How to Clean Wool Carpet
By Steve Gillman
Full-room carpeting made of wool is less common now than it
used to be, but wool rugs are still very common. The following
will help you properly clean wool carpeting or rugs, with some
tips for spot and stain removal as well as general cleaning.
Routine maintenance for wool carpet and rugs should include
regular vacuuming, annual cleaning (preferably by a professional
- every two-to-three years is fine if you are easy on your rugs),
and immediate removal of spills and spots.
Vacuuming is not quite the same for wool as for other fibers.
If you set the vacuum too low the beater brushes will cause damage.
You'll eventually see excessive fuzzing. For this reason self-adjusting
vacuum cleaners are not recommended since they adjust too deeply.
Using machines made by Dyson may be a problem as well. Doing
so will void the warranty for at least one major brand of wool
carpeting. Apparently these vacuum cleaners are just too rough
Spots and Spills
Clean up spots and spills as fast as you can. Wool fiber is
more prone to staining than many others, so quick cleanup is
crucial. You can sop up liquids with white paper towels or a
clean (preferably white) cotton cloth. Use a spoon to carefully
scrape out semi-solids.
Water may remove the rest of the spot. Apply a little at a
time and remove it using white paper towels. If some discoloration
remains, try water with a few drops of dish detergent (avoid
highly-perfumed detergents; original blue Dawn or other clear
ones are usually okay). If this is not enough you can try cleaning
agents that are made specifically for wool carpet, which are
Dry the carpet quickly and thoroughly. Use a layer of white
paper towels with some weight on it, and replace this as it gets
wet. Once most moisture is removed you can fluff up the fibers
with your fingers. A fan blowing on the spot is a good idea for
finishing the drying.
To clean wool carpet, you can use one of the many powders
designed for light cleaning. These are sprinkled over the whole
carpet, brushed into the fibers, left for a while to absorb the
dirt (follow the instructions on that come with the particular
cleaning agent), and then vacuumed up. Pass slowly over the rug
or carpeting when vacuuming, so you get most or all of the remaining
For deep cleaning it is best to use a hot-water extraction
system. Portable units can be used, but they are not the best.
They have less suction power than the "truck mount"
units that professionals use. This can lead to over-wetting of
the fibers, which means there is some potential for mildew or
at least a long drying time. For this reason it may be best to
hire a good cleaning company to clean wool carpets and rugs.
Be sure that the technician does sufficient "dry strokes"
with the cleaning wand, to remove as much moisture as possible.
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