July 23, 2024


Living – be prepared

Can You Steam Clean A Wool Rug (Is it Really Safe?)

6 min read

Updated on March 20, 2022 by Brett
can you steam clean wool rug

I have advised people never to steam clean wool rug, and generally that is true, as wool is a natural fiber that shrinks. However, all carpets need steam cleaning every year or 18 months.

Carpets or rugs cannot be washed in a machine, and steam cleaning is the only way to get out all the detritus of living.

So, yes, you can and should steam clean your wool rug and carpets. However, wool needs a bit of extra care, so I will help you do it right.

Why Should You Steam Clean Your Wool Rug?

advantage of steam cleaning rug

Vacuuming gets out most of the dust, dander and other stuff, but some inevitably gets stuck. Dry cleaning at home will not get all of it out either, and commercial dry cleaning is not dry. They use steam and charge a bundle for what you can do at home.

Steam cleaning is not only clean your dirty wool rug but it also disinfects it. A powerful steam cleaning machine uses pressurized steam that breaks down the most stubborn buildups of your rugs and carpet. In fact, the steam also removes dust mites and bedbugs from the wool carpet.

Steam cleaning rug is much better than shampooing.

Steam cleaners only use warm/hot water to clean and disinfect any surface. On the other hand, carpet shampooing needs cleaning chemicals to work. As you know, chemicals are not always safe for our pets and kids.

Another advantage of steam cleaning rugs and carpet is the faster drying time. 

Preparation For Steam Cleaning Wool Carpet And Rug:

Don’t put the whole cleaning load on the steam. If you roll in mud, do you climb into a bath or do you shower off first?

Before applying the steam on your rug, you should do some prep work. Like- vacuuming, beating the rug, gathering tools & cleaners etc. Let’s discuss about them in details first.

1. Vacuum Clean Your Wool Rug First:

vacuum clean wool carpet and rug

First of all you should remove embedded dirt and dust from the rug with the recommended vacuum for wool rugs. Take following steps:

  • Dust your rug with corn starch, which clings to dirt. 
  • Gently brush or beat it in with a broom, brush or paddle.
  • Let it sit 20 minutes then vacuum.

2. Spot Clean The Wool Area Rug (If needed)

spot clean wool rug

If there are any visible stains (like- old pet urine stains) treat them first with stain remover.

a) Baking soda dry dusted and beaten in will react with a spray of vinegar and you may get the stain out that way.

b) If needed add 10 volume medical hydrogen peroxide. After ten minutes sponge with damp cloth and see if stain is still visible.

c) If stain is still visible use a commercial stain remover like one of these.

N.B: If there’re pet urine stains on your wool rug, you can apply our best method of removing old pet urine stains from wool carpet here.

3. Protect Your Floor

protect your rug with padding

If your floor is wood, put padding or plastic under the rug to protect the floor from moisture damage.

4. Protect Your Wool Carpet

Last, take everything off the carpet and weight down the corners and the middle of the sides to prevent shrinkage. Treat it like your best angora sweater when you wash it. It needs to be firmly shaped and secured while it air dries.

How To Steam Clean Your Wool Rug At Home?

how to steam clean wool carpet at home step by step

Tools & Cleaners you’ll need:

  • A dimpled rubber mat or plastic sheet or a pad to protect your floor if it is wood.
  • A mild steam cleaning solution.
  • A carpet steamer with suction and good steam or two tanks. There are small carpet steamers and rentals that are larger.
  • A clothes line not in the sun to hang a smaller carpet or rug on to dry out of the sun, which can fade the colors. You can also use weights on the corners and the middle of each side to prevent shrinkage, just as you might block a good sweater to dry.
  • Electric fans to speed the drying process.

Step One: Set up the mechanism you will use to block out your carpet for drying.

Step Two: Clean the wool rug first with corn starch and vacuum to remove most dust and debris.

Step Three: Use your steam cleaner machine or your rented machine as directed with a mild detergent as directed to steam the carpet.

Step Four: Make a few passes over the dirty areas. Otherwise just keep moving all over the rugs.

Steam Cleaning Machines and Detergents I Use and Trust:

The Best Steam Cleaner For Wool Rug and Carpet:

1. Dupray Neat Multi-purpose Steam Cleaner

The Dupray will do the carpets, floors, garages cement floor and even the car. It includes a large tank, lots of accessories and good steam. On top of that, it has a 2 year warranty and a lifetime warranty on the boiler.

2. Bissell Little Green ProHeat Carpet Cleaner

Bissel has a long reputation for good machines. This small machine is handy and will do the job. It if helpful if you have several different sizes of rugs and stairs. It is not as hot as the larger machines, but it also rinses and may be kinder.

3. McCulloch MC1275 Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner

McCulloch is a well know farm machinery company and their engines are second to none. It has nice accessories and will do any steam clean job. It is heavy duty for large or many rugs and other steaming jobs. Larger tank works longer.

Steam Cleaning Detergents:

1. BISSELL Pet Multi-Surface Cleaner

Bissell makes several different carpet detergents. This one is especially for steaming.

Frequently Asked Questions About Steam Cleaning Wool Rugs:

Q1: How Often to Clean a Wool Rug?

Vacuum it every two weeks or monthly. You might use a cold shampoo every few months and steam clean annually or every 18 months.

Q2: What is the best way to clean a wool rug?

Most of the time vacuuming your carpet is good enough, with occasional cold shampooing.

Q3: Can you hose down a wool rug?

You can do this on your driveway, but you will be exposing it to sun that may fade it, and the pressure of the hose may damage the fibers.

Q4: Will steam cleaning make a rug fluffy again?

Yes it will with a light vacuuming after it fries to bring up the pile. It will look like new.

Q5: Should you hire a professional to steam clean your wool rugs?

If you have more money than time this is an excellent option, but take care to check references and get a good written agreement, especially if your carpet is valuable.

Q6: Will steam shrink wool carpet?

It is not the team so much that shrinks the wool, but the drying with heat or without clocking to hold its shape.

Q7: Can I steam clean an oriental rugs?

Yes you can, but again you need to take care to protect the fibers and do not use harsh detergent. Woolite or other commercial detergents especially made for carpets are good.

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