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Rug Cleaning: Everything You Need To Know

Does your rug need a deep cleaning? We’ve put together a guide so you can tackle rug cleaning at home. Rugs bring a room together, but they also tend to take a beating. Whether it’s from foot traffic, spills, or pets; after some time, vacuuming isn’t enough to really get the rug cleaned up. So, hopefully this guide can help get your rug back to its glory days.

Area rug cleaning can be a challenge, but not an impossible one. We do highly recommend using a professional rug dry cleaning service whenever possible, but we know sometimes that’s difficult. For common and basic rugs, attempting to clean them at home shouldn’t be an issue. However, for antique rugs, Persian rugs and oriental rugs, trusting a professional rug cleaning service, like the ones offered at Jack’s Cleaners, is the way to go considering these types of rugs are very delicate.

Before Getting Started

Rug care can vary, depending on what type of rug you have. There are many different types of weaves and materials, so be sure to double check your rug before cleaning.

As we mentioned before, for large and delicate rugs, the best bet is to hand the job over to the professionals at Jack’s Cleaners.

What You’ll Need

Here’s everything you need to tackle area rug cleaning at home:

  • Vacuum Cleaner: to remove as much dust and debris as possible before getting it wet.
  • Cotton Towels: used for blotting stains. We suggest using white towels to avoid color transfer.
  • Brush: either a carpet brush, toothbrush, or any soft-bristled brush. This is used to work the soap or solution into stubborn areas.
  • Soap: you can use dish soap diluted with water, or a dedicated rug cleaning solution will work fine as well. Be careful about using too much soap, especially on wool rugs.
  • Stain Remover: for removing stains and prepping the rug before cleaning
  • Water: for diluting the dish soap, washing the rug, and rinsing the rug.
  • Hose: using a garden hose to wash and rinse larger rugs makes life easier, otherwise a bucket of water can work too.

Spot Cleaning

First and foremost, before diving into the entire rug, test an inconspicuous area to make sure the colors don’t bleed or the soap/solution don’t damage the rug. If the stain or mess is unique, check out the Carpet Institute’s Spot Solver to find how to clean your rug more efficiently.

If the stain contains anything solid, such as food, remove that first. Using a clean cotton towel, blot the stains and remove as much soaked liquid as possible.

With a fresh cotton towel, either apply water-diluted dish soap or water-diluted laundry detergent. Use enough to soak the stain, but don’t over-wet the area as that can spread the stain and take longer to dry, risking mold or mildew.

After that, rinse out the soap or detergent with warm water while gently blotting until the strain is no longer visible. This takes times, so patience is key. Whatever you do, do not scrub—blotting with a towel while applying pressure is the best way to avoid damage.

For stains and spills that are much more stubborn, try using an enzymatic stain remover like Resolve or Zout. Be sure to check the label and make sure it’s safe for your rug’s material. As always, test a small spot first.

Once the stain is removed, dry the area completely. Using a fan or hair dry on the coldest setting can work wonders. Improperly drying the rug can cause mold to form, especially if the rug consists of natural fibers, like cotton or wool.

If none of these methods work, or the stain is too old and has already set-in, considering taking the rug to a professional rug cleaner. With industry-leading tools available, treating and restoring a rug has never been easier.

Deep Cleaning

For smaller synthetic and natural rugs, vacuum or beat out as much dust and debris as possible. Most common rugs from large department stores can be thrown into a washer. However, always check the label before doing so. As with delicate garments, we suggest to always use a gentle wash cycle with cold water. Once the cycle is done, lay the rug flat and air-dry it. You can use fans to speed up the drying process if you wish.

For medium to large synthetic and natural rugs, repeat the same process by getting out as much dust and debris as you can. Vacuuming both sides of the rug will eliminate most of the dust, but if you can, take the rug outside and beat it over a balcony or railing.

Similarly to spot cleaning, use the same soap or detergent, but first test a small spot to see if the colors bleed. If the colors do bleed, we highly suggest you come go to a professional. If the area is fine and there are no signs of bleeding, you can continue by using a soft bristle brush to scrub the solution into the rug’s surface. As you do this, use the recommendations above to take care of stains along the way.

Once you’ve fully worked the solution in, use a hose to wash away all the soap. If a hose isn’t readily available, a bucket of water works just as well. After the rinse, use dry towels to remove as much excess water as possible. Investing into a wet-dry vac or a squeegee can speed up this process significantly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Rug

Regularly vacuuming can extend the life of a rug, typically once or twice a week. Eventually, just using a vacuum isn’t enough as dirt and grime can embed themselves within the fibers of the rug, breaking down the fabric and shortening its lifespan.

At Jack’s Cleaners, we recommend an annual rug cleaning. For rugs that are exposed to heavy foot-traffic and pets, it may be a good idea to have them cleaned every 6 months or so.

If your rug looks dull and worn out, you know it’s time to clean the rug. At Jack’s, we thoroughly inspect the rug for damages and repair them as needed. Using our arsenal of highly sophisticated tools, we can bring your rug back to life in no time.

Wool Rug Cleaning, Oriental Rug Cleaning & Persian Rug Cleaning

When it comes to wool rug cleaning, Persian rug cleaning, and oriental rug cleaning, the process is somewhat similar. If you own a rug of this nature, it’s advised to get them examined and inspected by a professional at least once a year, if not twice a year.

Because of the complexity and color profiles of such rugs, tackling a deep cleaning job at home can be fairly tricky. We would always recommend having a pro take on a wool rug cleaning, Persian rug cleaning and oriental rug cleaning job.

The risk of damage an expensive, or worse, antique, rug is very high. However, if you feel comfortable on taking on a task that big, you can use the tips mentioned above.


There it is, Jack’s Cleaners guide to keeping your rug clean and lasting long. Remember, if you’re unsure or ill-equipped, always consult with a professional.

If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 626-797-7323, or stop by our store at 2465 E Washington Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104 and we would be more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have!