How to Clean a Wool Rug

A wool rug is a valuable decor item to have in the home, so it should be maintained and treated with care. If you are faced with an almost inevitable stain or the general need to keep it tidy, you will need to know the proper care and cleaning methods. 

Due to the sensitive and delicate nature of a wool rug, it cannot be cleaned in the same way as a synthetic rug. You will need to be cautious when cleaning, and ensure you carry out the process gently to avoid ruining your rug.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly how to clean a wool rug. We’ll give you several safe and effective methods that you can use to keep it looking and feeling brand new for years.

What this article covers:

Can You Clean Wool Rugs?

how to clean wool rug

A wool rug may be an expensive, very delicate item, But this does not mean that you cannot clean it when needed. 

There are a few ways you can carefully, and safely, get out any stains or perform a general or deep clean on the rug. It is best to be cautious, like when you are cleaning a fur carpet.

The cleaning method you go for will depend on what type of mess you’re dealing with. You may need to get rid of a nasty stain, or perhaps you have to deep clean your wool shag rug every few years to keep it fresh. 

Alternatively, you may want to do a regular clean of the rug to prevent dirt from building up and keep it in mint condition for a prolonged period. 

You should avoid cleaning it as often as you would other types of rugs or carpets in your home, like cleaning sisal rug pet stains, but you can do a gentle wash every 5-6 months. 

Best Way To Clean Wool Rugs

If you have a wool rug in your home, you can get away with having to clean it every week, but you will need to do the occasional freshening up. This can be done every 6 months, to once a year, depending on several factors like the position of the rug, the size, the wear, and so on. 

If it is in the living room or kitchen, which sees a lot of foot traffic, you may need to clean it more often. If it is in a spare room, where there isn’t daily foot traffic, you can clean it less often.

If you freshen up the rug regularly, you do not need to do any heavy-duty cleaning. A good dusting can do the trick, like when cleaning a silk rug. Because this does not wear the carpet, it can be done as often as you see fit. 

Remove Furniture

First, you will remove any furniture or other items that may be on the rug. Clear the space so that you can lift it without obstacles in the way.

Dust It Off

how to clean a wool carpet

Next, you will need to dust the rug. The easiest way to do this is with a good shake. 

To avoid letting off dust in your home, which can cause mess and flare-up allergies, move the rug outside before you begin. This can be done in your garden, on a balcony, or in the parking lot, depending on your setup. 

If the rug is large, it may need two or more sets of hands to carry it out and shake it. 

Once outside, give the rug a vigorous shake. Continue doing this for a minute or two, or until no more dust expels from the fibers. 

While outside, be careful not to let the rug come in contact with anything wet or dirty. It is best to do this step on a clear day so that you do not risk rain causing unwanted wetness. 

Vacuum Up (optional)

If you feel like the shaking of the rug did not clear up all the dirt and dust in its fibers, you can add an optional second step of vacuuming it. 

This is generally best to add if you are not cleaning out the rug very often, as the vacuum may be needed to draw out deep-set dirt. 

One of the best vacuums available is the Nautilus 500PSI 3-stage vacuum, which can be adjusted for your cleaning needs and will work to effectively suction whatever you need to be removed.

how to clean wool area rug

When vacuuming, do it on the lowest setting if your vacuum allows. A suction that is too strong may damage the fibers of the rug over time. 

Vacuuming should not be done more than 1-2 times per month, as the regular suction can lead to frayed wool fibers. 

How To Spot Clean A Wool Rug

Sometimes you may not need to clean the whole rug, but just a small section of it, if there is a spill or stain that occurs on its surface. 

A food spill, grease splatter, or any other type of stain can seem like the end of the world, especially on a wool rug, but there is no need to panic. You can effectively remove it without having to clean out the whole thing. 

In this scenario, it is best to attend to it as soon as possible. The sooner you clean a stain, the easier it will be to remove. This applies to getting a stain out of a jute rug, or a wool rug.

Remove Excess 

The first thing that needs to be done is to remove any excess from the stain. The best way to do this is by using a paper towel. 

Use the towel to dab the stained area with a bit of pressure. Continue doing this until whatever is on the carpet has transferred as much as possible to the paper towel, before you continue. 

Avoid rubbing the spot at all costs, as this can lead to the stain spreading or embedding deeper into the wool fiber. 

Combine Solution

Mix a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of liquid soap. Combine well in a small bowl. 

