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How to Clean Oriental Rugs - Can You Do It at Home?

How to Clean Oriental Rugs - Can You Do It at Home?

Are you a proud owner of a beautiful Oriental rug, but wonder, “How to clean Oriental rugs?” Well, you’re not alone. These exquisite pieces of artistry and tradition deserve the utmost care to maintain their timeless beauty. While professional cleaning services are an option, learning how to clean your Oriental rugs at home can save you both time and money. 

In this guide, we’ll take you through a step-by-step journey of preserving and reviving the elegance of your Oriental rug right in the comfort of your home. So, let’s embark on this cleaning adventure and bring back the splendor of your cherished rug.

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How to Clean Oriental Rugs - Can You Do It at Home?

How to Inspect Your Oriental Rugs Before Cleaning?

Before cleaning your Oriental rug, it’s crucial to inspect it diligently. Start by removing loose dirt and debris using a well-maintained vacuum cleaner. Adjust its height to match your rug’s thickness, and pay attention to high-traffic areas. Then, move on to a well-lit area to inspect the rug for stains, spots, or potential damage, noting their locations and types. 

Additionally, carefully check for any signs of damage like tears, frayed edges, or loose threads. Then, document areas that may require special attention or repair. This thorough inspection will guide your cleaning process, ensuring you preserve the rug’s beauty and lifespan.

What Are Suitable Cleaning Tools and Products?

Choosing the right cleaning tools and products is essential for learning how to clean Oriental rug effectively and safely. When it comes to cleaning solutions, opt for mild and gentle products that won’t harm the delicate fibers of your Oriental rug. Here are some suitable choices:

  • Mild Detergent: Use a pH-balanced, mild liquid detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid harsh chemicals or detergents with bleach, as they can damage the colors and fibers of the rug.
  • Vinegar Solution: A mixture of white vinegar and water (about one part vinegar to three parts water) can effectively tackle stains and odors. Ensure the solution is well-diluted.
  • Commercial Oriental Rug Cleaner: There are specialized rug cleaning products available in the market that are designed for Oriental rugs. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.
  • Spot Test: Before applying any cleaning solution to the entire rug, perform a spot test in an unnoticeable area. So, you can ensure it doesn’t cause any color bleeding or damage.

Which Tools Are Suitable for Oriental Rug Cleaning at Home?

Selecting the right tools for cleaning your Oriental rug is equally important to avoid causing any harm. Here’s what you can use:

  • Soft Brushes: Opt for soft-bristle brushes or natural hair brushes that are gentle on the rug’s fibers. Brushes with nylon or hard bristles should be avoided, as they can scratch or damage the surface.
  • Microfiber Cloths: Soft, lint-free microfiber cloths are ideal for gently blotting and cleaning stains without causing abrasion.
  • Sponges: Natural sponges or soft, non-abrasive sponges can be used for blotting and cleaning.
  • Lint Roller: A lint roller with a gentle adhesive can be helpful in picking up loose dirt and debris from the rug’s surface.

How to Properly Remove Stains and Spills on Oriental Rugs?

Removing stains and spills from Oriental rugs requires a delicate touch to avoid damaging the fibers or causing color bleeding. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean an Oriental rug and remove the stains:

    • Act Quickly: The key to successful stain removal is to address the spill as soon as possible. The longer a stain sits, the harder it can be to remove.
    • Blot, Don’t Rub: Use a clean, white, lint-free cloth or paper towel to gently blot the spill. Do not rub the stain, as this can push it deeper into the fibers or spread it.
    • Work from the Outside In: When blotting, start from the outer edges of the stain and work your way toward the center. This prevents the stain from spreading.
  • Use a Mild Cleaning Solution:
    • For water-soluble stains (e.g., coffee, tea, wine, juice), mix a solution of mild liquid detergent (a few drops) with water.
    • For oily or greasy stains (e.g., food, grease, makeup), use a solution of white vinegar diluted with water (about one part vinegar to three parts water).
  • Apply the Solution: Dampen a clean cloth or sponge with the appropriate cleaning solution, and gently blot the stain. Avoid over-saturating the area, as excess moisture can damage the rug’s backing.
  • Rinse with Water: After treating the stain, rinse the area thoroughly with clean water to remove any residual cleaning solution. Blot with a dry cloth to absorb excess moisture.
  • Patience is Key: Repeat the blotting and rinsing process as needed until the stain is no longer visible. Some stains may require multiple attempts.
  • Allow to Air Dry: Once the stain is gone, let the rug air dry completely. Don’t expose it to direct sunlight, as this can cause fading.
  • Consult a Professional: If the stain persists or you’re uncertain how to proceed, it’s best to consult a professional rug cleaner. Attempting aggressive stain removal techniques on your own can lead to irreversible damage.

