How to Clean (and maintain) a Wool Rug or Carpet

Congratulations on being the proud owner of a wool rug! You’ve put careful thought and time into choosing the perfect rug for your home, which means you’ll also want to keep it looking its absolute best for years to come.

Not only do wool rugs look beautiful and feel lovely beneath your feet, they’re incredibly durable as long as you give them a little extra care. While no one loves the idea of added maintenance, we promise it is not as daunting as it sounds.

How Often Should You Clean Your Rug?

That depends. Yes, it’s a terrible answer, but there are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration. In general, you’ll want to vacuum the rug twice per month. But, as promised, there are exceptions.


  • How much foot traffic your rug receives
  • Location of the rug
  • Pets
  • How careful you are (wearing shoes, spills, smoking)

While you shouldn’t vacuum your rug more than twice per month, there are other ways to clean in between if it need a little extra attention.

How to Clean Your Rug

Wool rugs have little air pockets in them due to overlaps and grooves within the wool fibers. This means they’ve perfected trapping dirt deeper down as opposed to their synthetic counterparts that keep it visible on the surface. It also means that wool rugs will look nicer and cleaner for longer. Yes, you can and should take more time between cleans but you still need to do it.


The recommendation on vacuuming is no more than twice per month. Vacuuming more than that can put undue stress on the wool fibers in the rug.

When you vacuum, do so in alternating directions to decrease agitation on the fibers. Do this by running the vacuum back and forth in a “V” motion across the rug. Don’t forget to vacuum the back side of the rug every few months.

It also matters what type of vacuum, or at least the kind of attachments, you use. The pile height of your rug will determine suction and height settings on your vacuum.

What to look for in a vacuum:

  • Has adjustable suctions for varying pile heights.
  • Doesn’t have a beater bar or has one that can be turned off.
  • Has a handle brush that can be used for cleaning up spills and for vacuuming the fringe.

Shaking and Beating

This old fashioned method of cleaning your rugs is still highly effective! Assuming you’re able to easily move the rug outside and have a location where you can hang it, this is worth doing. It is a great method for entry, hallway and other high traffic rugs and runners in between vacuumings.

The shaking method works best if you do it for 30 to 60 seconds. You can also give it a good beating by hanging it on a clothesline or deck railing and whacking it with anything from a wooden spoon to an actual rug beater found in antique stores or on Amazon. This will get the dirt (and any aggression you might be feeling) out!


A simple maintenance trick that people often forget. Avoid discoloration and excessive dirt in any one spot by giving your wool rug a rotation every six months.

That was easy!

Professional Cleaning

It’s important to have this done every 3-4 years or if you have a deep set-in stain that you cannot remove yourself. While we’d all like to believe we can do it ourselves, it’s not worth the risk of ruining your beautiful heirloom.

Steam Cleaning…

DON’T DO IT! Wool rugs should never be completely wet. The absorbent fibers will trap moisture and grow mold and mildew. Plus, the steam is too hot. The combination of dirt and heat will give you a nice mud coating on your precious wool rug.

Spot Removal

As with any surface area or rug, the most important step in removal of spots is to treat them IMMEDIATELY.

Depending on the type of spill, you may be able to clean it yourself. Some stains, however, require a professional. Either way, there’s only about a 15-minute window before the stain begins to set, so act quickly!

Type of Spill

How to Treat

Additional Directions

Food, Dirt, Cosmetics, Modeling Clay

8:1 ratio of water to vinegar

  1. Dab solution on with white paper towel.
  2. Dab dry with a clean paper towel.

Wine or dark liquids

Pour salt over the affected area (will absorb the liquid)

  1. Use a spoon to remove the salt residue.
  2. Sprinkle water onto the area with a metal spoon.
  3. Dab dry with a clean paper towel.

Pet messes or Alkaline spills

8:1 ratio of water to vinegar


1 tsp household ammonia to 1 cup water

  1. Dab solution on with white paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle water onto the area with a metal spoon.
  3. Dab dry with a clean paper towel.

Paint, oils, grease

Nail polish remover or spot removal/dry cleaning solvent

  1. Put remover on affected area ONLY.
  2. Rinse the area well by sprinkling cold water and blot dry.

Chemicals or bleach

Do not try to get spots out yourself.

  1. Pour cold water on affected area.
  2. Call a professional cleaner.

A few more maintenance tips…

Give it Cushion

Especially for the rugs sitting in your high traffic zones, giving it a little padding will go a long way in extending the life of your rug. The thickness of the foam pad will depend on the length of your rug’s pile. Trust us, you’ll appreciate this buffer.

Declare a No-Shoe Zone

Aside from pets, shoes track in the most dirt. Use your wool rugs as a beneficial excuse to have people remove shoes in your home.

Be Kind

If you think of your wool rug as a functional work of art, something you cherish and want to pass down to future generations, then you’ll no doubt be kind to it. That being said, it’s a part of your life and your home. Don’t declare it off-limits, just give it the treatment it deserves.

We want you to love this beautiful investment thirty years down the road as much as you did it when it was purchased. By taking these few small steps to care for it, we know that you will.


Speaking of investment, did you know that Modern Bungalow has a rug trade-up policy? Maybe you’re not yet ready to commit to a large area rug before you see how a certain design and color scheme will fit into your home. If you like the look of the rug you buy from our online store and want to trade it for a bigger one, you now can without paying for return shipping!

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