Use a dry, soft cloth to dip into the solution, and then gently blot it on the stain. Repeat this action until you have absorbed as much of the stain as possible onto the cloth. You may need to move around to fresh sections of the cloth, and regularly dip back into the solution. 

Rinse the Area

how to clean wool area rugs

Use a new dry and absorbent cloth to dip into plain cold water, and then dab the area again to draw out the soap. In addition to rinsing the rug, this should also get rid of any remnants of the stain left.

Remove Odour (Optional)

If the stain also has a bad odor, you may need to get rid of this with an additional, optional step using vinegar. 

White spirit vinegar is a common household product that you may already have in your pantry, and it works incredibly well to eliminate nasty odors. 

Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water, and use a fresh cloth to dip into this combination and blot the stained area. Next, do the same with a fresh cloth and plain cold water to rinse out the vinegar. 

Vinegar can be used on most fabric, like cleaning a sheepskin rug.

Leave To Dry

Leave the rug to dry for a few hours, or overnight, and then check it once fully dry. If the stain is still present, repeat the process. If the stain is gone but an odor remains, you can just repeat the vinegar step. 

How To Deep Clean A Wool Rug

If you only clean your wool rug once a year or less, you will need to deep clean it to remove all dirt and dust that has settled into the fibers. 

For a heavy-duty clean such as this, it is always best to use a professional carpet cleaning product. Not only will this be strong enough for a deep clean, but it will be effective without damaging the wool of the rug. 

how to clean a wool area rug

Vacuum Rug

First, it is best to vacuum the rug to remove any excess dust or debris sitting on and in the fibers. Move the vacuum over the entire rug 2-3 times to get as much out as possible, so that the remaining steps are made a lot easier. 

Prepare Solution 

It is best to apply a good quality carpet pre-spray to clean it out properly. The Truck Mount Forum Black Label Sweet Breeze Pre-Spray works well here, as it is formulated for this type of clean. 

how to spot clean wool rug

The pre-spray cleans out any debris from the carpet, and also leaves it softer and brighter after cleaning. In addition to its cleaning qualities, the Sweet Breeze scent removes all nasty odors and leaves behind a pleasant smell. 

how do you clean wool rugs

Mix the solution according to the instructions on the packaging before applying it. If you are working on tile, then a professional concrete cleaner can work well here. 

how to spot clean a wool rug

Apply Solution

Use a dry cloth to dip into the mixed solution, and then dab the rug with pressure. Dip before each dab, and make sure you apply the solution to the entire carpet. Move methodically from one side across so that you do not miss any spots. 

Repeat this 4-5 times before rinsing. 

Rinse Rug

Dip a fresh cloth into cold water, and blot the entire rug again to rinse out the solution. Repeat this 2-3 times, before leaving it to dry. 

Let the rug air dry overnight, and check that there is no moisture remaining before placing it back inside. This method can be used for any deep clean, like getting stains out of a cowhide rug

How To Clean A Wool Area Rug

An area rug can vary in size but is generally on the larger end of the scale. It is not necessary to clean an area carpet very often, as wool rugs are relatively durable and low maintenance. But it is key to clean it once or twice a year for general upkeep, to ensure the lifespan of the rug is extensive.

For general maintenance, it is best to dust off and/or vacuum the rug at least once a month, to prevent dust from building up. For your annual cleaning of a polyester rug area, you will want to get water and cleaning products involved.

Move The Rug

First, it is best to move the rug to an outdoor area so as not to cause a mess inside. A patio or balcony is preferable, as cleaning it on the grass can become counter-productive with dust and mud underneath it. If you do not have an outdoor floor, you can lay down a sheet of paper or plastic on the grass and place the rug on top of it. 

Depending on how big the rug is, you may need some help to carry it out of the house. 

Combine a Solution

Mix two cups of warm water and two tablespoons of liquid soap, and transfer this solution to a spray bottle. 

Apply Solution

how to clean wool rugs

Spray the rug generously with the mixed solution. Apply enough to dampen the rug well, allowing the soap to seep through the fibers. You may need to mix more of the cleaning solution if you are working with a larger rug. 

Brush The Rug

Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the rub in a back-and-forth motion. Do not apply too much pressure, as this can fray the fibers. 

Once the rug is lathered and scrubbed, pour cold water onto the rug to rinse it out. 

Dry Rug

Once you have rinsed out all the soap, you will need to dry the rug well. You can use a small vacuum to suction as much liquid as possible, and then leave it out to air dry fully for a few hours. 

Once it has completely dried, you can move the rug back inside. 

