How To Clean A Wool Rug
Rugs are preferable to wall-to-wall carpeting on almost every level. The fact that they aren’t fixed to the floor makes them more mobile and so, easier to clean.
START WITH SLIPPERS
The best way to keep your rugs clean is to not get them dirty in the first place. Buy a decent doormat and use it. Most household dirt comes in on the soles of our feet. You know this. Keeping a “shoes off at the door” policy is more than half the battle won already! If you can’t bear to be one those people who demands that guests remove their shoes, just limit your shoe embargo to family members. Make it easy for them by creating a “landing strip” with a chair or bench to remove shoes easily and buy everyone slippers to wear exclusively indoors. It’s not that hard once you make it a habit!
VACUUMING A WOOL RUG
We recommend a carpet sweeper for use on the daily. But you do need to plug in and vacuum at least once a week. Always vacuum rugs on highest setting to avoid damaging rug fibers. Vacuum in a “V” pattern, going back over the nap in both directions. If your rug is in a high traffic area, you should be vacuuming at least once a week. Twice is better. GOOD TO KNOW: You need to vacuum newer rugs more often than older or vintage rugs to remove loose fibers or “shedders.” After the first year, your rug fibers will be established and you only have to vacuum every couple of weeks.
SPOT CLEANING A WOOL RUG
Deal with stains right away! The sooner you treat a stain on your rug, the better chance you have of removing it. Here’s how:
1. Remove any solids first. Let’s hope they are few.
2. Blot the stained area with a few paper towels. Step on the area with your heel to soak up excess moisture.
3. Another blotting method involves sprinkling baking soda on the stain; and letting it soak up the moisture for 30 minutes before vacuuming.
4. Use a mild cleaner (free from enzymes, bleach and harsh detergents). Don’t use dish soap or laundry detergent, or anything too bubbly. Spray the affected area liberally and blot again with a clean cloth or paper towel. Blot, don’t scrub! You don’t want to push the stain further down into the rug or cause the fibers to mat. Keep spraying and blotting until the stain is gone. It may take a few attempts to remove the stain completely, but eventually, it should go.
5. Take smaller rugs outside to line dry or hang in the sun. For large floor rugs, place a bowl to prop up the wet area, allowing air to circulate underneath the carpet. Hit it with a blow dryer on a low heat setting to ensure the rug is completely dry before you put it back on the floor.
DEEP CLEANING A WOOL RUG
The safest way to deep clean a wool rug is to have them rolled up and taken away for professional cleaning. You can do it at home with a steam cleaner if you follow the manufacturer's’ instructions to the letter, but we don’t recommend this idea unless you really know what you’re doing! Instead of a wet deep clean, we like to take our room sized rugs outside and give them a good whack on the back with an old-fashioned rug beater, Little House On The Prairie style. It’s strangely satisfying to go nuts on a wool rug hanging on a clothesline. Talk about cheap therapy! Vacuum the back of the rug while it’s hanging and then rotate it 180 degrees when you place it back on the floor. This will keep the fibers from getting matted from repeated traffic in the same areas. Once you get it back on the floor again, vacuum once more. Finish with a light spritz of good Upholstery cleaner and wipe with a clean, dry towel in the same direction of the nap (the smooth side). Done!