Vintage Rug Care 101


So you bought a vintage rug for your hallway/bedroom/kitchen/anywhere. Smart move! The beauty of vintage wool floor coverings, besides their character-filled, one-of-a-kind good looks, is that they're made to withstand daily life. Wool is extremely stain-resistant and durable (sheep live outside!), and the complex patterns in vintage rugs tend to hide dirt and debris. With regular vacuuming and occasional cleaning, your vintage rug will continue looking great for years to come.

That said, many vintage rugs (the ones we love most!) already show signs of past wear. So follow the guidelines below, but don’t fret. Any abuse your rug sees from day-to-day living will only increase its character and cool-factor. 

Rug Pads

Placing a rug pad under your area rug will help keep it in place, make it more comfortable underfoot, and extend its life. You can order many types of rug pads online, but we like the recycled wool type with a layer of latex rubber underneath. Trim the pad to just an inch or two shorter than the rug on each side. 

Regular Cleaning

Regular vacuuming using your vacuum’s simple suction head is the most straightforward way to maintain your hand-made rug. Do not use a vacuum head with a rotating beater bar, especially not on the fringe or edges of the rug, as this can pull on the fibers and damage the weave.

As often as possible, flip the rug and vacuum the back side as well, as fine dust and dirt tends to settle deep into the fibers.

Rugs with flat or no pile can be firmly brushed of surface debris with a stiff broom.

Professional cleaning every year or two by a service experienced with Oriental rugs will help keep your handmade rug looking and smelling great.

Treating Common Stains

Whatever the spill, first soak up as much liquid as possible by pressing a clean cloth over the spill, both from front and back of the rug. If there is no remaining stain, the rug can be dried using a hand-held hair dryer. Other common stains may be treated as follows. Never use bleach!

Red Wine

After absorbing as much liquid as possible, wipe the spot with white vinegar, and then with water.


Allow to dry, and then vacuum or brush out.

Pet Urine

Absorb as much liquid as possible, then wipe with a damp sponge and let dry. Follow with white vinegar, then a damp sponge again. If an odor or mark remains, gently dab it with a mix of 3 parts alcohol to 1 part ammonia and follow with a damp sponge. Allow it to air dry. 


Still thinking about making a vintage wool rug your own? Pop in the shop whenever we're open, or shop an edited selection of our vintage rugs here.