How To Clean A Wool Throw Rug

A throw rug is generally much smaller than an area rug, which makes it a little easier to handle and clean. 

A good, natural way to clean it out is by using baking soda. This is a common ingredient that you probably already have in your pantry, and it is incredibly effective when used for cleaning purposes to draw out dirt and odor. 

You can do this type of cleaning process about once or twice a year, in addition to a monthly vacuum of the rug. 

Dust Off Carpet

First, remove the carpet from wherever it is located and take it outside to begin cleaning. Shake it out thoroughly for about a minute to remove as much excess dust as possible, before starting to clean. 

Dampen Rug

Fill up a spray bottle with warm water, and then spray it over the entire rug. Make sure you dampen the whole area so that it gets thoroughly cleaned. 

Apply Soda

best way to clean wool rugs

Straight after dampening the rug, generously sprinkle on baking soda. You should cover the entire surface, to the point of not being able to see the rug anymore. You may need 2-3 bottles of baking soda for this, depending on the size of the rug.

Next, you will spray more warm water on top of the baking soda until it is also completely damp. 

Leave it to settle into the rug and draw out any dirt for about 2-3 hours. 

Vacuum Soda

After the waiting period, you will remove the baking soda from the rug. You can dust off as much of it as you can first, and then go in with a vacuum to remove all the baking soda particles. 

The carpet may still be damp, so leave it out to dry for a few hours. Ensure it is completely dry before placing it back inside.

How To Clean A White Wool Rug

A wool rug is delicate as is, so if it is white too, you need to be extra careful when cleaning. 

It is ideal to vacuum a white wool rug at least twice a month, as any dust collected appears clearly on the surface. 

Prepare Rug

Unlike with the other methods, it is generally best to keep a white rug inside while cleaning as exposure to outdoor elements might make it difficult to clean completely, if not making the mess even worse. If you do not want it to be indoors while cleaning, you can always carry out the process in a garage. 

You can start by vacuuming the rug to remove as much excess dust as possible. This makes the next steps far easier. 

Combine Soapy Liquid 

Next, you will mix 3 cups of lukewarm water with a tablespoon of liquid soap. Avoid anything too harsh, as this will likely discolor the rug. 

Mix or transfer the solution to a bucket or large bowl. 

Blot Area

Use a dry and absorbent cloth for this step. Dip the cloth into the cleaning solution, and then blot the carpet. Start from one corner and work your way across until the other end, and then move downwards and across. Continue this to blot the entire carpet. Repeat for 8-10 rounds. 

Rinse the Rug

best way to clean wool rug

Swap out for a bowl of clean, cold water and a fresh cloth, and repeat the action of the previous step to rinse out any soap. Cover the entire rug at least 5-6 times to rinse it out fully. 

Vacuum Liquid 

Use a vacuum to suction up as much of the liquid as possible to get the carpet dried up. It may still be damp, so leave it to dry for a few hours, or overnight, until all moisture is gone. 


As daunting as it may be to clean your wool rug, it is generally something that can’t be avoided. 

Whether you are dealing with a stain, or you just need to clean it out every year to keep it fresh, you should stick to safe and effective methods so that you do not inflict any damage on your valuable rug. 

When it comes to general upkeep, it is always best to maintain the cleanliness of the rug with yearly or twice yearly cleans that should use specific, professional chemicals and equipment. 

Always ensure you have checked the products you use carefully to avoid altering the appearance of the rug and keep cleaning actions gentle so as not to fray the wool. 

How To Clean A Wool Rug (FAQs)

Is a wool rug hard to clean?

A wool rug is not necessarily difficult to clean but does require a more careful approach you don’t damage the carpet fibers and appearance. 

If you are not seeking the services of professional cleaning companies, then it is best to use 

professional cleaning products when cleaning the rug yourself. 

Can you clean a wool rug with a carpet cleaner?

It is not recommended that you use a carpet cleaning machine, like an Orbital floor scrubber, on a wool rug. 

how do you clean a wool rug

While this type of equipment works wonders on other carpets and rugs, the delicate composition and nature of the wool make it risky to use a machine on this type of rug. 

Can you dry clean a wool rug?

Yes, you can dry-clean a wool rug. 

This form of cleaning works well on wool because it effectively removes any dirt and debris without wetting the carpet. This reduces the risk of mold or mildew build-up if the carpet does not completely dry, and is less fuss-free than water-based methods. 

However, mild cleaning chemicals must be used when dry cleaning. Anything too strong can be harmful to the rug.

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