The Do’s and Don’ts of Oriental Rug Cleaning

Are you wondering how to keep your oriental rug looking like new? Click here for the most important do’s and don’ts of oriental rug cleaning.
woman cleaning an oriental rug
Oriental rugs can have an extraordinarily long lifespan, reaching from 20 years to multiple centuries. The question stands, what determines that lifespan? What makes the difference? The answer lies in how well you take care of them. A big part of taking care of your rug is learning to clean it properly, which is exactly what we’re here for. Whether you own an oriental rug or you’re thinking about purchasing one, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to getting your oriental rug cleaned.

First, Are Oriental and Persian Rugs the Same?

In case you want to do your own research on oriental rugs, you might be curious if they are the same as Persian ones. The easiest explanation is oriental rugs are traditionally considered to be rugs that are made in Asia or the Middle East. Persian rugs are made in the Middle East only.

This means that all Persian rugs are oriental; however, not all oriental rugs are Persian. This is an important fact in case you see articles on Persian rug maintenance. You can also apply those tips if you’d like. Check out our comprehensive look at the differences between persian rugs and oriental rugs if you want to dig a bit deeper.

Now let’s get into the cleaning process of oriental rugs so that you can keep the integrity of the rug.

DO Vacuum Your Rug a Couple of Times a Week

Vacuuming your rug will keep dirt and debris from packing into its fibers and prevent moth larvae from setting into it. Make sure to flip over your rug and vacuum the backside with a beater brush first, as its texture is easily saturated with grime if you only go for the front. If your rug has long fibers or fringes, disable your beater brush before vacuuming the front. Otherwise, you could damage your rug.

DON’T Sweep It

Avoid sweeping the top or bottom of an oriental rug. Doing so could damage its fibers.

Also, since many oriental rugs are handwoven, the bristles of a broom could upset the weave pattern. Not sweeping them will help you to avoid the need for oriental rug repair.

DO Spot Clean Your Rug

No matter how careful you are with your oriental rug, accidents are bound to happen. That’s just life. Whether it’s juice, cat urine, or some other spill, put a hold on your panic. There’s any easy way to fix it:

  • First, tend to the stain immediately. Don’t let it get a chance to set in.
  • Then, gently use a white cloth to blot the stain. Try to avoid using another color cloth, as this can sometimes transfer dyes and intensify the stain.
  • After the stain is less saturated, pour some club soda, white vinegar, baking soda, or mild detergent onto it.
  • Use the cloth to blot the stain again.
  • Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.

It’s important to note that white vinegar is especially effective at removing cat urine because it breaks down the uric acid in it.

DON’T Use Harsh Chemicals or Hot Water

No matter where you turn to care for Persian and oriental rugs, no self-respecting professional is going to say that you should use harsh chemicals on them. It’s simply a bad idea. Products like bleach and ammonia can throw off the pH balance of materials like silk and wool, and though hot water isn’t a chemical, it can also damage your rug’s fibers. (That’s one of the reasons you should avoid using a steam cleaner or putting your rug into the washing machine.)

When you are spot cleaning, stick to room temperature water. It keeps you from affecting the warp and weft of your rug.

DO Clean Your Entire Rug With a Sponge

While most stains do not cover the entire rug, it’s often a good idea to clean the entire thing anyway when removing strains. A lot of times, the spot from where you remove the stain ends up cleaner than the rest of the rug making it look uneven. Because of this, you might want to clean the entire thing. If so, here are the steps that you should follow:

  • Add ¼ cup of mild detergent to a small bucket of room temperature water
  • Dip a clean sponge into the cleaning solution and wipe over the grid pattern of the rug
  • Rinse the sponge with water regularly while wiping.
  • After you’ve finished wiping the rug, go over the entire rug with clean water one more time to remove any excess detergent.
  • Use a fresh towel to soak up the leftover moisture.
  • Let your rug air dry. (Do NOT put it into the dryer. This will damage it)

For a bonus, if your rug retains a foul or musty odor, sprinkle some lemon juice on it and let it sit for two hours before cleaning. This will help to get rid of any smell. (This works even when you are not planning to fully clean your rug. Just make sure to wipe up any excess lemon juice with a wet sponge after the two hours is up)

Cleaning your oriental rug every six months is ideal if you have children or pets. Otherwise, you can wait about a year in between cleanings.

