Owning a Persian or Oriental rug is not just about adding a piece of beauty to your home; it’s about preserving a piece of history. These rugs are known for their intricate designs, vibrant colours, and the skilful craftsmanship that goes into their creation. However, maintaining their beauty and longevity requires proper care, and there are some common cleaning methods that can do more harm than good. Let’s delve into the wrong ways to clean your authentic Persian or Oriental rug.

Using Steam Cleaners – Wrong!

When it comes to cleaning Persian and Oriental rugs, steam cleaning is often thought of as a modern, efficient method. However, this approach is not just unsuitable—it can be downright harmful to these exquisite pieces of art. Understanding why can help you avoid making a costly mistake that compromises the beauty and integrity of your valuable rugs.

The Delicate Nature of Persian and Oriental Rugs

Persian and Oriental rugs are not only valuable for their beauty but also for their craftsmanship and historical significance. These rugs are often made from natural fibres such as wool, cotton, and silk, and dyed with natural vegetable dyes. This combination of materials and dyes gives them their vibrant colours and intricate designs but also makes them particularly vulnerable to high heat and moisture​​.

Why Steam Cleaning Is Wrong

1. Damage to Natural Fibers:

Steam cleaning involves injecting hot water into the rug’s fibres under high pressure and then extracting it. While this method can be effective for synthetic carpets, it’s a different story for Persian and Oriental rugs. The natural fibres can react badly to the excessive moisture and heat, leading to shrinkage, distortion, and even rotting of the delicate fibres​​.

2. Risk of Dye Bleeding:

The natural vegetable dyes used in these rugs are sensitive to temperature and moisture. Steam cleaning can cause these dyes to run or bleed, leading to faded colours and blurred designs. This is not just an aesthetic issue but can significantly reduce the rug’s value and appeal​​.

3. Creation of Mud Within the Rug:

When water is forced into a rug and cannot be efficiently extracted, it mixes with dirt trapped within the fibres, effectively creating mud inside the rug. This can make the rug dirtier than before it was cleaned, complicating further cleaning efforts and potentially leading to mildew and odours if the rug does not dry properly​​.

Improper Handling by Non-Specialists – Wrong!

When it comes to the care of Persian and Oriental rugs, entrusting them to non-specialists for cleaning can lead to a myriad of issues, potentially damaging these valuable and often irreplaceable pieces. so don’t ‘be in the wrong place at the wrong time!’ Understanding the risks associated with improper handling by those unfamiliar with the specific needs of these types of rugs is crucial for their preservation.

Lack of Specialized Knowledge

Persian and Oriental rugs are not just any regular carpet; they are intricate works of art, each with its unique set of care requirements. Non-specialists, including general carpet cleaning services, may not have the nuanced understanding of the materials, weaving techniques, and dyes used in these rugs. This lack of specialized knowledge can result in the use of inappropriate cleaning methods or chemicals, leading to damage such as colour bleeding, fading, and deterioration of fibres​​.

Inadequate Cleaning Facilities

Another concern is the facilities where the cleaning is performed. Some services may claim to have a dedicated rug cleaning plant, but the cleaning may be done in suboptimal conditions, such as a parking lot or on the floor of a shop. These environments are not equipped to handle the delicate nature of Persian and Oriental rugs, lacking the controlled settings necessary to prevent damage during the cleaning process​​.

Use of Improper Cleaning Agents

The use of improper cleaning solutions is a common problem when non-specialists handle Persian and Oriental rugs. These rugs often contain natural fibres that can be damaged by harsh chemicals. Additionally, the dyes used in these rugs can react poorly to certain cleaning agents, leading to fading, colour runs, or even chemical damage to the fibres themselves. Non-specialists may not be aware of or have access to the gentle, yet effective, cleaning agents that are specifically designed for use on these types of rugs​​.

Risk of Structural Damage

Improper handling can also lead to structural damage to the rug. Techniques suitable for synthetic carpets, like heavy scrubbing or the use of standard carpet cleaning equipment, can harm the delicate weave of Persian and Oriental rugs, causing unravelling, tearing, or other forms of structural damage. Such damage not only affects the rug’s appearance but can also significantly diminish its value and longevity​​.

