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How To Clean Oriental Rugs

How To Clean Oriental Rugs


How To Clean Oriental Rugs: Cleaning Oriental rugs requires a delicate and specialized approach to preserve their intricate beauty and cultural significance. These rugs, woven with exceptional craftsmanship and rich history, deserve careful attention during the cleaning process to maintain their colors, patterns, and texture. Understanding the rug’s material, dye, and construction is crucial to selecting the appropriate cleaning method, as improper cleaning can lead to irreversible damage.

We will explore step-by-step instructions on how to clean Oriental rugs effectively and safely. From routine maintenance to addressing specific stains and spills, we will cover various cleaning techniques suitable for different types of Oriental rugs. Whether your rug is made of wool, silk, or a blend of materials, our guide will equip you with the knowledge to preserve its beauty and prolong its lifespan. Let’s embark on this journey of preserving the splendor of Oriental rugs through proper cleaning practices.

By the end of this guide, you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and confidence to clean your Oriental rugs effectively, ensuring they remain timeless pieces of art that adorn your home with beauty, history, and cultural significance.

How To Clean Oriental Rugs

Can you wash an oriental rug at home?

It’s important to use gentle cleaning supplies with oriental rugs. Any harsh chemicals could cause serious damage to the rug fibers and the rug pad or they could bleach the rug. Your first option is a heavily diluted home cleaning solution. Add cold water in a small bucket and add a small amount of mild dish soap.

While it is possible to wash an Oriental rug at home, it is essential to exercise caution and use the right techniques to avoid damaging the rug. Washing an Oriental rug involves more than simple spot cleaning and requires thorough cleaning of the entire rug.

Before attempting to wash an Oriental rug at home, consider the following:

Material and Dye: Identify the rug’s material and dye to determine if it is colorfast and suitable for washing. Some rugs may have dyes that are not stable and could bleed during washing.

Size and Weight: Oriental rugs can be heavy and difficult to handle, especially when wet. Ensure you have the appropriate space and equipment to handle the rug during the washing process.

Cleaning Solution: Use a mild cleaning solution suitable for the rug’s material. Avoid harsh chemicals and detergents that could damage the fibers or alter the colors.

Drying: Properly drying the rug is crucial to prevent mold and mildew growth. Ensure you have sufficient space and ventilation for the rug to dry completely.

Professional Assistance: If you have any doubts or concerns about washing the rug at home, consider seeking professional rug cleaning services. Professionals have the expertise and equipment to clean Oriental rugs safely and effectively.

What do professionals use to clean Oriental rugs?

Professional oriental rug cleaners will use a dusting machine to vibrate out all the dry soil from deep in the pile of the oriental rug. The rug will then be placed in a cold-water cleaning pit, where the rug is submerged in the water and cleaning shampoo.

Professionals use a combination of specialized techniques, equipment, and cleaning solutions to clean Oriental rugs effectively and safely. Here are some of the methods commonly employed by professional rug cleaners:

Dusting: Oriental rugs are often first dusted thoroughly to remove embedded dirt and debris. Professionals use specialized rug dusting machines that vibrate and shake the rug, dislodging dirt that has settled deep within the fibers.

Immersion Cleaning: For deep cleaning, professionals may use immersion cleaning, where the entire rug is submerged in water and a gentle cleaning solution. This method ensures a thorough cleaning of the rug’s fibers without causing damage.

Hand-Washing: Delicate Oriental rugs, especially those made of silk or antique pieces, may undergo meticulous hand-washing. Experts use mild cleaning solutions and gentle techniques to preserve the rug’s intricate patterns and colors.

pH-Balanced Cleaning Solutions: Professionals use pH-balanced cleaning solutions that are specifically formulated for Oriental rugs. These solutions effectively remove stains and dirt while being gentle on the rug’s fibers and dyes.

Controlled Drying: After cleaning, professionals ensure proper drying of the rug to prevent mold and mildew growth. They use controlled drying techniques, sometimes with the aid of fans or dehumidifiers, to ensure the rug dries thoroughly without damage.

Fringe Cleaning: Oriental rug fringes are delicate and require special attention. Professionals may use gentle methods to clean and brighten the fringes without causing them to unravel or tangle.

Can I shampoo an Oriental rug?

Vacuum both sides well. Shampoo the rug with cool water and mild liquid soap or rug shampoo (don’t use strong detergents, ammonia water or sudsy ammonia water). TEST FOR COLOR RUN IN A SMALL AREA FIRST. Use a soft, long haired brush or a firm, non-shedding sponge.

