How To Clean Handmade Rugs

Do you have handmade rugs in the home? Perhaps you made them yourself, or you could’ve received one as a charming gift from someone special. But do you know how to clean handmade rugs? 

Most rugs have care labels on the back that recommend cleaning methods. But unlike store-bought rugs, handmade ones have no label with care instructions. And as they are made with natural materials, this makes cleaning them even trickier.

That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to cleaning handmade rugs at home. You’ll learn how to clean them using professional methods, and also how to clean them with products you have around the home.

How To Clean A Handmade Rug

how to clean a handmade rug

One of the most common handmade rugs is the famous rag rug. It is loved by crafters worldwide and sold at many outdoor markets. The humble rag rug can be plain and simple or very colorful. Made of cotton strips looped through a woven hessian or linen base, they lend a charming cottage look to any home. 

Because it’s made from natural fibers, you should only wash this type of rug by hand. Use lukewarm or cold water only for these materials, as hot water could cause shrinkage. Cold water also helps to keep colors bright.

The instructions below will guide you through cleaning your rag rug with carpet cleaning products, and with items that you already have in the home. 

How To Clean Handmade Rugs With Professional Products

Just because you’re washing them by hand, that doesn’t mean you can’t clean them like a pro. With these specialized carpet chemicals, you can clean any handmade rug and remove stains with ease.

Professional Cleaner

Just as there are for store-bought rugs, and wall-to-wall carpets, there’s a professional product for handmade cotton and linen rugs, too. 

It’s called Rob’s Secret Formula Cotton and Linen Shampoo. This is the best professional cleaner for all cotton rugs.

 how to clean handmade  carpet

  • Mix this easy-to-use powdered shampoo at a ratio of 4 oz per gallon of water. Specially formulated for cotton and linen rugs, it’s gentle enough for use on all natural materials, delicates, and handmade rugs.  
  • The cotton and linen shampoo cleans and brightens cotton, wool, and linen in just one step. It also leaves your rugs with a fresh, sweet breeze fragrance. Wash the rug with the powdered shampoo/water mixture and then rinse it thoroughly.
  • Dry your cotton rug naturally in the open air. Never tumble dry your rug or place it near heat to hasten the drying process. 
  • This product can also be used for hot water extraction-cleaning of your other carpets and rugs. 

Anytime you need to clean a natural fiber rug, this is the rug shampoo for the job. 

And if you’re stumped by how to clean a chenille rug, you can safely use this product. Chenille is a gentle, natural fabric often made from cotton, wool, rayon, or silk. As with cotton, clean it with cool water.

This method isn’t suitable for cleaning a leather rug, though. Never clean natural leather with water, but rather with a professional leather cleaner like our all-in-one leather cleaner and conditioner.  

 how to clean a handmade area rug

Professional Stain Remover

Super Gel spot and stain remover is suitable for all carpets, rugs, or upholstery fibers. You can use it to safely remove gum, oil, grease, oil, crayon, candle wax, or even lipstick stains from your handmade rug. 

how to clean handmade area rugs

Use this product as a spot treatment or pre-treatment of stains before cleaning the entire rug. Simply apply it to the stain, agitate with an old, worn-out soft toothbrush (must be clean), leave for a few minutes, and rinse. 

How To Clean Handmade Rugs With Products You Have In The Home 

Sometimes you don’t have professional carpet care products in the home, but you can’t wait until you buy them.  

If you are expecting guests and you need to clean a handmade cotton rag rug in a hurry, try using the following products. You probably already have them in your home.

Home Remedy Cleaner 

  • Fill a bucket or basin with cool water and a few drops of mild, bleach-free dish soap. You can also use a liquid laundry detergent designed for natural fibers. 
  • Wash gently by hand, and rinse thoroughly in cool water. Be sure to remove all the detergent, as it will attract dirt if it dries on the rug.
  • Hang your rug somewhere outdoors where it can dry in the open air. Never try to dry it with a heat source such as a tumble dryer. This can cause shrinkage of the cotton fibers. 

You can clean a synthetic rug with the dish soap method too.  So if you ever have to clean your nylon carpet in a hurry, you can safely do that in a pinch. (Remember to wash both nylon and cotton in cold water).

Natural Stain Remover

how to spot clean handmade rug

Baking soda is a gentle and natural stain remover that is safe for handmade rugs. Sprinkle some baking soda over the spot or stain. Add a few drops of water. Using an old, clean toothbrush (with soft, worn-out bristles) or your fingers if necessary, gently agitate the resultant baking soda paste. 

Leave it to sit for up to 2 hours, depending on the severity of the stain. Then, rinse off with cool water. You can do this before general rug cleaning or as a spot treatment. Baking soda is also a natural deodorizer, removing set-in odors from most materials.


Handmade rugs are often delicate and hard to clean. Natural fibers further compound the cleaning problem. But with the right know-how and products, you’ll restore your handmade rugs to their former glory. 

We stock a wide range of cleaning products, carpet care tools, and stain removers for all your carpeting and upholstery needs. Contact us today for any queries you have about specialized rug care.

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