How to Clean a Wool Rug

So, you chose a good rug material. Now, this is what to do when it needs cleaning. Find out how to clean a wool rug the best way.

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So, you chose a good rug material. Now, this is what to do when it needs cleaning. Find out how to clean a wool rug the best way.

Tools Required

  • Cleaning rags
  • Paper towels
  • Spatula or butter knife
  • Sponge
  • Spray Bottle
  • Vacuum(preferably with no beater bar)

Materials Required

  • Baking soda
  • Carpet cleaner
  • Dish detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar

A wool rug’s natural fibers are stain-resistant and durable, plus, they deter the growth of bacteria. Wool has been used to make rugs for centuries and wool rugs that are hundreds of years old are still in use. So, you chose a good rug material. Now, this is what to do when it needs cleaning. The following steps will walk you through how to clean a wool rug yourself.

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Project step-by-step (4)

Step 1


vacuum leungchopan/Shutterstock

The first thing you’ll need to do when cleaning a wool rug is to vacuum it, thoroughly

For cleaning wool, your best bet is a vacuum without a beater bar, as the bar may be too aggressive for the wool fibers. If your vacuum has a beater bar, set it high for less abrasion. “Vacuum from side to side, not end-to-end, so you don’t grab the fringe,” Lisa Wagner, known as the Rug Chick, told the New York Times. “Once a year, take the rug outside and vacuum the back to get embedded dirt out that causes fiber wear. Then vacuum the top again. If you whack a corner and see a dust poof, it needs to be washed.”

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Step 2

Remove Stains

Wine Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

If your wool rug has stains, you’ll need to spot clean them. Determine what types of stains you have and proceed as follows:

Removing Red Wine Stains

If the stain is from red wine, this is how Coit Cleaning suggests treating the spot (which is the same as treating this stain on wool carpet).

• If the stain is fresh, blot up any extra liquid with a white paper towel or cloth.

• Pour a small amount of cold water onto the wine spot to dilute what remains of the stain.

• Blot with white paper towels or cloths until you notice that no more of the stain will come out.

• Make a paste by mixing a three to one ratio of water to baking soda and apply the paste to the stain. Once the paste is dry, vacuum the area. Repeat with another treatment of the baking soda paste if the stain is still noticeable.

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Removing Pet Stains

If you need to remove pet stains from a wool rug, grab the white vinegar. Vinegar can also help neutralize odor.

• Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar with 2 cups water in a spray bottle.

• Spray the mixture on the spot and blot the stain thoroughly with white paper towels or cloths.

• “Once you can see that the stain is lifting, start blotting with a dry cloth. You can wait up to 15 minutes with a wet rag on the wool, but longer than that can risk the chance of mold and mildew growth. Be sure that the area is blotted as dry as possible, and then allow your rug to air dry,” according to

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Removing Tomato Sauce Stains

When removing tomato stains from a wool rug, you’ll need to:

• Scrape up as much of the spill as you can with a spatula or butter knife.

• If it’s a fresh stain, blot the stain with white paper towels or cloths to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

• Mix 1/2 tablespoon of mild dish washing liquid with 1 cup of cold water. Dip a sponge or cloth into the water until the cloth or sponge is damp, not wet.

• Blot the mixture on the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes.

• Repeat this until the stain is gone.

Removing Coffee Stains

Coit Cleaning recommends:

• Dilute the stain with a bit of water and blot with white paper towels or cloths until none of the stain transfer on to the towels or cloth.

• If the stain is still visible, use a small amount of white vinegar to dilute the stain (about one tablespoon per cup of water) and continue blotting.

• Let it air dry.

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Removing Makeup, Ink and Nail Polish Stains suggests:

• Soaking a clean white rag with rubbing alcohol and applying it gently to the stain.

• Repeat this until you see the stain lift.

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Step 3

Wet Cleaning

machine via

If you were wondering, yes, it is safe to wet-clean your wool rug, according to Rug Doctor. But, of course, read labels for special instructions before you start cleaning.

If you choose to clean your wool rug with a rented or purchased rug cleaning machine, follow all of the rug-cleaning machine manufacturer’s instructions and test on a small area before making your first full pass.

Also, follow these tips:

• Do use cool or lukewarm water and the smallest amount of shampoo/cleaner recommended by the manufacturer.

• Don’t saturate your wool rug. If you soak the rug, it will take a long time to dry, which means you won’t be able to use it for days. In addition, if the backing of the rug gets wet, any dyes in the backing could bleed through to the rug itself.

• Do extract as much water as you can with the machine and set up blowers or fans to help dry out the rug quickly.

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Step 4

When Should You Hire a Professional?

workerNew Africa/Shutterstock

• If the rug has stains that you have not been able to remove, a professional may have a process that will remove them.

• If your rug is an heirloom and you’re worried about damaging it, a pro may have the knowledge needed to clean it safely.

“Your rug specialist will know how to care for your rug without the risk of potentially damaging it,” says “The life of your rug will be unmistakably extended by routine cleanings by professionals who know how to care for precious wool rugs and treat the toughest stains. Consider this alternative if all options above have failed you!”

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