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There are many ways in which you can clean your wool area rug without harsh chemicals at home. In contrast to what many people think, wool rugs are easy to care for and do not require expensive and toxic dry cleaning treatments. With the recipes for natural cleaning of wool rugs below, you can feel good about taking care of any dirt or staining on your rugs.
Depending on your rug type, size, and the degree of staining and/or dirt, you may follow any or all of the recommended treatments below to clean your wool rugs naturally. Repeated treatments may be necessary for stubborn stains.
The first step in cleaning your rugs is to thoroughly vacuum. Always begin your wool rug cleaning treatment with a thorough vacuuming to remove any loose dirt and debris.
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Spot Cleaning Wool Rugs
Inevitably, spills happen. To clean a spill or stain on your wool rug act quickly to blot the spill as soon as possible. Using a clean towel, gently remove any liquid with a dabbing motion (do not rub). A towel may be placed under the rug to absorb any liquid that comes through the rug.
If a stain remains, make a cleaning solution by adding 1 Tablespoon dish soap and 1/4 cup white vinegar to 1 cup of water. Wet the affected area with the solution and use a clean, dry towel to blot dry (again, avoid rubbing the stain). Repeat if necessary.
Allow the spot to dry naturally. When the spot is dry, restore the plush pile of the rug with a soft brush.
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Cleaning Entire Wool Area Rugs
If your entire area rug needs a deep clean, don't feel the need for a professional dry clean. First, attempt to clean your rug using these natural methods to avoid bringing toxic chemicals into your home. If a professional job seems necessary be sure to choose an environmentally-friendly dry cleaner that uses alternative dry cleaning solvents.
Snow Clean: If you happen to have fresh snow outside, use it to get your wool rug clean! Don't attempt to snow clean your rug at temperatures above freezing. You want the snow to freeze dirt, grime, and grease so the particles can be shaken off.
Preferably after a freshly fallen, dry powder snow, take your rug outside and lay it top down in the snow. Let the rug sit for a while to "freeze" it. Then, jump up and down on the bottom of the rug, releasing trapped dirt into the snow below. Shake off as much snow as possible before bringing the rug indoors to dry.
Just Beat it: Hang your wool rug outdoors over a tree branch, fence, or other tall object with the top of the rug facing inward. Beginning at the top of the rug, beat it aggressively with a stick or broom handle. Reverse the rug (top facing out) and repeat. Vacuum the rug when you bring it indoors.
Gentle Wool Rug Cleaning Solution: If beating your wool rug doesn't remove as much dirt as you'd like, you can wash your wool rug in a mild vinegar and water solution. Take caution, though, and use as little water as possible to get your rug clean.
Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1 Tablespoon dish soap to 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Bring your rug outdoors and use a soft scrub brush to work the solution over the entire rug area. Place clean, dry towels over the rug's surface to cover. Roll the rug up, the unroll and remove towels. Repeat the procedure with fresh, clean water to rinse. Let the rug dry in a cool area out of direct sunlight to avoid shrinkage. Restore the pile of the rug, if necessary, with a soft brush.
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photo scourtesy flickr.com creative commons license: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lollyknit/2251954872/