put some of the cleaner on a white cotton towel and test your rug for colour bleed.
  • Always use a white cotton towel to blot your rug.
  • NEVER rub in a circular motion. Always blotting and applying pressure, if you must rub a spot go in straight lines. Moving a towel over a spot can make it smear and become bigger.
  • When in doubt call a professional area rug cleaner.


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