Different types of stains may require specific treatment methods. So, it’s essential to identify the stain type and choose the appropriate cleaning solution. Always use a gentle touch and take your time to ensure the best possible outcome while preserving the beauty and integrity of your Oriental rug.

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How to Clean Oriental Rugs - Can You Do It at Home?

What Are the Best Hand Washing Techniques for Oriental Rugs

Handwashing Oriental rugs is a meticulous process that requires care and attention to detail. So, no damage will be caused to the delicate fibers and colors. Here are the best handwashing techniques for Oriental rugs:


  1. Prepare a Clean Work Area:
  • Choose a clean, flat surface for washing the rug, preferably outdoors on a sunny day. 
  • Avoid washing on rough surfaces like concrete or gravel to prevent abrasion.
  1. Gather Your Supplies:
  • You will need a soft brush or sponge, a bucket, a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics, clean water, and a hose or a large container for rinsing.
  1. Test for Colorfastness:
  • Before starting, test a small, inconspicuous area of the rug to ensure that the colors do not bleed or fade when exposed to water and detergent.
  1. Dust and Vacuum:
  • Begin by thoroughly shaking and hanging the rug to remove loose dust and dirt. 
  • Follow this by gently vacuuming both sides of the rug to remove any remaining debris.
  1. Prepare the Cleaning Solution:
  • In a bucket, mix a small amount of mild detergent with lukewarm water. 
  • Ensure that the detergent is completely dissolved.
  1. Pre-Treat Stains:
  • If there are any visible stains or spots on the rug, use a soft brush or sponge to lightly agitate the cleaning solution onto the stained areas. 
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes without scrubbing vigorously.
  1. Wash the Rug:
  • Lay the rug flat on your clean surface and wash it section by section. 
  • Use the soft brush or sponge to apply the cleaning solution in gentle, even strokes, following the direction of the rug’s pile.
  1. Rinse Thoroughly:
  • After cleaning a section, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove all traces of detergent. 
  • Be sure to rinse until the water runs clear.
  1. Remove Excess Water:
  • Gently squeeze or press the rug to remove excess water. 
  • Do not wring or twist the rug, as this can damage the fibers.
  1. Air Dry Properly:
  • Hang the rug in a shaded, well-ventilated area to dry. 
  • Avoid direct sunlight, which can cause fading. Make sure both sides of the rug are exposed to air for even drying.
  1. Brush the Pile:
  • Once the rug is completely dry, use a soft brush to fluff and restore the pile to its original texture.
  1. Protect the Fringes:
  • Be gentle with the fringes to prevent tangling or damage. 
  • Comb them out carefully after the rug has dried.
  1. Apply Rug Protector (Optional):
  • Consider applying a rug protector or fabric spray designed for Oriental rugs to help repel future stains and maintain the rug’s appearance.

What Is the Best Drying Method for Oriental Rugs?

The best drying method for Oriental rugs is to hang them outdoors in a shaded area with good ventilation. They shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight, as it can lead to fading of colors. Hanging the rug allows both sides to receive airflow, ensuring even drying. Moreover, it’s crucial to make sure the rug is completely dry before returning it to its original location to prevent mold or mildew growth. 

Additionally, avoid using artificial heat sources like heaters or hairdryers, as excessive heat can damage the rug’s fibers. Patience is key when drying Oriental rugs, as it may take some time, depending on the rug’s size and thickness.

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How to Clean Oriental Rugs - Can You Do It at Home?

How to Brush and Groom Your Oriental Rug?

To brush and groom your Oriental rug:

  1. Select a soft-bristle brush or a specialized rug grooming tool designed for delicate fibers.
  2. Start at one corner of the rug and gently stroke the brush in the direction of the rug’s natural fibers, following the design’s flow.
  3. Avoid applying excessive pressure to prevent damage.
  4. Continue brushing in straight, even motions, working your way across the entire rug.
  5. After brushing in one direction, reverse course and brush from the opposite side to ensure thorough cleaning.
  6. Pay particular attention to the fringes, gently combing them out to prevent tangling.