The care and cleaning of Persian and Oriental rugs should never be entrusted to non-specialists. The unique materials, dyes, and construction techniques used in these rugs require a level of care and expertise that only specialists possess.

DIY Cleaning with Harsh Chemicals – Wrong!

The allure of do-it-yourself solutions for cleaning Persian and Oriental rugs can be strong, especially when faced with unexpected spills or stains. However, the use of harsh chemicals can lead to disastrous outcomes, causing irreversible damage to these valuable textiles. Understanding the risks and knowing why certain chemicals are harmful is essential for any rug owner.

Harsh Chemicals and Natural Fibers Don’t Mix

Persian and Oriental rugs are often made from natural fibres such as wool, silk, and cotton, which are sensitive to the aggressive action of harsh chemicals. DIY cleaning solutions, particularly those containing bleach or strong alkaline substances, can break down these delicate fibres, leading to a loss of texture and strength. This weakening of fibres can result in tears, holes, or a rug that wears out prematurely​​.

Colour Fastness and Dye Migration

One of the defining characteristics of Persian and Oriental rugs is their vibrant and intricate colour patterns, often achieved using natural dyes. These dyes are not as chemically stable as their synthetic counterparts, making them susceptible to running, fading, or bleeding when exposed to harsh cleaning agents. This can not only ruin the aesthetic appeal of the rug but also significantly decrease its value​​.

The Risk of DIY Spot Treatment

Attempting to remove spots or stains using DIY concoctions can be particularly risky. Homemade solutions based on online tips or hearsay might not be appropriate for the type of stain or the rug’s material and dye processes. For example, using vinegar or baking soda on certain types of stains can set them permanently or cause dye migration, where colours blend into areas where they shouldn’t be, creating a smudged appearance​​.

Unintended Chemical Reactions

Mixing different cleaning agents to boost cleaning power can lead to chemical reactions that are harmful to both the rug and the cleaner. Some combinations can release toxic gases, while others might lead to an acidic or alkaline concoction that can bleach or burn the rug fibres. The unpredictability of these reactions underscores the importance of sticking to recommended cleaning methods and avoiding experimentation​​.

The temptation to tackle rug cleaning with DIY methods and harsh chemicals must be resisted to preserve the integrity, beauty, and value of Persian and Oriental rugs. These precious items require gentle, knowledgeable care, often necessitating professional attention. When it comes to maintaining these rugs, the adage “better safe than sorry” couldn’t be more apt. If faced with a spill or stain, the best course of action is to blot out as much as possible and then consult with a professional rug cleaner who can assess and treat the issue without risking damage to the rug.


Persian rug cleaners and repairers

Neglecting Professional Cleaning – Wrong!

Neglecting professional cleaning for Persian and Oriental rugs is a mistake that can have long-term repercussions on their beauty, integrity, and lifespan. While regular vacuuming and spot cleaning at home are necessary for maintenance, they cannot replace the depth of cleaning and care provided by professionals. Understanding the value of professional cleaning can help ensure that these exquisite pieces remain in pristine condition for generations.

Preserving the Rug’s Aesthetic and Structural Integrity

Professional cleaners specialize in handling Persian and Oriental rugs, employing techniques and solutions tailored to the rug’s specific fibres, dyes, and weaving techniques. This expertise is crucial for preserving both the aesthetic and structural integrity of the rug. Harsh or inappropriate cleaning methods can cause colours to fade, fibres to weaken, and intricate patterns to blur, significantly diminishing the rug’s appearance and value​​​​.

Deep Cleaning Without Damage

Over time, dirt, dust, and allergens can embed themselves deep within the rug’s fibres, beyond the reach of regular home cleaning methods. Professional cleaners use specialized equipment and techniques to remove this deep-seated debris without damaging the rug’s delicate fibres. This not only rejuvenates the rug’s appearance but also improves indoor air quality by removing potential allergens​​.

Expertise in Stain and Odor Removal

Stains and odours can be particularly challenging to remove from Persian and Oriental rugs due to their natural fibres and dyes. Professional rug cleaners have the knowledge and resources to address these issues effectively, using gentle yet effective treatments that home remedies cannot match. They can also provide protective treatments that help repel future stains, extending the rug’s beauty and utility​​​​.

