Can Persian rugs be cleaned? Consider what happens when you decide to clean your clothing. It can be all too easy to make assumptions when it comes to cleaning fabrics. Whilst some may use the same washing machine cycle to clean their clothes, others will look at the advice on clothing labels and see a myriad of advice on how best the garment should be treated.

From water temperature to the use of products to drying advice: once studied, the process of cleaning clothing is not as simple as one may think.

Add into the mix that a Persian rug is not a mass-produced piece of furniture that is inexpensive or disposable. Now we have an added dimension to consider in that the rug may be a family heirloom or extremely valuable and therefore the very fabric and fibres of which the rug is comprised are worth more than that modern, synthetic rug that are sold online.

As professional and trusted cleaners of Persian rugs, we too take great care in ‘reading the information on the label’ to understand how best to clean items!


Persian rugs do not come in one size and are not made using the same techniques or materials. For this reason, the methods used to clean a Persian rug will differ depending on factors like pile thickness, weave, size, age of rug, perceived durability, wear and tear or whether the product is a silk rug or woollen rug.

Everything is taken into account when considering how best to clean a Persian Rug. As well as evaluating the rug materials and conditions, we will also consider how dirty the rug is, how long it has been since the last deep clean and whether the rug has any heavy soiling or staining that might require extra treatment.

Once we have evaluated the rug as well as the cleaning requirement, we can then decide on how best to undertake the cleaning process. We will inform the customer of our cleaning intentions along with any special recommendations for specific problem areas.

The rest of this article introduced the stages of cleaning that can be included in order to properly deep clean a Persian or Oriental rug.


Prior to adding any wet treatment to a rug, it is important to remove as much dust and dirt as possible. In order to do this, the rug is placed upside down on a mat with holes and beaten using a carpet beating machine. Larger centrifugal machines are sometimes used but in order to protect old and delicate rugs, we do not use these. This process allows the heavier dirt, soil and debris to fall through the holes in the matt and for engrained dirt to come to the surface.

We then hoover the rug firstly from top to bottom and then from side to side to further remove dust from the rug.

Some companies will use hand held pressure washers to further push dirt out of a particularly soiled rug. Whilst James Barclay do not use these, we do have an extractor machine on standby if we feel that further assistance in needed. We feel that the extractor is a gentler way to remove dust from a rug than using augmented pressure.

speak with persian rug cleaners


Once the rug has been dusted and before we clean a Persian rug, we need to know whether the dye in the rug will bleed when we use a cleaning solution. A small, white towel can be placed on the rug which is impregnated with cleaning solution and weighted down with a brick. After ten minutes, the towel can be removed and checked to see if the dye has run into the towel.


Persian Rug Cleaning

Following the dusting and bleed test the rug can then be cleaned. At James Barclay, we use traditional hand cleaning methods using a brush. A special pH neutral cleaning solution is used to remove dirt and staining. Our solutions contain natural soaps that are sympathetic to the natural flower and vegetable dyes that are found in Persian rugs


Once the rug has been brushed, it is rinsed with clean water and a squeegee is used to uniformly remove as much excess moisture as possible from the rug. The squeegee will be pushed from the top of the rug to the bottom covering the whole rug and repeated several times to catch as much moisture as possible.

drying persian rug with squeegee


Persian Rugs Drying

Once the rug has been cleaned it is important to dry the rug in as little time as possible. The longer the rug stays wet, the more chance there is that is will smell.

Rugs will be hung vertically on drying racks and placed outside (weather permitting) for drying. If the weather is bad, we can use artificial heating to gently but efficiently dry rugs. We will regularly turn rugs to ensure an even drying process and can add deodorising if required.


Following the whole cleaning process, the rug will be checked to ensure that the cleaning has been conducted in a professional and effective manner. If there are any errors or problem areas, further cleaning can be carried out. It is not uncommon for spot or stain removal to be required following the hand cleaning of a Persian rug.

As you can see, there are several steps that are taken when a Persian rug is professionally cleaned. The process is certainly worth the effort though to ensure that the rug is kept in good condition and to prevent further issues like moths, beetles or mould. As much as household cleaning will assist with keeping a rug clean, it will never be as good as a professional clean. Indeed, if you looked at some of the videos on YouTube that show the cleaning of Persian rugs, you will be astounded at the amount of dust and dirt that is extracted.

If you would like more information about cleaning Persian rugs or if you have a Persian rug that needs cleaning, get in touch with us by calling 0203 1742427


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