How to Clean Oriental & Wool Rugs

Oriental and Persian rugs are handmade wool carpet that is either knotted with pile or woven without pile. They are available in a wide variety of intricate colors and designs, and are considered by many to be valuable works of art. With their value in mind, it is essential that Oriental rugs receive excellent care to prolong their life and beauty

The best way to keep these beautiful floor coverings clean is to simply prevent them from getting dirty to begin with. Oriental rugs (particularly small ones) should receive regular, thorough vacuuming on both sides to eliminate dirt, dust, and debris. Taking off shoes before walking on Oriental rugs is a good idea too.

Even with the best dirt-prevention efforts, however, Oriental rugs will eventually require periodic professional deep cleanings just like any other floor covering. Extreme care must be taken during cleanings to ensure colors don’t run and the delicate wool fibers aren’t damaged.

Jon-Don carries specialty chemicals and cleaning treatments specifically designed to clean Oriental rugs without causing colors to bleed or delicate fibers to fray. We highly recommend that periodic deep cleaning be only performed by professional carpet cleaners.


Cleaning Wool Rugs

Wool rugs are highly susceptible to bleeding. Test each color with each chemical for colorfastness. One color may not be a bleeder, but another color may.

Until recently, guidelines for cleaning wool have been very simple: keep the pH between 4.5-8.5 and you would be safe. These guidelines supposedly were created by Wools of New Zealand. Wools of New Zealand eventually abdicated their marketing position and the Wool-Safe Organization of Great Britain took over. Evidence showed that the pH guidelines previously used did not hold up to testing. Several products that were in the safe range caused color migration (bleeding) while some that were as high as 11.0 did not cause any problems.

The problem came from products that were buffered. Buffered solutions are used as a means of keeping pH at a nearly constant value in a wide variety of chemical applications. In other words, if you are cleaning a greasy restaurant, the product of choice will normally be a strong alkaline detergent (pH of 11.0-12.5) to break down the fatty acids in the grease. This detergent will be buffered to stay at the elevated pH range and not be neutralized by the high concentration of fatty acids in the grease.

On the other hand, if you are cleaning wool with an alkaline detergent, you want it to be non-buffered. This product will neutralize as it dries. The ideal pH range when finished cleaning wool is 4.5-5.5. This is the pH range at which the wool was dyed.

The safest way to choose a product is to look for the Wool Safe label which shows the picture of a sheep. There is no clear-cut way for the end-user to determine what the buffers are like in a detergent. An end-user must rely on the Wool Safe approval of the product.

Basic Method

  1. Vacuum the rug three (3) times. Vacuum both the face and the backing fibers.
  2. Carefully test for colorfastness on all colors with your properly diluted solutions, just as you should in regular cleaning.
  3. Using a trigger sprayer on a mist setting, mist first with Matrix All Fiber Rinse diluted at 4-6 oz per gallon of water.
  4. Using a shampoo machine, shampoo clean the rug with Chemspec Oriental Rug Shampoo diluted at 8 oz per gallon of water.
  5. Using a Grandi-Groom, groom the pile downward with the nap. 
  6. Clean any white fringe by applying Chemspec Rx for Fringe diluted at 1/3 of a cup to 1 gallon of water. To this add 1 oz of a liquid detergent, such as Matrix Confidence Premium Extraction Detergent. Brush in an outward motion and on fringes only. Allow to dwell 3-5 minutes then rinse with a hand tool. Use minimal moisture to avoid browning.
  7. Speed dry with air movers to avoid browning.


Immersion Rug Cleaning

  1. As with all cleaning methods, dry soil removal must be done prior to overall cleaning. This can be done with a thorough vacuuming of the front and back of the rug. If the rug is a shag or Flokati style a suction only vacuum must be used. Additionally a portable duster or a compressed air duster can be used.
  2. The rug should be tested for colorfastness using the most alkaline product that may be used. Keep in mind that alkalinity can cause bleeding. Be sure to allow the tested area to dry as bleeding may occur in the final stages of drying. To help prevent bleeding the use of Proschoice CSS can be beneficial.
  3. Use a tested preconditioner such as Matrix Accomplish followed by agitation and adequate dwell time.
  4. At this point an in-plant automated machine using Chemspec Double Strength InPlant or Chemspec Liquid InPlant followed by extraction or compression rolling, or centrifuge.
  5. If in-plant equipment is not available you may create your own immersion cleaning tub with plastic and PVC pipe or an immersion tub. Extraction can be done with a wand, roller or sub-surface drying tool.
  6. This also is an excellent way to treat urine contamination using Proschoice Rug Restorer.
  7. As with any cleaning, rapid drying is facilitated by the use of air movers such as the Tempest. For multiple rugs a dehumidifier such as the Ultimate 340 LGR Dehumidifier can be used for rapid drying.


