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How to Clean a Wool Rug

How to Clean a Wool Rug

Because wool fibers are strong and tend to repel stains and water, wool rugs hold up well in high-traffic areas. Whether it’s a wall-to-wall wool area rug in your living room or a long, welcoming wool runner rug in your entryway, these investments are worth keeping fresh and clean. Follow our wool rug cleaning guide to keep your rugs looking beautiful for years to come.

Wool Rug Cleaning Supplies

Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, a vacuum with no beater bar
Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, spray bottle
Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, dish detergent
Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, white vinegar
Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, carpet cleaner
Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, cleaning rags
Things you'll need to clean your wool rug, rug pad

Wool Rug Cleaning Tips

Vacuuming a Wool Rug

When it comes to vacuuming your wool rug, easy does it. Use a vacuum with no beater bar to gently clean your wool rug 2-4 times a month. While beater bars are great for lifting dirt out of synthetic fibers, they’re very harsh on wool, which sheds easily.


Be sure to follow the pile direction when you vacuum a wool rug, starting on one side and vacuuming all the way to the other. Do not drag the vacuum back toward you; instead, lift it up and replace it at the top of the rug. Vacuum marks mean you have shifted the pile of your rug, which can cause shedding. Avoid creating vacuum marks to lengthen your rug’s lifespan.

Wool Rug Shedding

If you’ve invested in a beautiful new wool rug only to be faced with tumbleweeds of shedding wool fibers, do not be dismayed! Shedding for wool rugs is normal and does not indicate a poorly made or low-quality rug. Your wool rug will shed the most when it is brand new and then shed less and less after a few months of being in your home. Remember: over-vacuuming will only increase rug shedding and damage the wool fibers.

Heavy-Duty Wool Rug Cleaning

For a heavy-duty wool rug cleaning, pick a sunny day and take things outside. First, hang your wool rug over a railing or clothesline, then gently beat it with a broom to dislodge the biggest dirt particles. Next, lay your rug right side down on a tarp and vacuum the base of the rug to dislodge deeply settled dirt. The vacuum won’t be able to lift these particles; instead, they’ll fall to the ground. As a final step, flip your rug right side up and lift away any remaining dust. It isn’t feasible to do a full cleaning every time you vacuum, so we recommend outdoor cleanings once a year. You may wish to do a full cleaning once in spring and once in fall for high-traffic rugs.

Can You Wash a Wool Rug in the Washing Machine?

It may seem like a quick fix for big spills or stains, but washing wool rugs in a washing machine is not recommended. Just like with natural wool sweaters and socks, washing a wool rug with the rest of your laundry can cause a number of problems, such as color bleeds, uneven texture, and fiber deterioration. It's not just the spin cycle or water temperatures to watch out for, either. Laundry detergent is too harsh to use on wool. When spot cleaning, opt for gentle dish soap or a wool-specific detergent.

How to Clean a Stain Out of a Wool Rug

Spills and stains should be given immediate attention to prevent permanent damage to your wool rug. It’s also important to use the right cleaning methods to not irritate or damage your wool rug further. Use the following tips to tackle common spills and stains on your wool rug.

An infographic showing you how to remove an ink stain from your wool rug, you'll need water, dish washing liquid, and a towel

To remove ink from your wool rug, mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with water, dab a towel in the mixture, and blot the stain with the towel and dish soap solution.

An infographic showing you how to remove an ink stain from your wool rug, you'll need water, dish washing liquid, and a towel

To remove ink from your wool rug, mix one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with water, dab a towel in the mixture, and blot the stain with the towel and dish soap solution.

To remove grease stains, be sure to first remove any food solids. Use a dish soap and water solution and a rag to blot the stain, then dab dry.

An infographic showing you how to remove a grease stain from your wool rug, you'll need a spoon, dish soap, and water
An infographic showing you how to remove a grease stain from your wool rug, you'll need a spoon, dish soap, and water

To remove grease stains, be sure to first remove any food solids. Use a dish soap and water solution and a rag to blot the stain, then dab dry.

