How to Clean Wool Rug – Get the Experts Advice

Rug Cleaning
Wool rugs are hand-tufted or handwoven and use natural wool with hundreds of knots to create intricate designs and patterns.

Wool is a natural noise insulator. This eliminates echo and keeps the external noises out. Well-maintained wool rugs last for at least fifty years and can be used as an heirloom for generations to come.

Wool features a naturally curly texture and spiral shape that makes it perfect for high traffic areas. Just like fine leather, wool rugs get better with time, giving you an impression of their look and feel that they have been bought recently!

Although wool rugs are expensive, they come with several advantages. Some of these are:

  1. Durability & Flexibility:

Wool is exceptionally long-lasting, reliable, elastic, and has a premium feel to it – better than most other rug fibers. Wool’s threads consist of a high degree of natural crimp, comparable to a coil spring, which helps it withstand heavy pressure and footfall. Hence, wool rugs maintain a good form for longer periods of time.

  1. Flame Retardant:

Wool is flame resistant. Although it will catch fire, it will not sustain a flame. Meaning, it just smolders and self extinguishes when the fire source gets eliminated. The moisture inside the wool can be attributed to its flame-resistant properties.

Cigarette burns and fire splats also cause minimal damage to wool rugs.

  1. Cool, cozy, warm, and comfy:

Wool has excellent insulating properties. It is effective in keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. It has the natural ability to control the humidity in your room. Another special feature of wool is that it is breathable. Wool absorbs moisture from the air when the atmosphere is moist and clears it when it is dry. Wool’s tendency to absorb air leads to improved air quality and creates a more relaxed home environment. The interesting part? It does this without being cold or wet to the touch.

How to Clean Wool Rug?

Wool is a renewable and natural fibre that prevents bacterial growth, repels stains, and hinders dust mites’ growth. Wool rugs tend to be costlier than cotton or synthetic rugs, but they tend to last a lifetime with proper maintenance.

Although it’s advised to have wool area rugs professionally dry cleaned for unyielding stains, cleaning wool rugs with a mild surface scrub about once a year is doable.

This guide describes expert tips on cleaning a wool rug that you can do at home and get that new look of your wool rug again.

How Often to Clean a Wool Rug?

Regular vacuuming is the key to retaining the beauty of the fibres of a wool rug. A new wool rug will shed fibres. Don’t be concerned. Considering the way wool fibres are woven, it is normal.

The majority of the shedding will happen in the first few months. If you vacuum your rug twice a week in the initial months, the shedding will drop drastically.

How to Remove Stains From Wool Rugs?

Fortunately, wool is a highly stain-resistant material that’s very easy to clean, making wool rugs suitable for heavy-duty activities. Every wool fiber has a natural coating of wax that automatically protects its surface from moisture penetration.

When a spill happens, always make sure to analyze the type of stain before taking action. Use the below methods of cleaning wool rug suggested by experts to keep your rug in good condition.

  1. Spray water on the stain

The first and also most intuitive approach is to apply water to the stain. Dip a clean rag in warm water and lightly dab the stain, ensuring that the entire affected area has been immersed in water.

Work from the stain’s edges to the center to avoid spreading the stain to other parts of your rug. Continue to blot to check if some of the stains have gone. It’s always advisable to attend to the stain as quickly as possible, rather than to allow it to dry and likely cause lasting damage.

Fill an empty spray bottle with lukewarm water and moisten the affected area. Most importantly, refrain from scrubbing the rug harshly with a broom or a brush, essentially because this action can lead to significant damage to the wool fibres.

Use gentle vacuuming or a brush with soft bristles to extract the dirt or residue, if required, in a circular motion, but ensure that you aren’t too forceful.

  1. Use vinegar

You can use vinegar if you feel that the stain can’t be cleaned only with water. This simple household cleaning material is moderately mild on most materials, including wool.

In particular, vinegar effectively wipes up pet stains and neutralizes the foul smell of urine. Moreover, vinegar also works well for light food stains.

Always mix vinegar with lukewarm water for optimum results. A good balance is a one-fourth cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water. Again, use a spray bottle and a fresh cloth to apply and blot the stain completely.

Once you notice that the stain is coming off, start blotting with a dry fabric or tissue. You can wait up to ten-fifteen minutes with a wet cloth on the wool, but no longer than that as it can increase the chances of mold and mildew development. Be clear that the affected area is blotted as dry as possible and allow your rug to air dry.

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol

Unintentionally dropped your makeup foundation on your wool rug? Use rubbing alcohol for stains that include shoe polish, makeup, nail polish, or ink. Such stains are stubborn and do not go off easily, even when they are attended to instantly after the spill.

Rubbing alcohol has stain-removal properties that other cleaning agents do not have. If you own a wool rug, always keep this cleaning agent handy because such types of stains can happen any day.

