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How To Clean A Rug At Home 

Can I clean my oriental rug at home? 

Today we are going to bypass all the rug drama and talk about cleaning rugs at home. I'm a nearly 35-year veteran rug cleaner, educator, and consultant to rug cleaners and producers abroad.

So, can you clean your rug at home?

Sure, but there are some considerations to think about before you try, such as cleaning chemicals and how you will get that wet rug dry. 

Dry Clean A Carpet 

The three big names in dry rug cleaning are Host, Capture, and Arm and Hammer dry cleaning compounds. Dry-cleaning compounds are the least effective cleaning products and also the safest. The powder is applied to the carpet, scrubbed in with a brush given dwell time, and then vacuumed out; dry cleaning a carpet is simple right? 


Not so fast; once you put these on your rug or carpet, they work their way to the base, and you never really get them completely out. The dry cleaning compound you use to remove soil, well, becomes soil in your rug!

 I know; slick marketing says differently. I own a professional area rug cleaning facility I see the end results of rug dry-cleaning compounds. More importantly, they affect our cleaning, some can cause dye in rugs and carpets to run or bleed, and others leave perfume odors that are hard to remove. 

They are not very effective at removing heavy soils. If you have a carpet, it's likely going to fit the "heavy soil,"  a number of these dry cleaners are baking soda-based products, and they are alkaline, that's harmful to wool rugs and their dyes over time. 


How to dry clean an Oriental carpet at home? 

My suggestion is don't the performance isn't worth the headache, and they provide an illusion of clean.  

Carpet in Living Room

Here are some steps you can follow in cleaning an area rug yourself:

  1. Vacuum the rug thoroughly to remove any loose dirt and debris, front and back, if possible. 

  2. Mix a solution of mild detergent, and gentle hand dish soap works well. Avoid using anything too harsh, as it can damage fibers of rug, such as laundry detergent or OxiClean, 

  3. Dip a clean, white cloth into the solution and test a small area with color and look for any color transfer. If so, you might want to reconsider cleaning the carpet yourself.

  4. If all looks good wet the rug out with water and apply the cleaning solution, scrub with a soft brush, and let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to soften and work on the dirt and stains.

  5. Rinse; most of the rug cleaning is rinsing and flushing deeply embedded soils away, re-wet and rinse over and over, and this part of the cleaning can take hours.

  6. You might need to re-apply detergent and repeat this process until the rug rinses clean and free of detergent. 

  7. If your rug is wool silk, or other protein fiber, add one cup of household vinegar to five gallons of water and flush the with this solution to help remove cleaning residue and stabilize dyes. Let sit five minutes and rise.

  8. Try to remove any standing water with a squeegee or a wet/dry shop vacuum to vacuum out pull water. The more water you remove, the quicker and more efficiently your ug will dry.  


How To Dry A Rug ?

A soaked wet rug left wet too long is the ideal environment for the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. I want you to consider where and how you will get the rug dry at home, even with spot cleaning a natural fiber carpet drying can be an issue.

Your home isn't created to dry rugs like a professional rug cleaners workshop. 


 Professional rug cleaning companies have specialized equipment to pull mosture from rugs fast and effectively for optimal drying but, more importantly, it is part of the cleaning process. This type of technology is out of the grasp of home rug cleaning. In our wash plant, I can take a thick soaking wet wool rug and, in 1 minute, remove 95% of the water in that rug. 

The larger the rug, the harder it will be to move and get dry my suggestion is clean smaller, thinner, and easy-to-move rugs and work up to bigger rugs as you develop some understanding and skill. 


It's important to pull as much mosture from a rug as possible after cleaning. 

Airflow is essential for the fast drying of a rug. You must use fans, do you have enough fans?

Even on a hot day, you need air movement, not just heat, to dry your rug

I won't mince words professional rug cleaning isn't cheap; it's a laborious trade skill, and I don't mind rug owners cleaning or trying to clean their rugs. I like people to understand the time, energy, and labor it takes. 

Many things can go sideways in the cleaning process from start to finish, color run shrinking, stalled drying, poor finishing, tea dyes, and ink painting of rugs. Commercial rug-washing plants are set up and tried to address these issues and more.

The best way to find a good rug cleaner is through a cleaning association such as ARCS (The Association of Rug Care Specialists 


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