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Can Area Rugs Be Steam Cleaned?

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

There comes a time when every rug in your home will need to be cleaned, regardless of how fastidious you are. Many types of cleaning exist; all are not equal, so choosing the proper cleaning method for the job is essential.

Often a rug owner may defer to their carpet cleaner. Still, carpet cleaning is a specific type of in-home cleaning service. Usually, a carpet cleaner with one cleaning method will recommend the cleaning methods at their disposal, not the best rug cleaning method. As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, then every job needs a nail. This is why Renaissance Rug Cleaning was founded, a specialty workshop for rug cleaning and repair.

in home rug cleaning
In Home carpet cleaning

Most people are familiar with carpet hot water extraction or steam cleaning machines. These two-part machines spray hot water on your carpet and use a powerful vacuum to suck up that water and soiling. These systems work very well for in-home carpet, most of which is synthetic. Carpet manufacturers have engineered wall-to-wall carpets to be cleaned this way. This is the proper way to clean wall-to-wall carpet, not wool or silk oriental rugs.

Can I clean my Oriental Rug At Home?

So what's the harm in steam cleaning a Persian rug?

Hot water extraction cleaning systems were developed to clean in-home wall-to-wall carpets made with synthetic face pile yarns of nylon, polyester, and polypropylene backings held together with carpet glues. The key takeaway, these fibers and materials don't absorb or hold mosture very well. Because of this, synthetic fibers dry much faster than natural fibers found in handwoven rugs.

Wool, silk rugs, and plant fibers being highly water absorbent and taking longer to dry often need or greatly benefit from a controlled drying environment.

Used on hand-woven rugs, these carpet extraction systems recapture much less of the water and soil sprayed on natural fiber rugs than synthetic carpets. This results in slower of natural fiber rugs or stalled rug drying, and this can result in soil wicking, dye bleeding, and sometimes mold and mildew growth in a rug.

Oriental Rug & Area Rug Cleaning

The weaving of handmade carpets, the methods, and the materials used have remained relatively constant for thousands of years. Highly mosture absorbent natural fibers such as wool, silk, cotton, and linen are also sensitive to strong cleaning products used in extraction cleaning.

Not only do natural fibers like wool and silk absorb much more mosture, they also absorb and hold much more soil than synthetic fibers. An added benefit to owning an Oriental rug is. they hide soils more effectively while still looking good, much more than synthetic fibers.

dry soil removal from an area rug
Pre cleaning dirt from a rug

The rug cleaning process doesn't start with washing it starts with dry soil removal.

Consider this pic of dry soil removal from a rug before washing. If not removed, it results in unsatisfactory rug cleaning.

The machine used to remove this soil is the size of a car weighs two thousand pounds; this equipment is not portable, and this type of soil removal can't be removed in your home with a vacuum

Professional Rug Cleaning Service

oriental rug cleaning service
Rug washing at Renaissance Rug Cleaning

Oriental rug washing is a deep cleaning service rugs are soaked out and washed on a wash floor with lots of water, not surface cleaned. Our wash floor is painted white so we can see what comes out and where it's a slower process, and it's the way oriental rugs are meant to be cleaned. It's also a particular and unique cleaning process specifically for area rugs. Many cleaners are not set up to clean rugs properly.

rug centrifuge water removal from rugs
Rug Drying

Rug Drying

A proper rug washing company has specialized tools to remove all that water fast. Our centrifuge removes 95% of excess water in a wet rug in under 2 minutes. This isn't a portable machine it weighs fifteen hundred pounds and runs on industrial three-phase power this kind of rug cleaning service can't be accomplished in your home. Area rugs dry completely in hours not day

local Area Rug Cleaner Near Me

A word of caution. Some carpet cleaners have learned the catchphrases and have slick websites for area rug cleaning. They make you think they wash oriental rugs when in reality, they take your rug to their home garage and steam clean it. Oriental rug washing is labor-intensive and more expensive than carpet cleaning. It's lucrative to charge a rug washing price for steam cleaning.

Find professional rug cleaning facilities in your area.

- Look for a rug cleaner that is trained and certified in rug cleaning processes

- Call around and ask for references from trusted rug retailers.

- Visit their wash plant and take a tour

- Visit ARCS (Association of Rug Care Specialists) a trade association for rug cleaners

If it doesn't feel right, walk. Rug cleaning shouldn't be secretive or a big mystery; you should know what will be done to your rug, where it will be done, and how much it will cost before work is started.

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