Wool rugs are an investment piece in many homes – they are often highly durable and last for decades with proper treatment. Although they’re more expensive than rugs made with synthetic fibers, wool rugs also make a much smaller impact on the environment. Not to mention, wool rugs feel incredibly soft to the touch and showcase colors brilliantly. Yet inevitably, spills will occur. Wondering how to keep your wool rug looking good? Read on!
Luckily, wool is a highly stain-resistant material that’s fairly easy to clean, making wool rugs ideal for high-traffic areas of your home. The natural coating of wax on every wool fiber automatically protects moisture from penetrating the surface. When a spill occurs, always be sure to consider the type of stain before taking action. Use the following clean-up options below to keep your wool rug in good condition.
1. Spray water on the stain
The first and also most intuitive treatment is to apply water to the stain. Soak a clean rag in warm water and gently dab the stain, making sure that the entire area affected has been doused in water. Work from the outside of the stain to the middle in order to avoid spreading the stain to other parts of your rug. Continue to blot to see if some of the stain will lift. It’s always best to treat the stain as quickly as possible, rather than have the stain dry and potentially cause permanent damage.
Simply fill up an empty spray bottle with warm water and wet the affected area. Most importantly, do not scrub the rug harshly with a brush or broom, primarily because this action can cause significant damage to the wool fibers. Use a gentle vacuum or a soft bristle brush to lift dirt or residue if needed in a circular motion, but be careful not to be too forceful.
2. Use vinegar
If you think your stain may require more than just a bit of water to fix, try vinegar. This common household cleaning agent is moderately gentle on most materials, including wool. In particular, vinegar is great for cleaning up pet stains since it neutralizes urine odor. Also, you can consider vinegar for light food stains.
Always mix vinegar with warm water for best results. A good proportion is ¼ cup of white vinegar with 2 cups water. Again, use a spray bottle and a clean rag to apply and blot the stain thoroughly. Once you can see that the stain is lifting, start blotting with a dry cloth. You can wait up to 15 minutes with a wet rag on the wool, but longer than that can risk the chance of mold and mildew growth. Be sure that the area is blotted as dry as possible, and then allow your rug to air dry.
3. Apply rubbing alcohol
Accidentally dropped your liquid makeup on the carpet? Use rubbing alcohol for stains that include nail polish, any kind of makeup, ink, or shoe polish. As mentioned above, you’ll want to use vinegar for food and pet stains, but for the more stubborn stains that come from artificial products like nail polish, paint or a similar material, rubbing alcohol is recommended as the best solution to fight these.
Start by soaking a cotton ball or a clean rag with the rubbing alcohol and apply to your wool rug delicately. Repeat until you begin to see the stain lift. These types of stains can be stubborn, so if you fail to see good results quickly, it may be best let the rag sit overnight. As long as your rug is not completely drenched in liquid, you can try leaving the rag sit on the stained area for a couple hours. When you come back to the stain later, you should see most of the stain on the rag instead of your wool rug. If not, it may be best to seek professional assistance.
4. Vacuum lightly
Although wool rugs are extremely durable, they are still made of fibers that can be damaged with hard use. Wool rugs can withstand light vacuuming, something which you may occasionally perform anyway to lift up dust and dirt. If you have a stain, it’s a good idea to perform one of the options above and then follow through by vacuuming.
Be sure to vacuum in different directions, avoiding any fringe that may exist on each side of your rug. This will also pick up any residue that a damp cloth or bristle brush may not be able to. Just be careful not to use the highest setting on your vacuum, because the wool fibers may show their wear afterward. Use a low or medium setting to protect from any damage.
5. Seek professional assistance
Last but not least, you may need to seek professional assistance to clean your wool rug once every so often. Especially if your wool rug is an heirloom piece or potentially hundreds of years old, professional cleaning is well worth the investment. In particular, if a stain is particularity tough or has been untreated for more than a couple of days, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Likewise, if the stain covers most of your rug instead of just one or two spots, a thorough, professional cleaning is advisable. Your rug specialist will know how to care for your rug without the risk of potentially damaging it.
The life of your rug will be unmistakably extended by routine cleanings by professionals who know how to care for precious wool rugs and treat the toughest stains. Consider this alternative if all options above have failed you!