Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner On A Wool Rug?

Wool rugs have many benefits, but cleaning them can be a challenge if you don’t know what you’re doing; but can you use a carpet cleaner on a wool rug?

Contrary to popular belief, you can actually use a carpet cleaner on a wool rug without any issues.

However, there are some important tips you will need to know before attempting to clean your wool rug using a carpet cleaner, let’s jump right into it.

Benefits And Maintenance Of Wool Rugs

There are many reasons to choose a natural wool rug. They are aesthetically pleasing, durable, warm, absorb sound, and have many environmentally friendly qualities. Wool rugs also repel stains and inhibit dust mite growth. When properly maintained, they can last a lifetime.

They are also easy to maintain, and you can learn more about the benefits of wool rugs in our guide here.

But, one drawback that people tend to be afraid of is how to clean the wool. Don’t listen to the myths that some people think are true about wool carpets.

Wool Carpet Cleaning Myths

A couple of these myths include:

  • You should never wet-clean or use a wet extractor on wool because it will damage the carpet fibers, make the wool shrink or turn brown.
  • Never allow wool to air dry

These myths can create a lot of confusion, but we are here to bring the answers you need to here.

Truth About Cleaning Wool Carpets

The truth is that wool is a type of hair. So, it can be washed with water so long as you don’t oversaturate it and dry it as quickly as possible. The faster the wool dries, the better.

Don’t be afraid of wet-cleaning wool for fear that you will damage or shrink the rug or cause the fibers to turn brown. Wool is essentially hair, and hair can be washed with water. The key is to do so properly using these helpful tips:

  • Use cool or lukewarm water and never hot water and as little cleaning solution as possible.
  • Wool has a tendency to absorb, so you can quickly saturate it if you are not careful. If you do, it could cause mold or mildew growth.
  • When cleaning a wool rug with a carpet cleaner, be sure to ventilate the room well or use air movers or blowers to help facilitate drying.
  • Wool can be cleaned with cool or lukewarm water without any danger of shrinking. Although, wool is highly absorbent, so don’t oversaturate it with a cleaning solution.
  • Any discoloration danger, especially if it turns brown, is the result of the backing getting wet and not the wool fibers. To avoid discoloration, first, test a small section of the carpet with the cleaning solution you intend to use.

How Often To Clean A Wool Rug

The thicker the wool, the more dust will collect in its fibers. How often you clean the wool rug is the most important factor.

Besides using water or any carpet cleaner on the wool rug, it will need to be vacuumed. A general rule of thumb when vacuuming a wool rug is to set the vacuum level to accommodate rug piling high enough to prevent the dirt from accumulating into the fibers and yet low enough to prevent any damage to the rug. In general, vacuum the rug twice a month.

Vacuuming a Wool Rug: Step by Step

Step 1

Make sure the vacuum you use has a way to adjust for pile height and does not have a beater bar. Never use a beater bar on a wool rug. Adjust the vacuum cleaner to a high height, and vacuum in a “V” motion with three passes of the vacuum.

This motion helps to keep the fibers from becoming damaged because of the alternating vacuum direction. If the vacuum is not adjusted to the high height mode, it can damage the piling on the rug and lead to shrinkage.

Step 2

Under normal use, only vacuum your wool rug twice a month. More vacuuming could pull the natural wool fibers out of the rug.

Step 3

Vacuum both sides of the rug every so often to make sure all dirt is removed. Usually, the underside of the rug only needs to be vacuumed about every two months. Vacuuming properly will remove surface-level dirt.

Step 4

If you don’t want to chance over vacuuming, try shaking the rug outside. Shake it for about 30 seconds to a minute. If it is a nice day, leave it in the sunshine for a few hours. If you want to give it an old-fashioned beating, that will get the dirt out as well.

How often to vacuum depends on:

  • How much foot traffic. The more foot traffic, the more potential for accumulating dirt.
  • Location of the rug. Some areas have higher foot traffic than others and need to be cleaned more frequently.
  • Pets. A household without pets needs to clean its carpet about one to two times a month. If pets are on the rug frequently, the wool rug will need to be cleaned as often as 4 to 7 times a month.
  • General use. Depending on how you use your rug, it will need to be cleaned less or more often. For instance, if you are careful in maintaining it, you may need to vacuum it only once a month. On the other hand, if you spill things often or walk on the rug with shoes, it will need to be cleaned more often.
  • Professional cleaning is recommended once a year regardless of any other factor.

Getting Ready To Clean Your Wool Rug

Before you start to clean your wool rug, make sure you have gathered all the tools you need.

Tools needed:

  • Vacuum
  • Rug beater or broom
  • Wool safe cleaning solution
  • Two 5-gallon buckets
  • Large sponges
  • Large tarp
  • Fan

Step-By-Step Wool Rug Cleaning

You can use just about any carpet cleaner and vacuum on wool without damaging it. The important thing to remember is to use the tools correctly.

While you can use a carpet cleaner on a wool rug safely, never use bleach. Bleach could melt or dissolve the wool. Any carpet cleaner that contains bleach should be avoided.

Follow these helpful step-by-step instructions to properly clean your wool carpet using a carpet cleaner:

  1. Lay a tarp on the ground underneath the rug.
  2. Start cleaning the rug by first vacuuming away any loose dirt.
  3. Lightly scrub the rug with the carpet cleaner. Never be robust about the scrubbing, or it could damage the natural fibers. Use a mop or carpet shampooer vacuum if possible.
  4. Rinse away suds without over saturating the rug. Always use cold water so as not to damage the fibers.
  5. Blot the moisture.
  6. Allow to thoroughly dry. Basically speaking, ventilation is your friend. The goal is to dry the wool as fast as you can to reduce the chance of mold or mildew. Open up as many windows and doors as you can to create a cross-breeze. Turn on fans to move the air for faster drying. You can also vacuum the carpet with a carpet cleaner without using liquids.

Don’t be afraid when it comes time to clean your beautiful wool rug. Safely use a carpet cleaner on your wool by following the proper steps for cleaning. If you properly clean and maintain your wool rug, it will last for many years.