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How to Clean an Oriental Rug

JessBy Jessica Allan



Maintaining your Oriental rug takes some easy care which will help it last many years for you.

Vacuuming Top of Oriental Rug

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1. You should vacuum your rug weekly or more often as needed depending on the amount of foot traffic it gets. If your rug is a heavy rug with a cotton foundation, a vacuum with a beater bar feature is safe for your rug. If your carpet is more flexible and has a woolen foundation, then a regular vacuum with a good suction for carpets is recommended.

2. The carpet should be vacuumed in a side to side sweep (from bound edge to bound edge). This motion agitates the pile just enough to loosen any dust or dirt that has penetrated the rug surface while keeping the design of the rug from becoming blurry. Be careful not to vacuum the fringe, as it may break away from the rug.

Vacuuming Back Side of Rug

3. From time to time, a vacuuming on the reverse side of the rug is advised. This will release any dirt or sand that has penetrated the pile and is caught near the foundation of the rug. If this dirt is left near the foundation of the rug it can cause premature thinning of the carpet’s pile by cutting into the foundation which eventually presents wear on your rug.

4. Some Oriental carpets are antique and in a more fragile condition. These rugs need more delicate cleaning. If the antique carpet is scatter size, a gentle shake outdoors is all it needs. With an occasional hand wash, you won’t cause any damage to your rug, see our article on How To Hand Wash Your Oriental Rug. 

Small Antique Yastik Rug 

Notes on cleaning an Oriental rug:

If you are not sure of the foundation material of the rug, you can look at the fringe. Cotton fringe equals cotton foundation, wool fringe equals woolen foundation. The foundation material has nothing to do with the pile of the rug which is almost always wool, with the exception of silk rugs.

Please be aware of the areas under the furniture. Note the area under a skirted chair or sofa. This is where moths can hide undisturbed and lay their eggs. Moth larvae will chew on the wool at the base of the carpet and you will notice that tufts of wool are missing in areas that moths have laid their eggs.

Don’t forget to have your carpets washed at least once a year with heavy traffic or every two years with lighter traffic. Removing the grime from the surface of the wool and deep embedded sand will lessen the friction on the pile, thus lessening the wear and tear on your carpet.

Do not use bleach on your rug’s fringe when hand cleaning. The bleach weakens the cotton fibers and the fringe will break more easily with foot traffic.



All content provided above is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor Jessie's Oriental Rugs LLC assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. See Terms and Conditions for more information.

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