Regular grooming not only removes surface dirt but also helps maintain the rug’s pile and appearance. It extends its lifespan and preserves its beauty, as well.

How to Deal with Oriental Rugs in High-Traffic Areas?

Oriental rugs in high-traffic areas require special attention to maintain their appearance and longevity. Here are some tips on how to deal with Oriental rugs in such areas:

  1. Use Rug Pads: Place rug pads underneath the Oriental rug to provide cushioning and prevent slipping. Rug pads also help protect the rug from wear caused by foot traffic and reduce friction with the floor.
  2. Rotate Regularly: Rotate the rug periodically to ensure even wear. High-traffic areas can cause uneven fading and wear patterns, so rotating the rug every six months to a year can help distribute wear more evenly.
  3. Frequent Vacuuming: Vacuum the rug frequently, at least once a week, using a vacuum cleaner with adjustable height settings. This prevents dirt and debris from embedding deep into the rug’s fibers and causing damage.
  4. Spot Clean Promptly: Attend to spills and stains promptly to prevent them from becoming permanent. Blot spills with a clean, white cloth and follow the appropriate stain removal techniques mentioned earlier in this guide.
  5. Professional Cleaning: Consider professional cleaning at least once every 1-3 years, depending on the level of foot traffic and soil accumulation. Professional cleaners have the expertise and equipment to deep clean Oriental rugs without causing damage.
  6. Use Welcome Mats: Place welcome mats at entryways to reduce the amount of dirt and debris that makes its way onto the Oriental rug. This simple step can significantly extend the time between cleanings.
  7. Rotate Furniture: If possible, periodically rearrange the furniture in the room to change the traffic patterns and reduce wear on specific areas of the rug.
  8. No Shoe Policy: Encourage family members and guests to remove their shoes before walking on the rug. This can significantly reduce the dirt and grime on the rug.
  9. Pet Care: If you have pets, be extra vigilant about cleaning up pet hair and accidents promptly! The reason is they can be particularly damaging to Oriental rugs.

How Does Professional Cleaning Services Work?

Professional cleaning services for Oriental rugs can be an excellent choice for deep cleaning and restoration. When you’re considering professional cleaning for your Oriental rug, assess whether it’s due for deep cleaning or restoration. For example, you may want to know how to clean fringe on oriental rugs, which is a time-consuming job. This is where getting professional help pays off!

Deep cleaning is a routine maintenance procedure to remove dirt, stains, and odors. On the other hand, restoration involves more extensive work to repair damage, such as tears, fraying, or color fading. Don’t forget to determine the specific needs of your rug before seeking a service.

How to Choose a Reliable and Experienced Rug Cleaning Service?

Here are the steps you can take to choose the right professional Oriental rug cleaner:

  1. Start by researching rug cleaning services in your area. 
  2. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews to identify reputable options.
  3. Ensure that the cleaning service is certified and has experience in handling Oriental rugs.
  4. Discuss the pros and cons of each option with the service provider.
  5. Ask for an assessment and cost estimate before proceeding.
  6. Inquire about any guarantees or warranties offered by the cleaning service, particularly regarding the results of the cleaning process.
  7. After your Oriental rug is cleaned and restored, consider discussing a regular maintenance schedule with the cleaning service.

Final Words

Caring for your Oriental rug is a labor of love. The steps we’ve discussed in this blog can go a long way in preserving its beauty and lifespan. From regular maintenance to considering professional cleaning services, every action contributes to the rug’s well-being.

However, it’s crucial to recognize when the expertise of professionals is needed. When faced with stubborn stains, extensive damage, or simply the desire to give your rug meticulous care, don’t hesitate to call in rug professionals. At Khazai Rug Cleaning, our experienced team is dedicated to providing top-notch care for your treasured rugs. 

Make the wise choice to protect your investment, and let us help you maintain the allure of your Oriental rugs for generations. Contact us today for a consultation and experience the difference professional care can make.

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Rug Cleaning Washington DC 

oriental rug cleaning Washington DC


Author: David Khazai
Author: David Khazai

David Khazai is a 5th-generation rug proficient and certified rug appraiser. As an omniscient author, he explores components and symbolism, making him an exceptional expert in the rug cleaning & repair industry

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