I recently bought a wool rug while vintage shopping. The seller gave me a great price since it desperately needed cleaning! I thought I’d show how to clean a wool rug in case you have one that’s stained and gross too. This is a project anyone can do at home. Let’s get started!
How can I clean my wool rug at home?
- Beat the rug to release the dirt.
- Vacuum the rug.
- Spot clean.
- Fill a bucket with water and soap.
- Scrub the rug with the mixture.
- Rinse the rug off with water.
- Dry the rug with a squeegee or an upholstery cleaner.
- Hang the rug to dry.
How long does it take to clean a wool rug? 2-3 hours for a small rug and 3-5 hours for a large rug. With drying time, plan on 24 hours from beginning cleaning to letting the rug drying out.
What skill level does it take to clean a wool rug? I’d say a beginner could clean a wool rug. It’s not hard, but it does take time and elbow grease.
How much does it cost to clean a wool rug? It can be free if you have the supplies on hand. If you need to buy cleaning supplies it could cost $20-$40.
What should the weather conditions be to clean a wool rug? Because the cleaning will be done outside, I suggest choosing a warm sunny day.
Below I’ll explain each step in detail with pictures of how I cleaned my vintage wool rug.
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
Here is a picture of the rug from when I bought it- the light spots are where a piece of furniture sat on it so the rest is dirty.
There’s lots of stains. Below are orange and black ones that were pretty noticable.
Here are the materials needed to clean a wool rug-
- Broom or Rug Beater
- Folex Carpet Spot Remover
- Wool Shampoo
- Scrub Brush- hand held or Block Scrub Brush
- Squeegee or Upholstery Cleaner or Carpet Cleaner (what I used)
step 1- beat the rug
Start by beating the rug to release the dirt. To do this, take the rug outside and hang it over a porch railing or outdoor furniture. Use a broom, tennis racket, or rug beater and hit the rug from the top to the bottom of the rug.
Why beat the rug? This helps any dirt that’s deep in the rug come out or at least come closer to the surface so it can be vacuumed out.
step 2- vacuum the rug
Next, spread the rug down on a flat surface like a deck, sidewalk, or patio and vacuum the rug. Go slow and vacuum the rug 3-5 times to remove as much dirt as possible. Then flip the rug and vacuum the back as well.
When I emptied my vacuum canister after vacuuming my rug, I was surprised at how much dirt I was able to remove!
step 3- spot clean
And now, spot clean the wool rug. If there are visible stains on the rug, I recommend using Folex to clean them up- it’s a really good stain remover. To use Folex, spray a generous amount on the spot. Gently agitate it with finger tips and blot with an absorbent cloth. The spot should be lighter or completely gone after treating it with Folex.
This is also a good time to test the rug for bleeding.
How to test a rug for bleeding- use a white cloth or a white paper towel. On a discreet corner, look for the brightest colors. Spray the white cloth with the cleaning solution. Press the cloth firmly down on the brightest section for 10 seconds. Pull up the cloth and see if there’s any color on the cloth.
If the rug bleeds, do not continue with the cleaning. The rug will probably be ruined. Do a dry cleaning option instead.
If the rug doesn’t bleed, continue with the next step.
step 4- fill a bucket with water and soap
Once the rug has been spot cleaned, move on to mixing a cleaning solution for the whole rug.
Other cleaning options-
- Dish soap. Most people use a dish detergent that’s clear or a light color for this step. It’s best if it’s dye-free so it doesn’t leave color on the rug. Dish soap is great a removing stains gently without damaging the wool on the rug.
- Vinegar. Since most houses probably have vinegar on hand, it’s a great option. It’s gentle and works nicely on wool. Another benefit is that it helps with pet odors, dirt, oil, and food stains.
Can you use baking soda on a wool rug?
- Baking Soda. This is another item that most people keep on their shelves. To use it, its best to sprinkle it on a dry rug, wait 30 minutes and then vacuum it up- this will help with odors and stains. A paste can also be made by mixing one part baking soda to three parts of water. Apply this to a spot, let it dry and vacuum it up.
Note, I wouldn’t use baking soda mixed with water and then scrubbed into the rug as it can fade a rug when used in this way.
Do not use-
- Can you use hydrogen peroxide on a wool rug? No this could damage wool since it’s so sensitive. Using OxyClean or hydrogen peroxide can cause damage and remove color to a wool rug.
step 5- scrub the rug with the mixture
Cleaning a rug might be scary because you’re probably wondering- can I use water to clean a wool rug? Yes! Water is the best way to clean a wool rug! Just make sure the rug is completely dry of all excess moisture within 24 hours and it’ll be fine. Water will help eliminate any odors, dirt, and stains.
Take the soap and water mixture outside and scrub it into the rug. Dip the scrubber in the cleaning bucket and then scrub one section. Repeat and make sure to go over the entire rug. This step needs a lot of elbow grease. Work from one side to the other and make sure the rug is scrubbed well.
I like to use a scrub brush for this step. Another, gentler option is to use a sponge. This is a good alternative for fragile rugs.
step 6- rinse the rug off with water
Next, rinse the rug off with water. Use cool water from the hose and try to remove all the soap that’s on the rug. Try to use as little water as possible to get all the soap out of the rug.
Can I pressure wash a wool rug? No, a pressure washer is too harsh for wool rugs. There’s so much pressure that the water can damage the fibers on wool rugs.
step 7- Dry the rug
Now that the rug is super wet, it needs to be dried as well as possible. There’s three options for removing the excess water-
- Use an upholstery cleaner. Put the cleaner on dry only mode and pull out as much water as possible. I used my carpet cleaner and wish that I’d use the upholstery attachment as it’s gentler and I lost some rug fibers doing it this way. Even though it was a little too harsh, I did pull out tons of dirty water and it was very satisfying!
- Use a squeegee. Pull a squeegee across the surface of the rug and remove as much moisture as you can. The bigger the squeegee the better for rugs!
- Use towels. Most people have extra towels they can use to blot the rug and remove excess water. This is the least effective, but I do love a free option!
step 8- hang the rug to dry
Finally, hang the rug up over a porch railing or outdoor furniture to dry. This helps to speed up the drying time since the rug gets air circulation while it’s elevated.
How do you dry a wool rug? Hang the rug to dry. Placing it near a fan will speed up the drying time.
How long does it take for a wool carpet to dry? Most rugs take 24 hours to fully dry. This dry time will be affected by the size of the rug, the outside temperature, and the humidity in the area. Using less water to clean the rug and removing as much moisture as you can will also speed up dry times.
Once the rug is dry, vacuum it once more to remove any crispiness that might result from cleaning.
Ta da! Here is the cleaned rug! It’s now a consistent color with no stains and smells great. It’s hard to show in pictures how much better it looks.
How often should you clean a wool carpet? Normal maintenance like vacuuming should be done at a minimum of twice per week. Spot clean as soon as you see any stains. A through cleaning like this would be good annually or as needed.
Are wool rugs easy to clean? The great thing about wool is that is naturally stain resistant! So wool rugs stay clean longer and are easier to clean when they do get dirty. This is the benefit of living with a natural fiber item.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
If you love it, pin it!