How are Persian rugs supposed to be cleaned?

Here you'll find a wide range of discussions on old-house topics.

Moderators: oldhouse, TinaB, Don M, Schag

Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:22 pm

Post by dpsours »

I would just add that not all rugs are colorfast, and even some that have been successfully cleaned in the past can run (sad voice of experience here).

A professional cleaner should be able to make this determination and take precautions, but that doesn't mean they will.
1887 Octagon

Posts: 920
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:11 pm
Location: Midwest

Post by S »

Here's a link to some info. on the wesbite of the company I use on my hand knotted rugs. Rug Cleaning. I have my rugs "deep washed" every 3-5 yrs or so. It's a special process for hand knotted rugs. If I purchased a used rug, I would do the same.The process would differ based on what fiber your rugs are - wool, I'm assuming. Dirt can grind on the fibers and wear them.....bugs are also an enemy of natural fiber rugs (wool, silk, cotton).

Call some of your local oriental rug dealers, they will have the name of someone local that does proper cleaning. If it's a high quality rug, you don't want to be messing around w/ cleaners that use solvents and who knows what else ;-). If you can't find anyone, you may try calling the link above and asking if they know of anyone near you.

1924 Bungalow

Posts: 443
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 4:22 pm

Post by dpsours »

Yup. That's the same place that deep washed my rug and the colors ran. They were good about it and were able to mitigate the damage, but it's still quite noticeable.
1887 Octagon

Posts: 389
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:14 am

Post by nutmeg »

Infestations are dealt with by first vacuuming - if active treating with something to kill the adults and nymphs - sometimes something as simple as alcohol fumes, sometimes more potent chemicals - sometimes placing in an air-tight chamber and gassing - sometimes this is done under pressure or in a near vacuum environment, then sealing in airtight plastic for several hours, days, weeks to months (depending on the type of infestation) to suffocate live critters, then treating with steam blasts to kill the eggs, followed by another vacuuming. Only after any infestation has been irradicated should the rug be washed.

Sunlight is oftentimes a destructive element to vintage dyed rugs - the UV rays can fade them (however sometimes the only effective means to deal with mold/mildew issues). Many commercial rug/carpet cleaners use bleach agents or oxidizing agents that can be ruinous to vintage or antique oriental rugs and destructive to natural fibers and detergents that can overly strip wool fibers and cause silk fibers to break. When I observed the process in NJ I was advised the two most important elements were cool (not cold not warm) water and extraction - (they used a wet-vac type system) and depending on the dyes and fibers which additive in small amounts. For a particular rug they had determined a small amount of Fels Naptha laundry soap disolved in water was the best choice. Apparently this hard-to-find product did not contain naptha but instead was a concentrated surfactant with no suds-producing additives. They used a very mild solution they created in a spray bottle, and applied it sparingly to areas that had already been moistened with plain water - scrubbed with a natural fiber brush, applied the Fels solution, scrubbed again, then flushed with plain water and extracted then flushed, then extracted, over and over - never allowing the rug area to be totally flooded. I wish I remember what the characteristics of that particular rug were. I also recall their having mentioned the use of natural plant oil-based soaps, not detergents for wool. I cannot recall if these were palm oil, coconut oil or flax oil or whatever based soaps that were used on wool based natural dye based or synthetic dye based rugs - I do recall the cavats regarding using detergents on jute backed and wool causing the plant fibers to break and the dye to be stripped from the wool. And some warning about amonia and silk - but can't remember if amonia was okay on some wool or not.

Basically though - I leave it up to the experts - and pay special attention to any fine-print limitations of liability signs or statements on the receipts - if they disclaim all but a minimal amout (like most drycleaners and modern day carpet/rug cleaning services) I don't bother with them. If they are actually experienced in working/cleaning expensive and authentic valuable rugs - they'll not have disclaimed and limited themself to merely the cost of their services and less than a hundred dollars for the rug.
Perpetual Student of the School of Hard Knocks: knows a little about a lot, yet knows a lot about little!

S Melissa
Posts: 6339
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:15 pm
Location: Canton Michigan

Post by S Melissa »

My4T2de - I found this while rummaging around on Old House Journal web page - I don't know where you live - but if you are in the DC, VA, or ML area - these guys might be able to help with your rugs:

Plaza & Bethesda Chevy Chase Carpet & Rug Cleaning

Apparently they are terrific (based on enthusiastic blog from OHJ reader) with old carpets and rugs. We keep trying! :lol:
Canton, MI
1860 Italianate - Reuben Huston Home

Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:11 am

Re: How are Persian rugs supposed to be cleaned?

Post by denish21 »


I am having a Persian rug in my drawing room. I want to clean it. Should I hire a rug cleaner or clean it on my own??


Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:12 am

Re: How are Persian rugs supposed to be cleaned?

Post by rawand »

I've read all comments and agree with all ideas...
Graduated from Soran University with First Class Degree with Honours in Computer Science.

Post Reply