DON’T Let Moisture Set In

Because a moist rug is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, and can even cause a rug to shrink, moisture is one of the biggest enemies of oriental rugs. That’s why, whether it’s an area rug or something larger, you should keep your oriental rug out of humidity. It’s also a good idea to hang your rugs outside a couple of times during the warmer, dryer parts of the year.

DO Put Padding Underneath Your Rugs

Putting padding underneath your oriental rug can decrease the need for rug repair services. This will help your rugs to maintain their shape and reduce wrinkling. Another bonus of padding is that it will keep rugs from sliding on hardwood floors.

DON’T Forget to Rotate Them Regularly

Whether you decide to clean your carpet on your own or use one of the professional rug cleaning services in your area, you can save time and money by keeping traffic to a minimum. Encourage people to stay off of your rugs. Train your pets to not go near them. It can also be beneficial to have a no-shoes rule in your home. That way, if people end up walking on your oriental rugs, less dirt and debris will get on them.

DO Be Careful About Where You Put Your Furniture

If you want to avoid spending a lot of money on oriental rug repair, be careful about the furniture that you put on top of your rugs. Heavy furniture should be avoided, and we recommend that you move furniture around a couple of times a year. These things will help to keep furniture imprints from showing up on your rugs.

DON’T Let People (or Pets) Walk on Your Rug

Whether you decide to clean your carpet on your own or use one of the professional rug cleaning services in your area, you can save time and money by keeping traffic to a minimum. Encourage people to stay off of your rugs. Train your pets to not go near them. It can also be beneficial to have a no-shoes rule in your home. That way, if people end up walking on your oriental rugs, less dirt and debris will get on them.

DO Use a Lemon Rinse From Time to Time

It doesn’t matter how often you clean the rugs in your home, odors will set in sometimes. Applying a lemon rinse can help to eliminate lingering odors. All you need to do is put some fresh lemon juice on your rugs. Let the juice penetrate your rugs for two hours. Then soak a sponge in cool water to remove any excess lemon juice.

DON’T Forget to Shake Your Rugs Once a Season

No matter how much oriental rug cleaning is done, something that can’t be avoided is. One way to keep it from piling up on your rugs is to shake them a few times a year.

Make sure to go outside and gently hit them against the side of your house. That will break up the dust.

By being outdoors, you also won’t have to worry about the dust landing on anything in your home. Doing this once a season is ideal.

DO Find a Professional Cleaner for Oriental Rug Cleaning

Even if you’re able to clean the rug that you have at home, it’s still a good idea to get it professionally cleaned on occasion. Most rug experts recommend that you do so every two years. Professional oriental rug cleaners will provide high-quality area rug cleaning services that will have your rug looking as good as new.

DON’T Use Your Local Cleaners

That said, when it comes to professional oriental rug cleaning, don’t go to any local cleaners. Not every business has the training or proper equipment.

Use your favorite search engine to look up cleaners or rug cleaning companies that mention they have experience in cleaning oriental rugs. Be prepared to pay between $10-20 per square foot to get your rugs cleaned.

Let Us Help You Keep Your Rugs in Great Condition

Having served the Tacoma-Washington area since 1930, Hammond Knoll has the skills and expertise necessary to clean and restore every surface of your home–the way they should be. We provide unmatched full-service cleaning packages for residential and commercial properties, and our customer satisfaction guarantee makes it so that you are never left with anything but the best of service. Contact us today for a professional and complete cleaning; we’re always happy to assist you.