I am asked almost every time I sell a rug, "How do I clean a hand made wool rug?" There are several different methods of cleaning rugs; beating the rug (the old fashion way), vacuuming the rug, spot cleaning a rug and getting the rug cleaned by a professional.
For everyday cleaning, beating or vacuuming the rug are a must. The more you can keep surface dirt off of your rug, the less the fine particals can make their way into the wool. These fine particals are what cause wear. Each time you walk on the rug, the small bits of dirt rub on the wool, wearing it away a little bit at a time. Over the years, this grit can cause the rug to lose some or most of its wool.
Deeper home cleaning involves turning your rug upside down and vacumming the back of the rug. The small dirt and dust particals will fall out of the rug onto your floor. Clean off the floor and vacuum the back of the rug again and again until your floor stays clean. This upside down vacuuming will add years to the life of your rug.
Spot cleaning is sometimes necessary but you have to be careful! The goal is to get up as much of the spill without spreading it. If it is a solid substance, scrap up as much as you can with a butter knife. If it is a liquid substance, blot the rug with a clean white towel. A mild soap can be used on the rug, but again, do not rub, just blot. Do not get the rug soaking wet! Damp rugs can mildew if they do not dry quickly.
Every few years, you should let the professionals take care of your rug. My best advise here is to use a reputable cleaning company that specializes in Persian and Oriental rugs. The professional rug cleaning companies can get more dirt out than we can without causing harm to the rug. Your rug will come back bright and lively! A professional can also advise you when a repair may be warranted and provide you with estimates
Pet accidents are special circumstances and should always be addressed by professionals, the faster the better. There are enzimes that can be used to remove stains and odors but these have to be addressed quickly or the pet accidents will set into the wool.
Always contact the professionals if you are not sure!