Extending the Life of the Rug

Regular professional cleaning can significantly extend the life of a Persian or Oriental rug. Dirt and grit that accumulate over time can act like sandpaper against the rug’s fibres with each step taken on it, accelerating wear and tear. Professional cleaning removes these abrasive particles, reducing wear and preserving the rug’s condition. Additionally, experts can identify and repair minor damages before they become major issues, preventing further deterioration​​​​.

Neglecting professional cleaning for Persian and Oriental rugs is a false economy that can lead to premature aging, damage, and loss of value. Investing in regular professional cleaning ensures that these rugs retain their beauty, integrity, and value.

Incorrect Fringe Cleaning – Wrong!

The fringe of a Persian or Oriental rug is not just a decorative edge; it is an integral part of the rug’s structure, often comprising the warp threads that run through the entire length of the rug. Incorrect cleaning of this fringe can lead to damage that affects both the appearance and structural integrity of the rug. Understanding the proper care for fringe is crucial for maintaining the overall condition and longevity of these valuable textiles.

Why Fringe Requires Special Attention

Fringe, typically made of cotton, wool, or silk, is more exposed and thus more prone to collecting dirt, dust, and general wear. Because it is the continuation of the rug’s foundation, damage to the fringe can eventually lead to unravelling or weakening of the rug itself. Moreover, the fringe’s lighter colour often makes dirt and damage more visible, affecting the rug’s aesthetic appeal​​.

Common Mistakes in Fringe Cleaning

Harsh Chemicals and Bleach are wrong to use

Using harsh chemicals, including bleach, is a significant mistake in cleaning fringe. While it might be tempting to use these strong agents to remove stains or brighten the fringe, they can degrade the fibres, leading to breakage, discoloration, and weakening of the structural integrity. The natural fibres of the fringe are particularly susceptible to damage from these chemicals, which can also strip the natural oils from wool and silk, leaving them brittle​​.

Aggressive Mechanical Actions are wrong to use

Brushing or scrubbing the fringe too aggressively is wrong and can cause physical damage, such as fraying and unravelling. The fringe should be handled gently to avoid pulling threads loose from the rug’s body. Even during regular vacuuming, care should be taken to avoid catching the fringe in the vacuum cleaner, as this can cause significant damage.

Best Practices for Cleaning Rug Fringe

Gentle Cleaning Solutions

A mild detergent or a mixture of water and white vinegar can be effective for cleaning the fringe without causing damage. These solutions can help loosen dirt and grime without the harsh effects of stronger chemical cleaners. It’s important to test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fringe to ensure it does not cause discoloration or damage​​.

Soft Brushes and Careful Drying

Using a soft brush, such as a horsehair brush, can help dislodge dirt from the fringe without causing harm. After cleaning, the fringe should be rinsed with clean water and allowed to air dry naturally. Direct heat or sunlight can cause shrinking or fading, so drying should occur in a well-ventilated, shaded area.

Professional Assessment and Cleaning

When in doubt, or if the fringe is significantly soiled or damaged, consulting a professional rug cleaner is the best course of action to avoid wrong cleaning methods. Professionals have the knowledge, tools, and experience to clean the fringe safely and effectively, often as part of a comprehensive rug cleaning service that addresses both the rug and its fringe.

The fringe of a Persian or Oriental rug requires careful and correct cleaning methods to preserve its appearance and integrity. Avoiding harsh chemicals and aggressive cleaning techniques, opting instead for gentle solutions and soft handling, can help maintain the fringe’s beauty. For challenging cleaning tasks, professional services offer the expertise needed to ensure that your rug, including its delicate fringe, remains in excellent condition.


Cleaning a Persian or Oriental rug the wrong way can lead to damage that is expensive or impossible to repair. Avoid steam cleaning, entrusting your rug to non-specialists, using DIY cleaning solutions without caution, neglecting professional cleaning, and improperly cleaning the fringe. These are all wrong practices. Instead, opt for specialised care that respects the unique qualities of your rug. By doing so, you can preserve its beauty and ensure that it remains a cherished part of your home for years to come – and that can’t be wrong!

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