Start by wetting a cotton ball or a clean cloth with the rubbing alcohol and carefully applying it to your wool rug. Repeat until you begin to see the stain come off. These stains can be stubborn, so if you fail to see good results quickly, it may be best to let the rag sit overnight.

As long as your rug is not fully soaked in liquid, you can try leaving the rag to sit on the stained area for a couple of hours. When you return to the stain later, you should see most of it on the cleaning cloth instead of your wool rug.

How Do I Care For a Wool Rug?

The best way to take care of your wool rug from getting stained is by having a “no shoes/no food policy” on your valued floor rug.

With proper maintenance, your elegant wool rug will look magnificent for years—it might even become a family heirloom that will be used by the next generation—provided the rug is well cleaned, of course.

Do’s and Don’ts of Wool Rug Care:

If there is a major spill on your rug and you need to act immediately, make sure you have the below do’s and don’ts checked:

  • DON’T try to rub the affected area. That will further push the stain into the rug and cause the fibres to fuzz or matt together.
  • DO instantly scoop up the solids and then blot the liquid tenderly with tissues, changing them by turns as they become saturated.
  • DON’T use alkaline detergents like laundry soap as the buffers added to these agents to keep their pH stable may lead to bleeding in the colours of your wool rugs.
  • DO test a small, less-conspicuous area first to ensure colourfastness.

Can I Steam Clean a Wool Rug?

Yes, you can. Light steam cleaning is truly one of the most effective ways suggested by experts to clean your wool rug. Here is what to do:

Step 1: Give it a Good Shake.

Wool rugs can harbor large volumes of loose dirt, pollen, and dust in their weaves. By taking it outdoors and shaking it properly, you can force many such elements to come off.

Here’s how to shake your wool rug properly:

  • Take your wool rug outdoors on a clear sunny day.
  • Use a laundry line or patio beam to hang the rug.
  • To get more inside dirt out, take a wooden kitchen spoon or similar equipment.
  • Beat the rug moderately till you can’t see the dust clouds anymore.

Step 2: Vacuum the Rug

Before using steam cleaning to remove the stains off the wool rug, experts suggest vacuuming it properly. Doing so will clear various dirt elements resting beneath the surface. Also, it’s crucial to know your rug’s pile type before vacuuming.

You can use a more traditional brush vacuum for flatter and dense piles, usually known as “short pile rugs.”

However, if your wool rug is shaggy, using a traditional brush vacuum isn’t advised. Instead, you can use a suction-only vacuum to clean the dirt.

Step 3: Use a Rug Conditioner

There are two actions you must never take on your wool rug:

  1. Dampen it with a cleanser
  2. Deploy a standard rug shampooer for its cleaning.

Too much moisture is one of the worst enemies of a wool rug and can lead to molds’ quick development. To clean your wool rug properly without damaging it, you can use powder-based conditioners. Here’s how to do the same:

  • Ensure that the rug is dusted and vacuumed already.
  • Spread the rug flat in an open area.
  • You only require a thin layer of cleaning-powder. Remember, less is more.
  • Rub the powder into the rug using a soft-bristle brush or your hands
  • Allow the powder to sit for three to five minutes.
  • Vacuum up the leftover powder.
  • Shake the rug to get rid of any excess dirt or powder.

These powdered agents can work just as efficiently as their water-based counterparts.

Step 4: Spot Treat Certain Areas

For a few stubborn stains that won’t go off, you’ll have to treat them. As wool rugs are sensitive to liquid stains, use a soft stain remover. You can consider preparing the following homemade stain removing agent to apply on your wool rugs:

  • Eight parts of water
  • One-part white vinegar
  • A mild dishwashing detergent (Small amount)

To apply, dab the solution onto a clean fabric. Afterward, rub into the stained area in a circular motion till the stains vanish. Use a fresh and dry paper cloth to absorb any leftover water.

Step 5: Give Your Wool Rug a Light Steaming

Extensive steaming on wool rugs isn’t advised. However, light steaming can be effective. Wool attracts moisture and becomes susceptive to mold. With light steaming, not only can you clean your wool rug effectively, the odors will be eliminated as well.

  • Keep the steam cleaner about six inches away from the rug while steaming.
  • Steam the entire rug by going in full motions
  • Make sure not to spend more than five seconds on the same spot.
  • Over steaming will damage the lanolin in the wool and unravel the fibers.
  • Once done, put the wool rug in a sunny area, preferably a terrace, to thoroughly dry. If that doesn’t seem possible, let the rug dry overnight.


Wool rugs are delicate and require proper maintenance. Improper cleaning methods can damage them for good. We have gathered quality tips from experts on cleaning a wool area rug to help you take care of your wool rugs. Use these tips and see your wool rug shine better than a new rug!

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