Shampooing an Oriental rug can be a risky undertaking and is generally not recommended for several reasons. While some DIY carpet shampoos may claim to be suitable for rugs, Oriental rugs have unique characteristics that require special care and attention.

Firstly, shampooing can cause excessive moisture to penetrate the rug’s fibers, leading to prolonged drying times and the risk of mold or mildew growth. Oriental rugs are often made of natural materials, like wool or silk, which can be sensitive to moisture and may shrink or lose their shape if not dried properly.

Secondly, standard carpet shampoos may contain harsh chemicals that can damage the delicate fibers and dyes of the rug. Oriental rugs often have intricate patterns and vibrant colors that need to be preserved, making it essential to use cleaning solutions specifically formulated for these types of rugs.

Instead of shampooing, it is advisable to opt for professional rug cleaning services that have experience in handling Oriental rugs. Professionals use specialized cleaning techniques and gentle, pH-balanced cleaning solutions that are tailored to the rug’s material and dye. They can effectively remove dirt and stains while safeguarding the rug’s beauty and longevity.

Do Oriental rugs need to be cleaned?

Rug Cleaning professionals recommend cleaning your rugs every 1-3 years depending on traffic and soiling. For your investment grade rugs, antiques, and really all wool products, it is best to have the rugs professionally washed- this is a much deeper clean than a topical clean that we can perform in your home.

Yes, Oriental rugs do need to be cleaned regularly to maintain their beauty, hygiene, and longevity. As with any household item, rugs accumulate dirt, dust, and debris over time, especially in high-traffic areas. If left uncleaned, this build-up can cause the rug to look dull and worn, affecting its overall aesthetic appeal.

Regular cleaning helps to prevent deep soiling, which can lead to the degradation of the rug’s fibers and colors. It also removes allergens and pollutants trapped within the rug, contributing to a healthier indoor environment, especially for individuals with allergies or respiratory issues.

Cleaning Oriental rugs is essential for preserving their intricate designs and patterns. Oriental rugs often hold cultural and historical significance, and proper care ensures their heritage is passed down through generations. Regular maintenance and cleaning also help prevent stains from setting in, making it easier to address spills and accidents promptly.

While regular vacuuming can help remove surface dirt, professional cleaning services are necessary to deeply clean and rejuvenate the rug. Professional cleaners have the expertise, specialized equipment, and gentle cleaning solutions required to clean Oriental rugs safely and effectively without causing damage to the delicate fibers or dyes.

How To Clean Oriental Rugs

What are the essential steps for maintaining Oriental rugs to prevent deep soiling?

Maintaining Oriental rugs through proper care and regular maintenance is crucial to preventing deep soiling and preserving their beauty and longevity. Here are the essential steps for effective Oriental rug maintenance:

Regular Vacuuming: Vacuum the rug at least once a week, and more frequently in high-traffic areas. Use a vacuum cleaner with adjustable height and a brush or beater bar attachment. Avoid using the vacuum’s beater bar on delicate rugs made of silk or wool to prevent fiber damage.

Rotate the Rug: Periodically rotate the rug to ensure even wear and tear. This practice helps prevent excessive soiling in specific areas and maintains the rug’s appearance over time.

Use a Rug Pad: Place a high-quality rug pad under the Oriental rug to provide cushioning and prevent slipping. Rug pads also protect the rug and the flooring underneath from damage.

Avoid Direct Sunlight: Oriental rugs are susceptible to fading when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. To preserve their vibrant colors, position the rug away from direct sunlight or use window coverings to filter the light.

Address Spills Promptly: Act swiftly when spills occur. Blot the affected area immediately with a clean, white cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing, as it may spread the spill and lead to staining.

Professional Cleaning: Engage professional rug cleaning services every 1-3 years, depending on the rug’s condition and foot traffic. Professional cleaning removes embedded dirt and grime, rejuvenates the fibers, and maintains the rug’s original luster.

How do you identify the material and dye of an Oriental rug before cleaning?

Identifying the material and dye of an Oriental rug before cleaning is essential to determine the appropriate cleaning method and prevent potential damage. Here’s how to go about it:

Consult the Rug’s Label or Documentation: If available, check the rug’s label or any accompanying documentation that came with the rug at the time of purchase. This information often provides details about the rug’s material and cleaning instructions.

Examine the Rug’s Back: Carefully flip the rug over to inspect the back. Look for telltale signs that can reveal the material used. For example, wool rugs typically have a soft and fuzzy back, while silk rugs have a smooth and shiny appearance.

Perform a Burn Test: Take a small fiber or fringe from an inconspicuous area of the rug and perform a burn test in a safe and controlled environment. Different materials produce distinct smells and residues when burned. For instance, wool burns with a smell similar to hair, while silk burns with a characteristic scent.

