How to clean an oriental rug at home

It can be risky to clean an oriental rug yourself at home. I always recommend hiring a professional rug cleaner to ensure that your rug doesn’t get ruined and that the job is done correctly. Keep in mind that your oriental rug is a significant investment and should be treated that way.

If you still would like to clean your oriental rug from home, the following are the steps you should take. They are steps for cleaning a wool oriental rug. It would be best if you did not attempt to clean more delicate fabrics like silk. Only a professional rug cleaner should clean them.

How to clean an oriental rug at home, Zazzy Home

Step 1: Remove the dirt.

First, vacuum the oriental rug. Use suction only for vacuuming the top of your rug. Next, flip the rug over and completely vacuum the rug. It should be done once a month as part of a routine cleaning process for helping to reduce how much dirt gets caught deep inside your rug’s fibers. Dirt can get trapped in the rug fibers of an oriental rug and create a sandpaper effect every time the rug is walked on.

Step 2: Fringes

If there are fringes around the oriental rug’s edges, don’t vacuum these. Whenever you vacuum over these fringes, the vacuum bristles will stress them, and stress will be created on the fibers. Even worse, they could end up breaking free and getting sucked up inside the vacuum. So instead, just tuck the fringes under the rug. If some of the fringes do end up getting sucked in, don’t try to pull them free since you could end up breaking them. Instead, just turn off the vacuum and manually remove each of the fringes.

Step 3: Dusting

Put the oriental rug outside your house. Place it into a vertical position. Use a stick or broom handle to beat the rug gently to remove any dust that might be caught up in the rug fibers still. Be prepared for lots of dust.

Step 4: Vacuum once again.

After removing all of the dust from your oriental rug, re-vacuum it so any dirt or dust can be picked up that was loosed by the stick or broom you used in step 3.

Step 5: Get the cleaning surface prepared.

Make sure to clean any dirt or dust in the area with some soap and a hose where you are going to clean the oriental rug. Your rug should preferably be clean on a sloped part of your driveway to avoid the issue of water pooling.

How to clean an oriental rug at home, Zazzy Home

Step 6: Wet down the rug

After you have the rug in a clean place, put it face down so that the reverse side is facing the sky. Make a note of which direction the pile is in. Next, soak the rug in cold water in the same direction that the rug’s pile is. You can use a garden hose to do this. Be sure to soak it thoroughly and evenly.

Step 7: Shampoo

Fill a 3 to 5-gallon buck with water and 1-2 tablespoon of a mild liquid detergent. Mix it until there are suds. Add more of the mild detergent if necessary. Make sure to test an area first before applying it to the whole rug. Also, pour your water detergent mixture onto the rug as you are agitating using a clean bristle brush. You may need help with this. Don’t scrub too hard. You want to agitate the fiber. Be sure the bristles come into contact evenly with the reverse side of your oriental rug, scrub up and down, and back and forth. If necessary, repeat, and refill the mixture of water and detergent when necessary.

Step 8: Rinse and Repeat

Thoroughly rinse the rug. Make sure there isn’t any detergent left behind on the rug. Continue using a bristle brush for agitating the fibers and remove all of the suds. Turn the rug over and repeat step 7. Only work the brush in the pile’s direction this time. Don’t scrub and don’t move in an up and down and back and forth motion. Just move the brush in the same direction as the rug pile after you have removed all of the suds (the water run-off should turn as clear as possible). The drying process can now be started.

How to clean an oriental rug at home, Zazzy Home

Step 9: Drying

After removing all of the suds and your oriental rug is clean, the excess water needs to be squeezed out of the rug. Just move in the same direction as the pile of the rug. After you finish squeezing the rug, several dry rugs can be placed on it, and then you can walk on it to absorb more water. Take your oriental rug indoors (or the garage) after you have removed a majority of the water. The less contact that the rug has with the ground, the better. Both the top and bottom of the rug need to have an adequate amount of air circulation to complete the drying process.

You can use a fan to help the rug dry more quickly. Don’t use any heating lamp since that might cause uneven drying. Your rug might become wavy after it has completely dried. Your rug should not be left outdoors for long periods in direct sunlight since that could cause the rug to fade. After the rug has dried completely, you can re-vacuum or rub your hand over the rug to remove any stiffened areas.


Claire is a blogger, writer, and designer with a passion for making the most out of any space. She's worked in interior design and maintenance for over a decade, and has learned how to make the most of even the smallest room. Claire shares her expertise, where she offers tips and tricks for creating beautiful, functional spaces on any budget. When she's not blogging or designing, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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