How To Clean A Persian Rug By Hand (In 3 Easy Steps!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Persian rugs are considered to be the gold standard when it comes to luxury carpeting, especially if they’re hand woven. Unfortunately, they’re not exactly easy to clean. Unlike commercially-made rugs, Persian rugs do not come with instructions neatly printed on tags. However, they still need to be cleaned, and most of the time, it has to be done by hand. But…how?

There are several ways to clean a Persian rug by hand. The most common include:

  • Shaking It Out
  • Vacuuming It
  • Wiping It Down With A Detergent Solution

If you just bought your first Persian rug, then you’re probably wondering what you can do to keep it looking fresh. This guide will give you the instructions you won’t find on a carpet tag.

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The Three Most Common Ways To Clean Persian Rugs

Persian rugs are not known for being easy to clean, though they probably should be. These rugs have a history that stretches back before the times of modern cleaning, which means that you can usually keep them looking tidy with minimal effort. We’re going to take a look at the three most common ways to clean them below.

Shaking It Out

Also known as beating a rug, this is one of the easiest ways to make sure that all the grit and grime that collected in the carpet over the years will be removed. To do this, bring your rug outside, hang it over a tree branch, and beat it with a large stick or tennis racket. If the rug is small enough, you can also shake it out by hand.

Once stuff stops falling out of the carpet, you can bring it back in. If you want to deodorize the carpet, just spray it down with some Febreze.

Vacuuming It

Now that we are in a modern age where vacuums exist, shaking out a rug outdoors isn’t a necessity. You can usually get results that are just as good by vacuuming it. When vacuuming a Persian rug, make sure that you set the vacuum to low pile before you start. This will help you get the most dust out of your carpet.

If you are vacuuming your rug and want to deodorize it, sprinkle baking soda on the rug and let it sit for 15 minutes. After that, vacuum the rug thoroughly. The baking soda will have absorbed the odors.

The Wet Cleaning Method

In an ideal world, we would never have to worry about spills on a Persian rug. In reality, it’s a thing and we have to know how to deal with it. Thankfully, there are now gentle cleaners you can use to make sure that your rug isn’t permanently wrecked. Here’s how to do it:

  • In a large bottle, mix together two tablespoons of dish soap and some warm water. Shake it up so stuff is evenly distributed. Pour the mixture into a bowl or bucket.
  • Get a clean sponge, and dip it in the bucket. Use the sponge to scrub away at the rug, making sure to get all the area of the rug thoroughly scrubbed. While you’re scrubbing, make sure to switch out sponges as they get dirty—or to clean them off, at the very least.
  • Once the carpet has been cleaned, empty the bucket, fill it with water, and give it a second scrubbing. This is the way you will need to rinse your Persian rug. If you do not do this step, the detergent will make grime stick to your carpet harder. This will make your carpet look worse after you’ve cleaned it!
  • After it’s been rinsed, let your rug air dry. Rugs do not need to be heat treated or fan dried. They’re resilient like that.

How Should You Get Stains Out Of A Persian Rug?

In most cases, stains are fairly manageable—as long as they aren’t something as rough as Kool-Aid, anyway. If you’re just dealing with stains like food, mud, or similar stuff, there’s a fairly reliable way to get stains out of a Persian rug. The key, of course, is to act as quickly as you can. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start off by scraping off as much of the stain as you can. If you can pick up some of it (such as clumps of mud) do so immediately.
  • If you have a liquid stain, start by blotting the stain with a clean white rag. Keep blotting until you can no longer transfer any more liquid to the cloth. Switch cloths if yours becomes saturated.
  • Add a teaspoon of Woolite to some water, and mix it together. Woolite is gentle enough to be used on most carpets with great success.
  • Use a new sponge to dip into the solution, and dab the stain out. Do not press or scrub the stain, as this will only cause the stain to sink deeper in. Rather, blot it lightly so that the stain transfers from one material to the other.
  • Once the stain is removed, take a different sponge, wet it, and wipe down the area. This will work as a rinse, and will help remove any residue from the Woolite.
  • Let your carpet air dry. Ideally, you’ll do this away from pets or children who might re-stain the rug sooner rather than later.

Can You Shampoo A Persian Rug?

With many other types of rugs, adding a little shampoo will only make it look even better. This is not the case with Persian rugs as they are fairly sensitive to shampoos as well as the motions that are used by rug shampooers. If you’re tempted to go with an actual rug shampooer, don’t do it. Just call a professional cleaner who might be able to work on your rug for you.

Can You Powerwash A Persian Rug?

Under no circumstances is powerwashing a Persian rug a good idea. Powerwashers are far too powerful for the fibers in a typical Persian rug. Using this kind of machinery on your rug will literally rip apart the very fibers that hold the rug together. Even if the rug doesn’t end up with extensive wearing or tearing, there’s still another issue that could ruin your rug: the dyes.

While most Persian rugs have fairly colorfast dyes, some dyes just can’t cling to the fibers when they’re being blasted with ultra-high levels of pressurized water. Unless you want to have faux bleach stains on your carpeting, you’ll avoid this foolish idea at all costs.

How Often Do You Have To Clean A Persian Rug?

Though the actual rate can vary depending on how heavily trafficked the room in question is, most Persian rugs are fairly low-maintenance. If you use it like an average family does, you should only have to give it a thorough cleaning once every three to five years. This makes them some of the easiest rugs to take care of!

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Related Questions

How long do Persian rugs last?

Persian rugs are famous for being the most long-lasting rugs on the planet. Or, at least, their reputation is known for having that vibe. If well-maintained, a Persian rug can last for anywhere between 20 to a whopping 200 years before it shows signs of replacement. As a result of their long lifespans, these are some of the only rugs that are regularly sold as antiques.

Are Persian rugs out of style?

While some fads may come and go with the times, Persian rugs are not one of them. Due to their exceptional quality and unique prints, they are considered to be perennially stylish. Unlike most other types of carpeting and rugs, Persian rugs can keep their value. At times, their value will even increase as they age. Needless to say, they’re a good investment.

Can you use bleach on a Persian rug? 

While Persian rugs are meant to be durable, the truth is that they are not meant to be cleaned by non-traditional means. While they may be able to recover from a shampooing session, bleach will probably annihilate the fibers and the dyes that make up your rug. The damage will be permanent, too, so don’t even think about this!

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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