Handmade Rug Cleaning and Maintenance

March 06, 2021

Handmade Rug Cleaning and Maintenance

Handmade Rug Cleaning and Maintenance

You’ve made it through another winter season and Spring has sprung. You may be wondering, how do you go about thoroughly cleaning that handmade rug?  While it's easy to shake it out, what about a thorough Spring cleaning or cleaning before a gathering? Most handmade rugs require professional area rug cleaning, but steps you can take to keep your rug in top shape between professional cleanings.  


Correct Way to Vacuum

When vacuuming, never use the dusting brush, beater brush/bar or any attachment that can push the dirt around, grounding it deeper into the pile.  Instead, always use the suction attachment to remove the dirt from the surface.

Let’s start with the basics.  Vacuuming.  Sounds like a simple notion but not so simple if you've never vacuumed a handmade area rug before.  It's important they don't get sucked up into the rotation device in your sweeper. If your vacuum has a small floor attachment that doesn't use a roller or brush mechanism, use the attachment to sweep both sides of the rug. It will take more time, but it will preserve your rug and prevent damage.

If your vacuum only has a roller/brush mechanism, it's best to take your rug outside and shake it vigorously to remove all of the debris. While the rug is out of the room, sweep the hard floors (or carpet) that surround the rug thoroughly. By keeping the surrounding areas clean, you will minimize the dirt and debris that lands on your rug.

Don’t Forget About Dusting

When heating and cooling systems turn on, they often blow stationary dust around the room. If the room that houses your area rug has an exterior door or is in the path of your home's busy area, regular dusting is essential. Remember, dust and dirt that sits on top of furniture, shelving, and other decor will eventually end up on your floor. Keeping dust under control will reduce the amount that ends up in your rug.  

Rotating Your Area Rug

Periodically, rotate your rug 180 degrees, or in some cases you might be able to rotate it 90 degrees. This will minimize the damage from traffic patterns and debris settling in the same place all the time.

It’s also worth mentioning that traffic is not the only source of rug damage.  The sun is equally offensive.  While some windows are treated with UV coating, older windows are not and can cause fading to your rug over time.  You may consider upgrading your window coverings or adjusting them when the sun is in a position to shine on the rug at peak times during the day. 

Maintenance Cleaning vs Spot Cleaning 


Never attempt to wipe down or spot clean a handmade rug without vacuuming or shaking it out first. If not done properly, the dirt material will be ground in the base of the rug causing it to get stiff, brittle, and ultimately damage your rug. 

Cleaning Agents

Not all cleaning agents are equal and not all are acceptable to use on your handmade rugs.  Chemicals can affect the wool, the silk or even the dye resulting in permanent damage.  Check with the manufacturer or the retailer to ensure you have the correct cleaning agent for the right material.  

Never Steam Clean

It’s never a good idea to steam clean your area rugs.  The heat and steam can shrink the wool fibers and may bleed the dyes. 

Managing Spills

Blotting is by far the best method to pull the liquid out the rug. Rubbing only grounds in the stain. Like furniture or articles of clothing, use club soda or water and a clean towel.  A cleaning agent should not be used until the spill has been blotted and reduced without chemicals.  Depending on the substance and quantity spilled, a cleaning agent may be required, but you should check with your rug retailer before using any detergents or cleaning agents.

Pet Damage

If your pet has an accident on the area rug, the area needs to be thoroughly rinsed to remove the possibility of staining or color damage to your rug.  If possible, transport the rug to a bathtub or a place to catch the rinse; don't soak the entire rug but focus on the region with the pet damage.  If you can't transport the rug to another area, it's OK to set up a bucket or stack of towels with a plastic lining (think of a tarp) to catch the rinse water. 

Unfortunately, once a pet picks a spot for accidents, they may be attracted to that spot and will repeat the offense. A professional area rug cleaning will help to prevent more accidents from happening in the same place. 

Drying Tip

For larger rugs, use objects without surface dyes or stains to lift the area rug off the floor enough for proper air circulation (think of buckets, large pots, or non-wood chairs.  If the rug is very damp, use a portable fan to speed up the process. Always ensure the rug is completely dry before returning it to the floor or you risk damaging the floor and the rug.   

    Maintenance Cleaning  

When should your area rugs be professionally cleaned?  This question really depends on the amount of traffic and type of traffic in your home and how often it intersects your area rugs.

If your rugs are visibly soiled and stained, don’t wait.  Act immediately and locate a professional who can recommend the best cleaning method to prevent damage. If you live near the area rug cleaning provider, many of them offer pick-up and drop-off services. 

Follow these simple guidelines to maintain your handmade area rug's appearance and value for years to come. 

If your rug is showing signs or wear, it might be time for rug restoration services. A reputable luxury area rug dealer will be able to recommend the service that best suits your rug. 

If you're considering replacing your handmade area rug, shop for your perfect area rug by color, style, pattern, or design online. Our showroom is open to the public as well, stop in and see all of our rugs in person.

Shop by style:

Antique Style Rugs

Oriental Rug Store

Persian Style Rugs

Turkish Rugs for Sale

New/Fine Rug Store

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