Warning: Always test materials for colorfastness, follow label directions, and never mix products unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary.


How to Clean the Fringe on Rugs

The fringes on Oriental rugs often brown out and need to be cleaned. Care needs to be taken that no other parts of the rug are touched with these cleaning suggestions, as it may bleach out the color on the rug itself. Chlorine bleaching agents can dissolve wool or silk.

Basic Method:

  1. In a bucket, combine equal parts of Matrix Target Tannin and warm water and apply to fringe.
  2. Scrub area using a detail brush or sponge.
  3. Rinse with water.


There are many different rug fringe types. Please call our highly trained and professionally certified team for specific instructions and product recommendations. 1-800-400-9473

Warning: Always test material for colorfastness, follow label directions, and never mix product unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary.

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  1. Chemspec® Double Strength In-Plant Detergent
    Chemspec created this powerhouse for use with loose rug cleaning equipment. Preferred for its fast, uniform penetration and desirable absence of wicking and browning, In-Plant leaves carpet fringe white and bright and your equipment in great shape!
    • For use with loose rug cleaning equipment
    • Leaves fringes white and bright
    • pH: 10.8 - 11.2
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Variable dilutions
  2. Chemspec® Liquid In-Plant Detergent (5 GL)

    Liquid In-plant Detergent, a primary carpet cleaning detergent specifically formulated to solve the problem of imbedded dirt in synthetic and natural fibers, is your best bet when using automatic mixing (carburetion) systems.

    • For use with loose rug cleaning equipment
    • Fast drying, prevents browning
    • pH: 10.8–11.8
    • Not safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Variable dilutions
  3. Pro's Choice Color Stabilizer & Souring Agent
    Pro's Choice CSS (Color Stabilizer & Souring Agent) will stabilize dyes to prevent color bleed in textiles and control browning. It may be used in conjunction with Red Relief for Wool or Stain Magic for Wool.
    • Ready to use
    • Stabilize dyes
    • Prevent color bleed
    • Control browning

    Starting at: $17.51

  4. Chemspec® Oriental Rug Shampoo

    Oriental rugs are beautiful, but also very delicate. If you use the wrong chemistry to clean them, the results can be disastrous and expensive. When tasked with cleaning Oriental rugs, don't put your business and reputation at risk: choose Chemspec Oriental Rug Shampoo.

    • Dual purpose cleaner for rotary extraction or dry foam
    • Ideal for cleaning Orientals and specialty textiles
    • pH: 7.0–7.3
    • Safe for use on all synthetic, cotton and wool fibers
    • Dilute 8 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at: $27.85

  5. Chemspec® Professional Carpet Shampoo

    Quality cleaning performance and fast, efficient soil removal are the top features of Professional Carpet Shampoo. Use this amazing product on any wet-cleanable carpet.

    • Contains no harsh ingredients to harm delicate fibers
    • Safe for use on any wet-cleanable fiber
    • pH: 9.1–10.1
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpets
    • Dilute 12 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at: $21.58

  6. Chemspec® Rx for Fringe

    Chemspec Rx for Fringe is an oxygen-releasing bleach for use on undyed cotton fringes of Oriental rugs and undyed white carpets. When used as directed, Rx for Fringe erases browning from undyed fibers. It whitens and brightens even the dingiest fibers.

    • Erases browning from undyed fibers
    • Whitens and brightens dirty fringe
    • pH: 4.6–5.6
    • Not for use on dyed carpets or fabrics
    • Dilute 1 oz per gallon of water

    Starting at: $25.94

  7. MasterBlend Inplant Liquid (5 GL)

    MasterBlend Inplant Liquid is designed for use with in-plant equipment, such as a Moore flatbed machine for cleaning loose rugs. It can be used with or without a carburetor to control the chemical feed.

    • Excellent for inplant rug cleaning
    • Rinses easily
    • pH: 10.0
    • Safe for use on wool carpet
    • Variable dilutions
  8. Carolyn X-TOL: Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo Concentrate

    Carolyn X-TOL Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo has been trusted by in-plant Oriental rug cleaners for over 50 years!  This anionic cleaner has a slightly basic pH. X-TOL contains a high percentage of solvents for fast cleaning and drying. X-TOL carpet shampoo dries to a hard brittle powder that is readily vacuumed away. X-TOL carpet shampoo is also biodegradable.

