Removing Spills and Cleaning up Stains from Beautiful Oriental Rugs
I know the frustration that comes with something spilling and staining an Oriental rug: my cats, my kids, my guests, and yes even me!
Because I love my rugs, and because I'm the queen of removing stains, I have found the most effective and gentle cleaning methods.
I’m able to stay on top of spills and remove the stains that threaten the beauty of my oriental rugs and now you can too.
Neglect is a major cause of serious rug problems.
- Treat your rug gently
- Inspect it periodically
- Clean it regularly
- Keep it from direct sunlight
- Keep it away from dampness and moisture
- Move furniture periodically to reduce dents
If your rug is delicate, antique, high value, damaged, you are unable to determine what the rug is made of, if you are unsure of what you are dealing with, or you have tried to remove the stain once successfully- take the rug to a professional that can clean it with special solvents and repaired if necessary.
Most oriental rugs are made from wool. Wool requires specific cleaning methods.
- Do not use heat which will shrink it.
- Do not use strong cleaners which can damage it.
- Do not use enzymes which will disintegrate (digest) it.
Silk rugs are very expensive, delicate and should be taken to a professional cleaner.
Silk is tricky to clean and really should be cleaned with solvents. I would not touch a stained silk rug with a 10 foot pole, and I don't recommend you do either!
Damage Control: Spills on your Oriental Rug
- All spills should be dealt with immediately.
- Carefully remove any debris or material. Be sure to lift it up, not brush it off.
- Absorb whatever liquid is spilled on the rug with a clean white absorbent cloth.
- Use a blotting motion to remove as much as you can.
- Avoid scrubbing at all costs.
Now that you have the situation under control, let's move to the actual stain removal.
There are many methods and they are listed in order of what to try first. Always start with the most gentle method.
Stain Removal Methods
Efficient Cleaning Tip: I use a light, portable and inexpensive, deep cleaner to spot clean stains from carpets and rugs.
The cleaner helps by lightly spraying the area with cleaning solution (or plain water) that the unit is filled with and then applies suction to extract the water immediately after.
It's great for emergencies, helps to remove the stain, rinses and extracts the cleaning solution that was used. I use mine all the time.
Guidelines for Removing Stains
- Check the rug label for instructions first
- Use the gentlest cleaning method
- Use as little cleaning solution as possible
- Be GENTLE
- Go slowly
- Dab, Blot, Dab, Blot, or Spray, Suction, Spray, Suction, etc.
- If the stains remains after trying these methods, take the rug to a professional cleaner
Absorb the Stain: Talcum Powder
- Sprinkle plain talcum powder on the stained area.
- Let the talcum powder rest on the rug until dry.
- Vacuum up.
- If the stain remains, move to the next cleaning solution.
Dissolve the Stain: Plain Water
- Fill a spray bottle with plain warm water (or use a deep cleaner like I mentioned above).
- Lightly mist the area.
- Start at the outer edges of the stain (working inward) and gently blot with a clean white cloth.
- Never rub the fabric as it can damage the rug fibers.
- Repeat if necessary.
- If stain remains, move to the next cleaning solution.
Degrease the Stain: Mild Detergent
- Mix 1 teaspoon of mild, clear dish-washing liquid (like Dawn) to 4 cups of warm water.
- Fill a spray bottle or use a deep cleaner like I mentioned above with the cleaning solution.
- Mist solution over area.
- Start at the outer edges of the stain and work your way toward the center using a dampened cloth to gently blot the stain.
- Repeat until stain is gone. Make sure to either rinse your cloth often or use as many clean cloths as necessary.
- Rinse the area by misting with water and blotting to remove as much soap residue as possible.
- Allow the rug to dry thoroughly.
- If stain remains, move to the next cleaning solution.
Deodorize and Degrease the Stain: Vinegar, Detergent and Water
Make a spot cleaning solution with vinegar to remove the stain. Plain white vinegar is a mild acid and natural deodorizer. Vinegar works well to remove coffee stains and vomit stains. Make sure to rinse the stain completely with cold water to remove all traces of remaining vinegar from the carpet fibers.
Test this solution in an inconspicuous place first. Most Oriental rug dyes today are acid-fast and benefit from vinegar and water cleaning solutions. Acidic vinegar helps to bond the dye in the wool in the rug, which helps prevent the colors from running.
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp liquid dishwashing detergent
- 2 cups tepid water
Use the same cleaning process steps I have listed above for degreasing the stain with Dawn dishwashing detergent.
If the spill was rather large, you can take the rug out side and use a garden hose to rinse the stain outside before using the cleaning solutions to work on the stains. Use a fan to help completely dry the area when the stain has been removed. Place it beside the rug allowing air flow over the damp area.
I have covered how to clean and shampoo your rug outside (deep cleaning) that might be helpful in this case- If the spill is that large, you might want to clean the whole thing anyway.
Need More Cleaning Help With Your Oriental Rugs?
Here's part 1 of the Oriental rug cleaning series that reviews routine care and vacuuming tips:
Enjoy Your Stain Free Rug
It feels wonderful to sit back and enjoy your accomplishment of a job well done. Stain removal is easy as long as you know the tricks. As with anything when you do the job yourself, proper care and gentle cleaning is the key.
Your Oriental rug will last a very long time, and retain its beauty for many years. I know you must love your rug as much as I love mine, so with your new knowledge, sit back and relax and enjoy your stain free and super clean oriental rug.
Image of clean oriental rug courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairity/3979205279/, CC BY.