An infographic showing you how to remove a pet stain from your wool rug, you'll need a towel, vinegar, dish soap, and water

Have no fear if your pet has made a mess on your wool rug. First, blot with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Then mix dish soap, white vinegar, and water into a solution and gently blot away the stain. Dab dry.

An infographic showing you how to remove a pet stain from your wool rug, you'll need a towel, vinegar, dish soap, and water

Have no fear if your pet has made a mess on your wool rug. First, blot with paper towels to remove excess liquid. Then mix dish soap, white vinegar, and water into a solution and gently blot away the stain. Dab dry.

To remove marker stains when cleaning a wool rug, a carpet cleaner works best. Apply the cleaner to your rag and blot the stain. Then, use warm water to rinse the carpet cleaner.

An infographic showing you how to remove a marker stain from a wool rug, you'll need carpet cleaner, a rag, and warm water
An infographic showing you how to remove a marker stain from a wool rug, you'll need carpet cleaner, a rag, and warm water

To remove marker stains when cleaning a wool rug, a carpet cleaner works best. Apply the cleaner to your rag and blot the stain. Then, use warm water to rinse the carpet cleaner.

An infographic showing you how to remove mud from a wool rug, you'll need dish soap, water, and a rag

To remove mud, let it dry first. Scrape up the dried or caked mud. Then, apply a dish soap and water solution to the remaining discoloration, using a rag to blot and then dry the area.

An infographic showing you how to remove mud from a wool rug, you'll need dish soap, water, and a rag

To remove mud, let it dry first. Scrape up the dried or caked mud. Then, apply a dish soap and water solution to the remaining discoloration, using a rag to blot and then dry the area.

Use paper towels or a rag to soak up extra liquid, then blot and remove the stain with a dish soap and water solution. Dab the area dry.

An infogrpahic showing you how to remove coffee & tea from a wool rug, you'll need dish soap, water, and a rag
An infogrpahic showing you how to remove coffee & tea from a wool rug, you'll need dish soap, water, and a rag

Use paper towels or a rag to soak up extra liquid, then blot and remove the stain with a dish soap and water solution. Dab the area dry.

An infographic showing you how to remove red wine from a wool rug, you'll need dish soap, vinegar, and warm water

To remove a red wine stain, blot up extra liquid with a paper towel. Then, mix dish soap, white vinegar, and water to create a stain solution. Spray or dab the stain with the mixture, and blot until the stain is removed.

An infographic showing you how to remove red wine from a wool rug, you'll need dish soap, vinegar, and warm water

To remove a red wine stain, blot up extra liquid with a paper towel. Then, mix dish soap, white vinegar, and water to create a stain solution. Spray or dab the stain with the mixture, and blot until the stain is removed.

Have a stain we didn't mention here? Check out How to Get Stains Out of Carpet and Rugs for more cleaning methods

Long-term Wool Rug Care

To get the longest lifespan from your wool rug, basic maintenance and care can keep your rug looking fresh for decades. Spot cleaning and proper dusting twice a month aren’t the only ways to prolong your rug’s beauty.


• Limit the amount of dirt tracked into the home with a “no-shoes” rule so you can vacuum less. Add a shoe rack or storage bench in your mudroom or entryway to make your shoe-free policy clear for guests.

• Add a rug pad under rugs in high-traffic areas. Rug pads help buffer rugs from wear and tear, provide traction so your rug doesn’t slide out of place, and offer extra insulation and comfort.

• Take your wool rug to a professional rug cleaner every two to three years to ensure a damage-free treatment that will help your rug stay beautiful longer.



Armed with these wool-rug cleaning tips, keeping your area rug gorgeously clean will be a cinch. Looking for more information on choosing a new wool rug? There's no need to be sheepish! Just read Why You Need a Wool Rug for all the details.

More Tips on How to Clean a Wool Rug

Check out this how-to video for wool rug cleaning demonstrations and extra tips on how to take care of your rug.

A video showing you how to care and clean your wool rug