How To Clean a Persian Rug

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Persian rugs require special care and upkeep. Here's how experts recommend keeping them in tip-top shape.

Persian rugs are a beautiful addition to any home, widely regarded for their quality, durability and workmanship. They’re made of wool and include intricate, handmade patterns that define their overall look.

An authentic Persian rug can take from two to five months to complete and last for generations if cared for properly. Knowing how to clean a Persian rug is essential to guarantee its longevity.

For the most part Persian rugs aren’t difficult to clean, but they do need special care. Kate Diaz, an interior designer and founder of Swankyden, says wool requires a different cleaning method than other rug materials. Otherwise, you could damage the rug or make the colors fade.

How Often Should I Clean a Persian Rug?

Diaz suggests deep cleaning Persian rugs at least once a year, and more frequently if you have young children or animals. “I usually do it every six months, but some people wait a full year,” she says.

In between deep cleanings, Bruce Vance, a certified house cleaning technician with Town and Country Cleaning Services, recommends vacuuming Persian rugs carefully.

“If the rug is in good condition, it’s more effective to turn the rug upside down and vacuum the back with a beater brush,” he says. “This will loosen soil from the fibers.” However, don’t do this with fragile rugs.

And don’t run over fringes with your vacuum cleaner, says Ali Hafezi of Babash Rug Services, a professional rug cleaning company in Los Angeles. That can damage them. Instead, grab the vacuum hose and gently target the delicate fringe as part of your regular Persian rug-cleaning routine.

You can also shake out rugs to remove debris, Diaz says. For rugs larger than 10- x 13-feet, ask another person to help. You can also hang a Persian rug over a rail or fence and use a rug beating tool to remove the dirt.

Hafezi has one more suggestion. “We recommend turning the rug once every six months, to assure even wear of traffic and sun fading,” he says.

Should I Hand Clean or Dry Clean a Persian Rug?

Dry cleaning is the preferred method for smaller Persian rugs, Vance says. “If you send a Persian rug to a dry cleaner, make sure you vacuum well before sending,” he says. That’s because Persian rugs hold a lot of dirt, making them more difficult to dry clean. You can also take it to a professional rug cleaning company, which may be better for larger rugs.

The cost of dry cleaning will vary depending on the size and age of the rug. Diaz estimates $10 to $15 per square foot. “Just be sure to tell your dry cleaner that your rug is Persian, so they can use the right cleaning method and products,” she says.

How To Spot Clean a Persian Rug

If you need to spot clean a Persian rug after a small spill or a mess from muddy paws, our experts prefer the DIY route. “We strongly recommend against using over-the-counter stain removal products,” Hafezi says.

Diaz’s recommended DIY solution starts with placing a dry white towel on top of the dirty spot, then pressing down firmly with your foot to soak up the spill or mess.

Next, fill a bowl with water and a few drops of mild dish soap, then mix together. Dip a clean white cloth into the soapy water, wring it out so it’s not sopping wet, then dab the stained area with circular motions. “Make sure to focus on removing any dirt or grime from the carpet, and not just the liquid spill,” Diaz says.

Be careful of over-agitation, Vance adds. And spot-check for color fastness or changes in color characteristics before tackling the whole stain.

Rinse the cloth in clean water, then dab the area again to remove soap residue. Finally, dry the area with a fresh towel, absorbing as much of the moisture as possible. Leave the rug to air dry completely before walking on it. If it’s a nice day, you can let it air dry in the sun.

How Not To Clean a Persian Rug

Use common sense and avoid extremely hot water or chemicals. Vance adds that trying to clean Persian rugs with liquid cleaners, aside from simple spot cleaning, can also cause unsightly damage. “The carpet may look better at first, but is likely to get dirty faster,” he says.

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Ashley Zlatopolsky
Ashley Zlatopolsky is a Detroit-based writer, editor and content strategist with more than 10 years of experience. She creates editorial, branded, SEO and affiliate content. With 45+ cover stories published worldwide, her writing can be found in Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Nat Geo, Billboard, the Guardian, The Daily Beast, Healthline, USA TODAY, Detroit Free Press, U.S. News, The Atlantic, Elite Daily, Bustle, HealthyWomen, Business Insider and more. She has developed branded content for Verizon, Barefoot Wine, Coca-Cola, A&E, Pop-Tarts, Chevrolet, BMW, Saks Fifth Avenue and Walmart.