How To Clean A Persian Rug – The Complete Guide


Persian rugs can instantly beautify any room! Their intricate designs and beautiful, bold colors remain unrivaled by other rugs. However, these rugs can accumulate dirt rather quickly, instantly making them appear less vibrant. Over time, your rug will look dingy if you do not properly maintain and clean your Persian rug. These tips and tricks will help you clean your rugs, and keep them clean.

How Often Should I Clean My Persian Rug?

It’s important to consider how often you clean your rug so that you can come up with a Persian rug cleaning schedule that will work for you. If you clean your rug too often, it can result in loose fibers and your rug will not last as long. However, if you don’t clean your rug often enough you’ll wind up with a rug that looks dirty and unappealing.

Rugs that are placed in high traffic areas or in homes with toddlers and pets need to be vacuumed once per week.

However, rugs that are placed in low traffic areas or in homes that do not have pets and small children may only need to be cleaned every few months. Keep an eye on your rug, and clean it once it begins to look dusty.

How Often Should I Deep Clean A Persian Rug?

Persian rugs need to be deep cleaned at least twice per year, or every six months. Rugs that are in high traffic areas should be deep cleaned once per year but will need more routine maintenance, such as shaking them or vacuuming them.

Can You Steam Clean A Persian Rug?

When cleaning your Persian rug, it’s important to note that you should never steam clean oriental rugs. Persian rugs are made from natural fibers that can hold onto water, resulting in a musty smell or mold growth.

Avoid Using A Carpet Cleaner

Carpet cleaners are designed for carpets. Most of the time, they are fine to use on synthetic materials. However, they do cause a significant amount of damage, especially to natural wool fibers. Instead of using the same methods that you would use to clean carpet, it’s important to learn how to clean a Persian rug by hand.

Shake The Dirt Out Of Small Rugs

Shaking the dirt out of a rug is the easiest way to keep wool rugs clean. Simply pick up your rug and give it a few shakes. This can remove loose dirt that gets trapped in between the natural fibers of your hand knotted rug. Shaking a rug is easy if you have a small rug, and does not do the same damage that other cleaning methods do.

Beat The Dirt Out Of Large Area Rugs

If you have a large Persian rug, it can be impossible to shake the dirt out. Instead, take it outside and hang it over a clothesline. Use a rug beater or a broom to beat the rug. This will remove extra particles of dirt that are in between the fibers.

Use A Vacuum Cleaner Sparingly

Vacuum cleaners can be wonderful for removing small particles of dirt, but they can also cause a significant amount of damage to rugs. Vacuum cleaners pull on the fibers, which will give you loose frayed fibers over time. The roller brush on a vacuum cleaner can also damage rugs. It’s important to turn this off whenever vacuuming your rug.

Rugs need to be vacuumed once weekly if in high traffic areas. If they are in low traffic areas, vacuum them bi-weekly or monthly to remove dust.

Use A Lint Roller To Remove Pet Hair

Using a brush or the roller brush on your vacuum to remove pet hair can damage your antique rug. Instead, pick up a lint roller that you would use to remove hair and lint from clothing. Run this over your rug as needed.

Spot Cleaning Stains

To take care of stains, it’s important to spot clean your rug. You do not want to hand wash your entire rug to remove a few small coffee stains.

Blot Spills To Absorb As Much Liquid As You Can

Instead, make sure to clean spills as soon as they happen. This will guarantee that small stains don’t turn into stubborn stains. Use an old towel or a paper towel and blot the spill to absorb any remaining liquid.

Blot Away The Stain

Then, mix a mild detergent with clean water to form a detergent water cleaning solution. Dip a sponge in this and blot the stain. Avoid scrubbing or using excess abrasives, such as the abrasive side of a cleaning sponge. This will damage the rug.

Rinse With Warm Water

Then, use a second sponge to rinse away the detergent water. Dip the sponge in a bowl of water, and blot the stain. This will slowly rinse the detergent out of the rug. This is all that will be necessary for minor stains. You may have to repeat this process for harder stains.

Make Sure It Dries Thoroughly

Persian rugs are typically made from natural wool fibers. This fiber is known for growing mold or mildewing if it is not given enough time to dry. Point a fan on your rug and make sure that it feels dry. Then, flip your rug over to expose the underneath of the rug to the circulating air.

To help your rug dry faster, place towels on the underside of the rug and on top of the rug. Then, gently walk on the towels. This will help the towels absorb the excess water that is in the rug.

Avoid using direct sunlight to help the rug dry after spot cleaning it. Sunlight can damage rugs. Wool Persian rugs should only be exposed to sunlight on rare occasions to prevent excessive damage.

How To Deep Clean A Persian Rug At Home

Deep cleaning your Persian rug can help you save hundreds of dollars every year. The most popular way to do this is by blotting the entire rug. Work in sections that are two feet squares, and carefully blot each section with a sponge and detergent water. Then, use a clean sponge to absorb the detergent water. It’s the same method used for blotting away stains, but you would need to do this for the entire rug.

How To Handwash A Persian Rug

Another common method of deep cleaning a Persian rug is to handwash the rug. It’s best to do this DIY project outside where you have more room to work. Make sure that you have a garden hose and space to hang your rug, such as a clothesline.

Check For Color Fastness

The last thing that you want is to soak your rug with water just to watch the colors bleed. Check the tag on your rug to determine whether this will be an issue. If the rug tag states that the colors may bleed, it’s best to avoid handwashing your Persian rug. Instead, use a blotting method on the entire rug.

Hang The Rug Up And Soak It In Water

Next, hang your rug on the clothesline. Make sure that your rug is very secure in place, and that your clothesline can handle a little extra weight. Rugs can be very heavy when they are wet.

Then, get out your hose to get the rug wet. We recommend that you use cold water for this because hot water can damage the natural wool fibers. Colors are also more likely to bleed if you use hot water.

Wash The Rug

To wash your rug, you need a bucket with the cleaning solution of your choice. You can mix white vinegar with cold water to create your own DIY rug cleaning solution. The vinegar will help remove stains, clean your rug and neutralize odors. You can also use a gentle water detergent mixture or rug shampoo.

Once you have mixed your cleaning solution, gently work it into your rug using a soft sponge, washcloth, or hand. Scrub gently to avoid damaging your rug.

Rinse Out The Cleaning Solution

To rinse your rug, spray it with cold water until there is no remaining cleaning solution on your rug. Use a water hose to make this process easier.

Make Sure That Your Rug Dries Completely

After soaking your rug with cool water, it’s critical to make sure that your Persian rug dries completely. If it does not dry after exposure to water, it will mildew.

Your rug needs to dry as quickly as possible. If it is left in the sun to dry for a long period of time, it will become a breeding ground for bacteria and smell musty. Wool rugs will start to turn yellow if they are left in the sun for too long.

To help your wool area rugs dry, use more than one drying method. Ring your rug out to remove excess water. Use an extension cord to point fans on your rug to speed up drying time. After one side is dry, don’t forget to turn your rug around to dry the other side in the sun.

Keep in mind that deep cleaning your rug is only necessary 1-2 times per year. If you deep clean it more than that, the constant exposure to sunlight can damage your rug, making it decrease in value.

To learn more about Persian rugs, read the rest of our blogs!