If you’ve got an oriental rug that’s lost some of its luster, chances are that it’s just picked up a lot of dirt and dust over the years. Cleaning it is sure to restore some of its former vitality. The easiest way to do it is by taking it to a rug cleaner who uses giant machines to extract the dirt, and a centrifuge to extract the water. Alternatively, you could hire an oriental rug cleaning service to come to your location. But it’s not necessary to go through that expense when you can easily clean it at home.
Equipping yourself for this job is easy. You’ll need some dish soap and a bucket, a squeegee, and a rug beater. If you don’t have a rug beater, there are several other things you can use, such as a wooden spoon, a whisk, or a baseball bat. You are going to be beating it, after all!
First, take the rug outside where giant plumes of dust aren’t going to bother anybody; and for the sake of your own breathing, try to use a simple painter’s mask like you’ll find at Home Deport or any auto part store. Hang the rug up on a clothesline, a fence, or if you see a good one, a heavy branch (hopefully as horizontal a branch as you can find).
With the rug hanging at equal lengths on either side, use your rug beater or substitute and hit it with flat strokes evenly over the entire thing. Do this on both sides. If it’s been a while since you’ve done this – and it’s likely to be, as it only needs to be done once a year – be prepared to stand back and avoid getting the dust in your eyes. You’re likely to create a massive cloud of dirt. Shake it from about halfway up the rug, and again from near the top. This will release any remaining dirt and dust that settled back on to it. In some cases you may have to beat it again.
Next, sponge it off with very soapy water on both sides. This will take some time, but you want to make sure both sides are soaked right through. Now spray it with a garden hose, being sure you don’t stop until the water runs clear. Then squeegee it until all excess water is removed. You don’t want to leave any water in the fibers, or you’ll create mold on the underside when you lay it back down.
Now, you’ll need to let it dry. Depending on how large your rug is, and how thick, this can take an entire day of hanging in the sunlight.
Caring for your oriental rug once it’s back inside and in place will help maintain the color of the rug and minimize its wear. Rotate the rug every couple of months, and in the case of rugs with a lot of fringe on the ends, flip it. This will keep the fringe from getting knotted and minimize wear. Direct sunlight over an extended period of time can fade the colors, so keep the sun off of it whenever possible. Changing the room around so traffic is directed to keep people off the rug will help it to wear more evenly.