    • Works on all carpet fabrics
    • For use on most upholstery fabrics
    • Proven on oriental and wool rugs
    • Highly concentrated
    • Excellent foaming activity

    Starting at: $33.45

  9. Matrix® Radiant Fine Fabric Shampoo

    This gentle fine fabric shampoo combines a low pH with premium detergents to suspend soils, dirt, and grime while also preventing browning. It's ideal for use on any fabric, including wool and other natural fibers.

    • Low pH, premium detergent shampoo formula
    • Suspends soils without damaging fibers
    • pH: 6.0–7.0
    • Safe for use on wool
    • Dilute 3–5 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at: $23.30

  10. Matrix® Complete Rinse

    Just as the name implies, Matrix Complete Rinse is a product you can use with complete confidence on ALL carpets and wet-cleanable upholstery, including commercial, residential, and yes, even wool! It eliminates dirt and cleaning solution residues, leaving carpet and upholstery looking its best.

    • Eliminates dirt and cleaning solution residue
    • Leaves carpet bright and soft
    • pH: 4.0–4.5
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet and wool
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at: $30.57

  11. Matrix® Accomplish Fine Fabric Pre-Spray

    This high-quality pre-spray is specifically designed for the safe and effective cleaning of both wool and pH-sensitive fabrics. It lifts and suspends tough soils without harming delicate natural fibers, wool, and stain-resistant carpet.

    • Tough pre-spray that is gentle enough for natural fibers
    • Great for those problem rugs
    • pH: 8.36
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet and wool
    • Dilute 4 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at: $27.09

  12. Matrix® Target Tannin Stain Remover

    Target is ideal for removing alkalines and tannin stains, such as coffee, tea, urine, perfume, and others. This acid-side spotter can also be used for correcting browning, dye reversal, and setting fugitive dyes. It is also excellent for removing ice melt residue.

    • Acid spotter ideal for correcting browning
    • Removes alkalines, coffee, tea, urine, and perfumes
    • pH: 0.05–1.0
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Dilute 2–6 ounces per gallon of water

    Starting at: $9.10

  13. Pro's Choice Rug Restorer

    Dealing with tough, smelly contaminants on delicate wool rugs? You need Rug Restorer from Pro's Choice! This powerful formula is tough on nasty spots, but gentle on wool fibers. Whether you're dealing with a small spot or a rug that's been saturated with pet urine, Rug Restorer is your product of choice!

    • Pet treatment for natural fibers
    • Great for decontamination of wool rugs
    • pH: 3.0
    • Ideal for submersion cleaning and odor removal
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at: $27.76

  14. Matrix® All Fiber Rinse

    All Fiber Rinse rinses away every trace of dirt and cleaning solution, leaving behind a residue-free carpet that's squeaky clean and soft to the touch. For best results, use All Fiber Rinse after cleaning with Matrix Grand Slam Pre-Spray.

    • Eliminates every trace of dirt and cleaning solution residue
    • Leaves carpets bright and soft
    • pH: 4.0–4.5
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet and wool
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at: $16.88

  15. Pro's Choice Last Step Textile Rinse
    More than an acidic textile rinse, Pro's Choice Last Step Textile Rinse removes cleaning agents from carpet, plus it reduces potential wicking and recurring spots.
    • Removes residue and leaves carpet soft
    • Reduces potential wicking and reoccurring spots
    • pH: 4.0
    • Safe for stain-resistant carpet
    • Variable dilutions

    Starting at: $18.76

  16. Upholstery Brush, Tampico
    This Tampico brush has a plastic, curved block provides superior water resistance and comfort. Measures 6 1/2" x 3 1/2".
    • Superior water resistance
    • Curved block for comfortable grip
    • Tampico bristles
  17. Grandi Groom Carpet Brush

    The Grandi Groom Carpet Brush features a single row of nylon fibers that have been designed specifically to give maximum penetration on commercial-grade level and multi-loop carpets.

    • Designed to give maximum penetration on commercial-grade carpet
    • Like the Grandi Groom but with nylon brush bristles
    • 18-inch-wide head
    • Includes a handle
  18. Dri-Eaz Dri-Pod Floor Dryer

    The Dri-Pod accelerates drying by pulling warm, dry air from above and directing it downward in a high-velocity 360° pattern drying up to 10 feet across in all directions. Talk about efficiency—you can set up the Dri-Pod in one room while you move on to the next!

    • High-velocity airflow
    • Patented 360-degree outlet grill design
    • Highly portable and stackable design
    • Uniformly directs air across floor
    $184.00 Add to Cart to See Price

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