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How Often Should I Clean My Oriental Rug?

At Oriental Rug Salon, the most common question we’re asked as professional rug cleaners is ‘How often should I clean my Oriental/Persian area rug?’ – or any hand-knotted rug for that matter.

The short answer is – usually way before you think it needs cleaning.

And here’s why.

Why you shouldn’t wait for your Oriental area rug to ‘look’ dirty before you clean it

Hand-knotted rugs are masterful at hiding dirt and soil, and this is both a good and a bad thing. It’s incredible how you can lay down a well-made rug with a dark background color, like a good quality Kashan for instance, that will take foot traffic for years without looking dirty. Aesthetically, this is a plus; however, this rug will be hiding soil, pollutants, pollen, dust mites, and other contaminants deep in its foundation that are slowly destroying it. This is the reason why you can’t decide whether your rug is dirty by visually assessing it. It will fool you.

Regular vacuuming won’t remove all the dirt and contaminates

Think about how much dry soil you sweep or vacuum off a hard floor in your kitchen, bath, or hallway over a year. What do you think happens to all the dirt and oils being tracked into your home that ends up in your rugs?

You’re certainly removing some of the dirt when you vacuum; however, the oils will remain, and they will continue to attract contaminants such as pollen, dust, and dust mites. Every day, there is dry soil working its way down the pile and getting trapped in the foundation of the rug. Sand and other contaminates grind away at the wool or silk fibers every time you walk over it. Grit is the culprit, but you’re the accomplice. Unless your rug is in an unused room and never walked on, this applies to you.  Over time, grit will scratch and cut away at the wool face yarns, creating damage, traffic lanes, and a reduced lifespan.

Once your rug looks dirty, it’s full of soil

A rug can hold a truly astonishing amount of soil. We routinely badger area rugs at 40,000 harmonic vibrations per minute (this is the part of the cleaning process that removes dry soil before washing) that seemed as though they would never stop releasing dirt. Most of these rugs were vacuumed by the client before they were brought to our shop for cleaning.  Once we receive a rug, our technicians will vacuum them a second time before introducing them to the rug badgering process.  It’s not unusual for us to remove over a pound of soil, dust mites, and other contaminants with the harmonic process.

So, How Often Should I Clean My Persian Rug?

Most people wait too long to have their area rugs professionally cleaned because they are waiting on them to “look dirty.”  As we’ve discussed, regular vacuuming will not remove all the soil. Yes, vacuuming is the best course of action you can take at home to maintain your cherished area rug. However, you will still need to have it professionally cleaned periodically to remove trapped soil, oils, and other contaminates.

Oriental Rug Salon Recommendations

  • My rug is rarely walked on

Let’s say you have a rug that is hardly ever walked on, and you vacuum your home weekly. In this case, you can safely wait five years or more between each clean. However, if it’s in an unused room, your main concern will be ensuring that moths don’t take up residence.

  • I have kids and a dog that walks over my rugs all-day

We’re at the other end of the spectrum here. If you have kids and pets, you really should have your rug cleaned at least once a year. You may have to clean them even more often if your pet sleeps on the rug or it has a particularly greasy or smelly coat. The fatty oils released from a dog or cat will soak into rug fibers and attract soil quickly.

  • I’m somewhere in between

Most rug owners will fall somewhere in between the two scenarios above. You’ll have to decide how important maintaining the life and looks of your rug is to you. As long as you don’t have pets and vacuum regularly, your rug should be professionally cleaned every 24– 36 months. If you love your rug and it is valuable, then you should clean it every year. You’ll need to adjust accordingly if you wear shoes in your home, own a rug that is already quite worn, or if you have any unforeseen accidents such as spilling a drink or pet urine issues.

And as a general maintenance rule, ALWAYS ROTATE your area rug 180 degrees every six months to help avoid traffic lanes and pile issues.  Also, try to keep your area rug from direct sunlight, especially around sliders and large windows (view more from this site about where to get those), to help prevent fading.  Also, a good, quality fiber protector will help maintain the life of your area rug, help prevent staining, and allow a deeper vacuuming as soils will have a hard time sticking to the fibers of the rug.


  • Next time you’re wondering, ‘how often should I clean my Oriental or Persian rug?’ remember that you can’t answer that question by looking at it.
  • Hand-knotted rugs are masters at hiding dirt. Consider how you use the rug and what it’s worth to you.
  • As a general rule, every 18-24 months is a sufficient period to pass between professional rug cleanings.
  • If you own a dog or cat, you will need to clean your rug more often.
  • Don’t forget that moths are even more detrimental to your rug than soil.

Oriental Rug Salon is a full-service Oriental, Persian, Turkish wool, and silk area rug cleaning, repair, and appraisal company serving all of SW Florida.  We are a Certified Partner with the prestigious Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the International Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), and a WoolSafe Approved Service Provider.

For more tips on how to maintain the beauty of your cherished area rug, or if we can ever be of service for your cleaning needs, please visit us online at www.OrientalRugSalon.com or “call us on the carpet” any time at 239-424-8171.

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