Test for Colorfastness: To determine the dye’s stability, apply a small amount of water or mild detergent solution to an inconspicuous area and blot with a white cloth. If the dye transfers to the cloth, the rug is not colorfast, and extra caution is needed during cleaning.

Seek Professional Evaluation: If you are unsure about the rug’s material or dye, consult a professional rug cleaner or appraiser. They have the expertise to identify the rug’s characteristics accurately and recommend suitable cleaning methods.

Are there specific DIY cleaning solutions suitable for different types of Oriental rugs?

Yes, there are specific DIY cleaning solutions suitable for different types of Oriental rugs, catering to their unique materials and construction. However, it’s crucial to test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the rug first to ensure it won’t cause discoloration or damage. Here are some DIY cleaning solutions tailored for various Oriental rug types:

Wool Rugs: For wool rugs, a gentle DIY solution can be made by mixing a small amount of mild liquid dish soap with water. Dab the stained area gently with a clean cloth soaked in this solution, working from the outer edge inward, and avoid excessive rubbing to prevent fiber damage.

Silk Rugs: Silk rugs require extra care due to their delicate nature. A DIY solution for silk rugs can involve mixing a small amount of white vinegar with water. Lightly dab the stained area with a cloth dampened in this solution, followed by blotting with a clean, dry cloth.

Cotton Rugs: A DIY cleaning solution for cotton rugs can be made by mixing mild detergent with water. Dab the stained area gently with a cloth soaked in this solution, ensuring thorough rinsing with clean water afterward.

Natural Fiber Rugs (e.g., jute, sisal): These rugs can be cleaned with a DIY solution made by mixing a small amount of mild detergent with water. Use a clean cloth to blot the stained area, and avoid oversaturating the rug with water to prevent damage to the natural fibers.

Synthetic Rugs: Synthetic Oriental rugs can be cleaned with a DIY solution using a small amount of mild detergent and warm water. Gently dab the stained area with a clean cloth soaked in this solution, and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

How can you perform a colorfastness test to ensure safe cleaning on an Oriental rug?

Performing a colorfastness test is crucial before attempting to clean an Oriental rug, as it helps ensure that the dyes used in the rug are stable and won’t bleed or fade during the cleaning process. Here’s how to perform a colorfastness test:

Choose an inconspicuous area: Select a small, hidden section of the rug, such as the corner or an area under furniture, where any potential color changes will not be noticeable.

Prepare the testing solution: Mix a small amount of the cleaning solution you plan to use for the rug. If you are unsure about the cleaning solution, a safe option is to use a mixture of mild liquid dish soap and water.

Apply the solution: Dampen a clean white cloth or cotton swab with the testing solution and gently dab it onto the selected area of the rug. Be careful not to oversaturate the rug.

Blot and observe: After applying the solution, blot the area with a clean white cloth to remove any excess liquid. Allow the tested area to air dry completely.

Check for color changes: Once the area is dry, examine the rug to see if any color changes, bleeding, or fading has occurred. If there are no visible changes, the rug is likely colorfast and safe to clean using the selected solution.

If any color changes or bleeding is observed during the test, it’s essential to avoid using that cleaning solution on the entire rug, as it may cause irreparable damage. In such cases, seek professional help to clean the Oriental rug safely and preserve its beautiful colors and patterns.

How To Clean Oriental Rugs


Cleaning Oriental rugs is a delicate and specialized process that requires careful attention to preserve their intricate beauty and cultural significance. By following the essential steps of regular maintenance, spot cleaning spills promptly, and using appropriate DIY cleaning solutions, we can effectively prevent deep soiling and extend the lifespan of these exquisite rugs.

Identifying the material and dye before cleaning is crucial to ensure safe and effective cleaning methods. Performing a colorfastness test before using any cleaning solution is a crucial precaution to prevent color bleeding or fading during the cleaning process.

For heavily soiled or valuable Oriental rugs, professional rug cleaning services are recommended. Experts possess the knowledge, equipment, and expertise to deep clean the rugs without causing any damage, maintaining their original luster and charm.

By adhering to these guidelines, Oriental rug owners can take pride in preserving the beauty and cultural heritage of their rugs, enjoying their splendor and elegance for generations to come. Proper cleaning not only enhances the appearance of these rugs but also ensures they remain timeless works of art, adorning homes with grace and historical significance.


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Sophia is a creative and passionate entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Bubble Slides, a rapidly growing company that designs and produces innovative and eco-friendly children's water slides. She continues to innovate and improve her products, always keeping in mind the well-being of children and the environment.

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