How To Spot Or Deep Clean Hand-Made Persian Silk Or Wool Rugs At Home
No matter how careful you are accidents are bound to happen one way or another and when you own a hand made or antique rug it’s important to know how to clean/maintain them yourself. Whatever you do dont let some service “professional” charge you hundreds of dollars to stretch and warp your rug in their machines.
If you dont really need to deep clean, spot cleaning as accidents occur or just a small area is the best option to maintain silk and wool rugs. To do this you need to immediately soak the stain with water. Use your hands and, if you must, the smallest amount of soap to clean the spot with a clean white wash cloth. Go heavy on the water to get the spill area completely saturated and soak up the water with towels. Let it air dry but try to get as much water out as you can to avoid creating a water ring.
For a full deep clean you need to put it on a flat surface like your patio or driveway and get it evenly wet. Then with very dilute carpet shampoo by hand go through everything very gently with a scrub brush or even just your hands in the direction of the fibers. Always test a small area with your cleaner before you do the whole thing just in case. You want to do this step fairly quickly though or else the colors will run (especially red). This happens because these rugs are stained with natural ingredients that are not permanent.
Rinse the rug thoroughly with a hose to get through to the bottom and any lingering soap that may have got trapped deep in the rug. You might see a small amount of color when you rinse which is expected.
You can use a carpet shampooing vaccume on the highest carpet setting to suck up the water. Again, make sure you do so gently in the direction of the pile. If you dont have a shampooer, cant borrow one, if its very strong or if the rug is fragile you can push out the water in the direction of the pile (it may be nice to have another person easing the water out with you again in the right direction) and then use towels to dry it as much as possible. Wool has a kind of funny smell to it when it is wet but once its dry it goes away.
After either sucking out water or pushing it out it will still be damp and it will need to air dry. I would just leave it where it is on the ground in the sun completely flat for a full day until it is dry. You can put some fans on it to help the process.
If you feel like you must hang it i would only let it hang in half because if you have more than one thing holding it up you will have colors pool or water rings between those parts, even if you dont think it would, it will happen and you will have to rinse the whole rug out again as fast as possible to get rid of it. Also, try to only hang it for an hour or less while pushing water out as soon as it builds up to keep colors from running or water rings from forming. After a good amount of water is removed, put it back on the ground to dry flat in the sun. Otherwise you risk stretching and warping the rug, making it lumpy and unrepairable.
When it’s pretty much dry you can fluff it up by vaccuming it a few times like normal. If it seems a bit stiff you may not have rinsed the soap out enough and will have to rinse/dry it again. If you know you rinsed it all out then it will become soft over the next week or so as it is walked on.
Never use bleach or try to “restain” the carpet – it rarely ends well. Maintain the quality of your rug by always cleaning immediately after spills, especially when sugar, coffee or wine is involved. Also make sure guests take off their shoes before stepping onto your rug.
Storing Your Rug:
When moving or storing the rug evenly roll it up and tie firmly in multiple places. If placed vertically prop it up so it wont slump to create fold lines or warping. It should be kept in a dry dark place with plastic to cover it.
My Rug Qualifications:
I am half Iranian and have always had wool and silk rugs to maintain over my lifetime. In the usa since the early 90s my mother has had 3 very large persian rugs in the livingroom bedroom and dining area. They survived through two floods, one of which was just last year. Luckily only one of the rugs suffered discoloration on one corner that I was unable to ge th rid of. My home insurance company flew a specialist out from Texas to assess the damage to her rug. He insisted to have it professionally cleaned by some kind of rug experts and we felt comfortable as the company owner was also Persian. Long story short after taking the irreplaceable heirloom and putting it through the rug machine that was supposed to do magic we’re left worse off than it was before. Instead of being discolored on just one corner, now the entire rug is completely discolored, however evenly. I was much happier with just a corner discolored that I could easily hide under a piece of furniture instead of this weird dull pink/orange nightmare in my livingroom.
All im trying to say is if you care about the rug it’s really not too hard to clean yourself and you will probably do a better job than anyone else will because you care.
You can do it, I believe in you! Good luck!