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A Step-by-Step Guide on Cleaning Persian Rugs

Could your Persian rug use a deep clean? Persian rugs are known to last a lifetime, which means they can also take a beating from foot traffic, pets and spills. That’s why knowing how to clean your Persian rug yourself comes in super handy. So, we’ve created this brief guide on how to clean your handmade rug with care, from spot cleaning to deep cleaning.

How to Deep Clean a Persian Rug

Persian rugs are investment pieces, and these treasured rugs last as long as you care for them. So, to keep your Persian rug in pristine condition, we suggest deep cleaning your Persian rug at least every three to five years, whether that be professionally or the DIY way.

  1. Check the label 

Before you start cleaning your Persian rug, it’s always best to look underneath your rug to see if there’s a label. Usually, rugs have their own care guides stitched to the bottom – this label should include a brief guide on how to care for your rug.

Additionally, Persian rugs can be made from silk, wool, cotton or synthetic materials, and each fibre requires different degrees of finesse when it comes to cleaning. Cotton and wool rugs are typically easier to clean. However, if you own a silk Persian rug, we recommend taking it to the professionals!  

  • Hoovering 

Before you start your deep clean, you’ll want to remove any dirt and debris with a hoover – the dirt hiding deep in the rug’s fibres can do a lot of damage over time. Start the hoovering by laying your rug flat on the floor and hoovering it on both sides. We recommend hoovering as slowly as possible on a low to medium suction and then repeat this process at least three times. The key to getting the cleanest rug is hoovering slowly – this will ensure the hoover has enough time to pick up as much debris as possible. Here are some useful tips on how to hoover your Persian rug safely:

– Slowly hoover over the rug in the direction of the fibres

– Be extra cautious when hoovering the edges. If your Persian rug has fringes, you don’t want to damage them with the hoover accidentally. If you wish to hoover the edges, then carefully use the upholstery attachment.

– If you’re concerned about your hoover suction being a little too aggressive, we suggest you opt for old-fashioned methods like gently shaking, beating and then sweeping your Persian rug with a soft bristle brush.

  • Mix your cleaning solutions

The rug experts believe the best way to clean a Persian rug is to use a specialist rug shampoo safe for Persian rugs (this should be stated on the packaging) or a mild dish detergent in liquid form. Alternatively, if you have tough stains such as wine, grease, pet stains, and odours, use a vinegar and water solution – always use lukewarm water so it doesn’t shrink the rug fibres.

  • Detergent solution – Mix 1 tablespoon of detergent and ½ cup of warm water
  • Vinegar Solution – Mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (any other vinegar might ruin your rug and leave a bad smell) and ½ cup of warm water.
  • Wash the rug

Once you’ve done your colour test and you’re sure the dyes won’t bleed, you can dampen your rug with your mild detergent mixture. You want to dampen the whole rug and then use a clean, soft bristle brush to gently brush over the rug fibres. Do not scrub too hard, as you can damage the rug fibres. Repeat if necessary and add more detergent and water if needed. However, we recommend you avoid using too much water on the rug as this can draw out the drying process.

  • Cleaning the fringe 

If the fringe of your Persian rug starts to look lacklustre and dingy, then cleaning it can give the tassels a new lease of life. The fringe on Persian rugs can be very delicate, and if your Persian rug is hand-woven, we suggest leaving the fringe cleaning to the professionals. However, if your rug is machine-woven, you can start by gently combing the fringe with a soft bristle brush, then spraying a combination of plain white vinegar (1/4 cup) and water (2 cups) and then use water to rinse out the vinegar mixture.

  • Rinse the rug 

Once you’ve gently scrubbed or brushed your entire rug, go over the rug again with clean water to ensure all the detergent has been removed. Any excess detergent can attract dirt once the rug has dried.

  • Let the rug dry 

It would be best if you allowed your rug to completely dry before placing it back on its anti-slip mat. If you don’t do this, it can lead to the formation of mildew, bad odours, and even worse, weaken the fibres of the rug, causing it to rot. The best way to dry a Persian rug is to hang it in an airy location, rotate it and keep it on a slightly sloped surface to avoid the water pooling.

Avoid leaving your Persian rug to dry in direct sunlight; this can cause the beautiful and vibrant weave pattern to fade. Wool is very absorbent, so, remember, it may require some patience; it could take up to three days for your rug to fully dry out.

How to Maintain and Care for Your Persian Rug

Removing odour from Persian rugs

Old Persian rugs might be renowned for their fusty smell, but that’s not to say only antique Persian rugs can smell. In fact, the reason Persian rugs can sometimes smell is down to their sturdy animal fibre content. However, you don’t have to put up with it. There are a few ways to get rid of bad smells:

  1. Apply baking soda and vacuum
  2. Fan dry your rug on both sides, working in sections
  3. Leave it outside on a sunny day, only for a few hours

Spot cleaning your Persian rug 

Let’s face it, spills happen. Whether it’s an errant glass of wine or muddy paw prints, carpets and rugs are magnets for accidents. Thankfully, there are homemade carpet cleaning solutions perfect for Persian rugs. And the best part is, they don’t require any store-bought solutions! With just a few simple ingredients you probably have stored in your cupboards, you have your own DIY spot cleaner.

To maintain the cleanliness of your Persian rug, it’s always best to tend to spillages as soon as they occur. If you leave spillages to dry out, they’ll be harder to remove and might leave a smell on your rug. As soon as the spillage occurs, make a spot cleaning solution; here are two reliable solutions:

Mild Detergent: Use 1 teaspoon of gentle detergent such as dishwashing liquid mixed with one cup of lukewarm water.

Vinegar Mix: Mix 1/3 of a cup of plain white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Method

1. Act quickly 

2. Blot up as much up as possible

  • Scoop or blot up as much as possible with a white paper towel or a clean absorbent cloth. Do not use any coloured materials. The colour may pass through to your rug.
  • Remember to blot – do not rub; this will spread the stain further.

3. Test in an inconspicuous spot 

  • Test the solution on an inconspicuous area of the rug – by putting a small drop on each colour in the rug, and then blot for 10 seconds. If colour transfers into your cloth, then you must stop! We recommend getting your Persian rug professionally cleaned if this is the outcome.

4. Use your DIY solution

  • Dip a cloth into the vinegar solution and dab repeatedly, and press the cloth on the spot for a few seconds.
  • Rinse by blotting with a cloth soaked in lukewarm water, and then wait until the rug has dried.
  • Repeat step 4 until the stain has completely been removed.

We hope our Persian rug cleaning guide has left you feeling confident enough to tackle cleaning your own handmade rug. While you’re here, why not browse our wide range of beautiful Persian rugs? Or head to our blog to discover 7 things you didn’t know about Persian rugs.