We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services.More

How to Clean a Wool Rug

Although wool rugs can mostly be kept tidy with regular vacuuming, you’ll probably want to give them a more thorough cleaning about once a year. Learn how to clean a wool rug and remove troublesome stains with this quick and handy guide.

Author Icon Written by Brenda Woods Updated 02/24/2024

Wool rugs are renowned for their durability and longevity. In fact, some wool rugs have been passed down through families for generations. As a material for rugs, wool keeps floors warm and contains a natural substance that repels dirt and bugs. However, given their place on the floor, these rugs require a bit of maintenance to keep clean. Since wool rugs are often pricey, you’ll want to protect your investment by giving them a good scrub from time to time.

For help with this and other cleaning projects, The Cleaning Authority offers its professional services in 45 states across the country—all but Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, West Virginia, and Wyoming. This company’s professional cleaners have the expertise and the correct products to clean your home to your satisfaction. Get a free estimate today by visiting The Cleaning Authority’s website.

To learn how to clean a wool rug area yourself, keep reading.

How to Keep a Wool Rug Clean

The best way to reduce the time needed to clean a wool rug is to prevent it from getting too dirty in the first place. You can do this by keeping dirty, muddy shoes off the rug. Make sure to vacuum the rug at least twice a month—more if it’s in a high-traffic area or if you have pets. Treat any stains as soon as possible, and use a little bit of distilled white vinegar to remove pet odors.

Wool rugs are extremely durable, and if you maintain them, they can last a lifetime. They should be rotated every six months so that they will wear evenly. With regular vacuuming, a wool rug should only need a substantial cleaning about once a year. For wall-to-wall wool carpeting or particularly valuable rugs, you’ll probably want to hire a professional, but you can give other wool rugs a good surface scrubbing yourself.

Steps to follow
For that once-a-year cleaning, you may want to wait for a warm, sunny day so you can take the project outside. If that’s not possible, pick an area with a large, clean floor surface that can get wet, or you can lay down a clean, waterproof tarp.

Shake Out Dust and Dirt

Start by taking both the rug and the pad outside. Drape the rug over a clothesline, a porch railing, or a few sturdy chairs and beat it well with a broom. Hardware stores also sell specially made rug beaters for this purpose. Beat the rug pad as well, if it needs it, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning it.

Once you’ve loosened up any dirt and grime in the rug, you can vacuum it thoroughly. If the rug has fringe, start in the middle and vacuum out toward the edges, taking care to avoid the fringe. You can clean this with a smaller hand vacuum if you need to. Make sure to flip the rug over to vacuum both sides.

Clean in Small Sections

With this finished, fill two buckets with water. In one bucket, add a small amount of a wool-safe detergent. Don’t use regular laundry detergent or bleach, which may cause colors to bleed. Starting at one end of the rug and working in small sections, sponge the detergent mixture onto the rug and scrub gently. Be careful not to over-wet the rug—wool can absorb a lot of water, and you don’t want to get soap and moisture deep into the fibers.

Rinse each section immediately after scrubbing it with a sponge dipped in the clean water. Again, don’t use too much water, and make sure both sponges stay clean to avoid pushing more dirt back into the rug. Once you’ve rinsed away as much soap as you can, blot the section dry with a towel. Repeat this process on each section of the rug.

Let the Rug Dry

It’s very important to get the rug completely dry so that moisture doesn’t remain trapped in the wool fibers. Hang the rug up outside or place it near a heavy-duty fan to speed this process up, but even then, keep in mind that this can take several hours. If you washed the rug pad, also give it time to dry fully before putting it back in place. You can take this opportunity to clean the floor that would normally be covered by the rug.

How to Clean Stains off a Wool Rug

Stains that get deep into the pile of the rug are best handled by professionals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do some stain-fighting yourself. For liquid spills, always blot gently with something absorbent like a paper towel, being careful not to spread the liquid or push it deeper into the rug. For spills with solids, scrape up any staining material on top of the rug with a spoon or spatula. The exception is mud, which will actually be easier to remove once it has dried.

There are specialized products for stains on wool, but never apply these directly to the rug. Instead, put them on a cloth or sponge and dab this onto the stain. You may want to test any cleaners on an inconspicuous spot first to make sure they don’t damage the rug.

If you have many of these rugs in your home, wool rug cleaning can be a lot to keep up with. For help, consider hiring a professional cleaning service like The Cleaning Authority. Visit the company’s website to learn about its services and get a free quote.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.