Best Ways to Clean a Wool Rug: Tips and Tricks

Wool is one of the most gentle and soothing natural fibers used to make rugs available on the market today. With their refined quality and luxurious texture, wool rugs give any room a softer appearance, regardless of the motif. Since they tend to be an investment, you need to learn the best way to clean a wool rug properly for long-term use.

The design of a wool rug means it requires much different care than an average one. Others only need vacuuming and steam cleaning at home to maintain their look, due to their tightly-woven fibers and synthetic materials. However, wool requires a little extra care. Luckily, there are multiple methods, depending on your needs.

Routine Cleaning

Your handwoven wool rug needs regular cleaning, but not as consistently as others in your home. The design of wool itself has little natural pockets in the fibers, which hides dirt easily. Since the surface stays clean, give yourself more time between wool rug maintenance sessions. Less cleaning also helps maintain the integrity of the fibers.

Vacuuming is one of the easiest ways to remove the dirt from a wool rug. This cleaning process only needs to be repeated twice a month on the surface. To keep the underside clean, vacuum under it every two months. However, the vacuum you select is just as important as the frequency of the cleaning. When looking for the right machine, seek out one with adjustable suction and no beater bar, to prevent pulling the fibers. 

To reduce the likelihood of stressing out the wool fibers, shaking it out periodically for about 30 to 60 seconds loosens all the dirt particles. Beating it removes the rest of the particles. Be sure to go outdoors for either process to avoid spreading the dirt and dust around your home. Also, make sure to pay attention to both sides of the wool rug when shaking it out or beating it.

Use Snow to Clean

If you have colder weather where you live, use the winter to your advantage by cleaning your wool rug with snow. When the temperatures outside reach freezing and below, place the rug outside on a bed of the snow. Cover it up with about three to five inches of snow, dispersing it all over the rug. After about 15 or 20 minutes, flip the rug and shake out all the loose snow. Allow it to hang for about 30 minutes to evaporate the excess moisture. Within this brief period, the wool rug dries completely, is much cleaner, and ready for use again.

Spot Cleaning

The absorbent texture of a wool rug makes it more susceptible to staining, so you need to clean up any spills right away to prevent the mess from seeping into the pockets. Because stains set in these types of rugs after only 15 minutes, making sure you know how to remove different kinds of stains quickly is important.

For food stains or ointment spills, mix eight parts water with one part vinegar. Add a little dish soap before dabbing the spot with a white paper towel. Absorb the liquid with a dry towel.

Red wine and fruit juices are some of the worst stains for any textile, but a wool rug absorbs it even more quickly. Act fast by coating the stain with salt. The salt draws out the wetness, which you will see in the way the salt color changes. To remove, use a rounded spoon to scoop off the salt.

Pet messes are a big problem also, but you can erase the stain with the same methods you use for perfume or alkaline liquids. Mix a teaspoon of ammonia with a cup of water, and dab the mixture onto the stained wool rug. Use a small metal spoon to disperse a tiny amount of water, in order to rinse away your homemade formula. Blot it dry with a paper towel until all of the moisture is gone. 

Oil, grease, and paint are some of the worst stains to combat, whether it is on clothing, carpets, or other fabrics. However, the solution is simple – nail polish remover. Be careful while treating the stain to avoid spreading it across more of the wool rug than necessary.

Even though you only need a few regular household products to clear up most cotton wool rug messes, there are some stains that are too difficult for the average homeowner. Peroxide, bleach, and other harsh chemicals eat away at the fibers, creating stains that are typically too hard to remove. These cleanups are better left to a professional to keep your wool rug intact.

How NOT to Clean the Rug

Since the tips above help you to clean nearly anything off your rug, you need to know what you should avoid as well. The biggest error that consumers make is to steam clean a wool rug themselves. The reason this method needs to be avoided is that wool should never be completely wet. The natural fibers are too dense and absorbent, causing mold and mildew to form due to the slow-drying nature. Furthermore, steam is much too hot, and the combination of hot water and dirt will only end up making mud.

Protect an indoor wool rug by keeping shoes off it, since shoes track the most dirt around the home. These rugs are best in a home that has minimal pets, and no cigarette smoking indoors. To play it safe, keep your children from doing arts and crafts near this rug since it just takes a single accident to ruin this beautiful decor item. With just a few changes to your routine, you can keep your wool rug clean and beautiful for years to come. 

Before using any of the methods described above, test out the cleaning treatment on a 2x2-inch section of the wool rug to ensure its efficacy and safety. Always avoid rubbing the stain as you clean it. To keep the rug clean, consider using a professional every few years, but not more often than that. Take the time to learn how to clean a wool rug properly to ensure you can use the rug for many years.