How to clean an oriental rug

How to clean an oriental rug

Oriental rugs can be tricky to clean. After all, they are fragile and expensive, so the last thing you want to do is ruin it. Here we will show you how to safely clean an oriental rug, along with its fringes and how to deal with pet urine.

Topics covered
  • How to clean an oriental rug
  • How to clean the fringes
  • How to clean pet urine from an oriental rug
  • How to take care of it

How to clean an oriental area rug

The information provided here ONLY applies to oriental rugs made from blended wool or cotton. Those made from pure wool or silk, due to their fragility, should be taken to a professional cleaner instead.

Always check the label first. It would be wise to check the label before starting any cleaning process. If the label says dry clean only, then the chances are that the colors of the carpet will run when wet.

We can test by applying some warm soapy water onto a small section of the carpet and then by pressing a dry paper towel onto the wet spot.

If the color of the carpet is showing on the paper towel, then that means that the carpet is not colorfast. It’s best to take it to a professional dry cleaning service.

On the other hand, if no colors show, then proceed with the following steps.

Step 1: Vacuum thoroughly

First, thoroughly vacuum the rug on both sides. This will pick up any loose dust and dirt from the carpet. The fringes on these oriental rugs can be very fragile, so it’s best not to vacuum those. Instead, we will clean them separately later.

Step 2: Hang the carpet up outside

If the carpet is not too big and heavy, then hang it over the clothesline. Hit the rug for a few minutes to get any last bits of remaining dust out.

Step 3: Rinse

Thoroughly rinse the carpet out with the hosepipe. Get it soaking wet by keeping the hose on it for a few minutes.

Step 4: Wash

Get a small bucket with lukewarm water and add some mild liquid cleaning detergent. Gently scrub the entire carpet on both sides with this soapy water by using a very soft brush or sponge.

Step 5: Rinse again

As soon as you have washed the carpet and it’s nice and foamy, thoroughly spray the soap off with a hosepipe again.

Step 6: Dry

Properly drying the oriental rug is essential. Leaving it to dry out in the sun will be the quickest way, but sunlight makes the colors fade. Therefore, leave it out in the sun for an hour or two to get it semi-dry before taking it back into the house. Lay it down and let a fan blow on it until it’s completely dry.


How to clean the fringes

As mentioned, the fringes on oriental rugs are incredibly fragile and can, therefore, break easily. We’ll show you what to do step-by-step, but remember to be careful.

Brush the fringes out with a soft brush. This will straighten them out, as well as help loosen up any dirt on them.

The mild acidity of white vinegar is suitable for use on oriental rug fringes, so fill a spray bottle with 1/3 white distilled vinegar and 2/3 water. Spray the vinegar and water solution on the fringes until they are soaked. Let it sit for 30 minutes while the vinegar starts breaking the dirt and stains down.

Get a small bucket with lukewarm water, mix in some mild liquid cleaning detergent, and use it to scrub the fringes with a soft brush. Thoroughly rinse the fringes with water and allow it to dry.

Oriental rug fringes are usually white, off-white, or light brown. If yours is white, then it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to restore it to that color.

You may be thinking about bleaching it, right? Well, you could, but it’s not recommended as bleach is harsh on the fibers, and could damage them.


How to clean pet urine from an oriental rug

How to clean pet urine from an oriental rug.

Pet urine on carpets can stain and even smell for many years unless immediate action is taken.

The key is to get the urine out before it dries. Do so by putting a generous amount of baking soda on the urine spot and allow an hour for it to draw the liquids out. A natural reaction for most people is to start washing the urine spot, but that is not advised because all it does is dilutes and spreads the urine further into the carpet.

After an hour has passed, vacuum the baking soda up. Next, fill a spray bottle with undiluted white vinegar and spray onto the spot until it’s soaking wet. Leave that for an hour while the mild acidic content of the vinegar loosens up the urine stains.

Get some warm soapy water and gently scrub with a soft brush before adding some more baking soda. Leave the baking soda for a couple of hours as it draws all the liquids out and deodorizes.

Once again, vacuum the baking soda up.


How to take care of your oriental rug

Taking good care of your oriental rug will go a long way in extending its life and will also help it stay cleaner for longer.

Try to keep it out of direct sunlight

Sunlight does more than fade the colors of carpets, as it can also damage the fibers. Position your rugs in such a way as to prevent or at least minimize their contact with damaging sun rays that come in through windows.

Vacuum it regularly

Don’t wait for your carpet to have visible signs of dirt before you begin to vacuum it. The best thing to do is to vacuum it regularly. So how often is regularly? If your rug is in a high foot traffic area, then once a week should do it. For rugs that don’t receive a lot of foot traffic, once every two weeks.

Also, vacuum both sides of your oriental rug but don’t do the fringes as they are fragile and can damage easily. When doing the top, be sure to move side to side as this will help loosen the dirt and dust.

Don’t let furniture stand on it

It’s best not to have any furniture standing on your rug as it can damage it over time. This may not always be possible, so if you have to put furniture on it, then at least make sure that the heaviest part of the furniture is not on the rug. Placing some form of padding between the furniture and carpet will also help.

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