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The Secrets to Cleaning Oriental, Cowhide, Coir Rugs, and more!

We have published lots of blog posts about how to clean carpets – especially if you’re looking for carpet cleaning home remedies or how to get wine stains out of your precious carpets. You can find any number of articles and videos about how to clean carpet stains, getting dog or cat pee out of a carpet, and DIY solutions for treating your whole carpet. But knowing how to clean a rug at home – a specialty rug that is – can be a very different story. 

Area rugs are usually made from different materials than synthetic carpet, and can be woven very differently. The more expensive the rug, the more delicately you have to treat it. And there is a lot less information out there about how to clean rug stains when it comes to specialty rugs like Oriental, cowhide and coir rugs. When it comes to these specialty rugs, we strongly recommend you hire a professional service, like Zerorez®, but when that’s not possible, here are our professional tips and recommendations.

Tips for How to Clean Rug Stains When a Professional Isn’t Available

Tip #1: Clean Spills Quickly 

The most important thing to remember when you’re preventing stains and making sure you have a clean rug at home is to catch spills when they happen. A spill caught early is just a spot. A spot that doesn’t get cleaned immediately becomes a stain. Time is not your friend if you want to avoid a spot becoming a stain on your beloved rugs. 

Tip #2: Blot Don’t Rub

The second most important thing to remember about how to clean rug stains in order to prevent a spot from becoming a stain and not ruining your rug is to blot, not rub the spot – we know, we say it all the time, but it’s worth repeating. Rubbing the spot can push the color deeper into the rug pile and damage the fibers. Even if you get the stain up, if you’re not careful, you’ll still be able to see the damaged fibers where you rubbed. Working from the outside of the spot in, blot a white towel, always using a clean side so you’re not re-contaminating the spot and keep blotting until it’s dry. If there’s still discoloration, move on to the steps below. 

Recommendations on How to Clean Rug Stains by Rug Type

How to Clean a Cowhide Rug

As cool as a cowhide rug is in the middle of a floor, it is actually a large piece of leather with fur on one side, that you lay on your floor. It is really important to treat it carefully. The best guidance for how to clean a cowhide rug is to get it professionally dry cleaned. 

For more regular care to remove dirt and dust is to shake your cowhide rug or hit it against a wall outdoors. Vacuuming is an option, but be sure to use a hose attachment if your machine has powerful suction, so as not to damage the fur. Treat stains quickly, but use water or any kind of cleaning liquid sparingly. 
Moisture can damage the material. The best answer to how to clean a rug stain without damaging the cowhide is to gently scrape the stain with a brush or butter knife moving in the same direction as the fur (similar to how they’re brushing the rug in the clip below), using a slightly damp cloth to get up any remaining discoloration. If your cowhide rug is in a high-traffic area, be sure to rotate it to promote even spreading and prevent uneven wear.

How to Clean an Oriental Rug

Oriental rugs are beautiful statement pieces; filled with color and incredible designs. Typically made in countries like Iran, China, Turkey, and Nepal, the yarn they are made with is often made using vegetable dye. For that reason, it is important to know how to clean an oriental rug when you own one. 

Vacuum your oriental rugs regularly to keep dirt, dust and pet hair off them but avoid the fringe to prevent damage. Vacuum both sides to get as much dust as you can. Use a rug shampoo or mild detergent to wash your rug, but be sure to check for color bleeding in a small area before you proceed to wash the rest of it. Rinse, remove excess water with a shop vac if you can adjust the suction setting to low, or squeegee and let it dry thoroughly by lying flat to dry the top and then flipping it over. The guidance for how to clean a Moroccan rug is very similar. 

If your oriental rug is made of silk, do not attempt to wash it; seek professional assistance from Zerorez®. Why? Because silk rugs can stretch to ten times their original size when water is added to them. You could actually destroy your rug if you don’t clean it properly. That’s why we say leave it to the professionals.

Be careful, too, when trying to clean Oriental rugs made of wool or cotton. Cleaning solution is important when cleaning wool. You should clean in a well-ventilated area, with an acidic detergent with a PH5 level. Don’t over-saturate the rug as that can leave brown staining and the wrong temperatures can cause wool rugs to shrink. One final pro tip: if there is a wrinkle or buckle in your wool or cotton rug – natural sunlight will help to relax the fiber and get it out.

How to Clean a Ruggable Rug

Ruggable Rugs are one of the easiest rugs to clean – after all, they’re made to be cleaned easily. There is no need to worry about spills and stains on these bad boys, because you can just throw the whole thing in the washing machine! All Ruggable rugs should be washed on a delicate setting, facing out, with a mild detergent, but the drying guidance varies depending on the material they are made from.  Jute and other rugs and mats that have been used outside should be shaken, getting rid of all excess dirt and debris before going in the washing machine. 

How to Clean a Coir Mat

Coir mats are 100% natural fibers, derived from coconut husks that make them incredibly durable and weather resistant. They are perfect for doormats and outdoor rugs and other high-traffic areas. How to clean a coir mat is simple. Start by shaking out the coir mat or rug, to get all the excess mud and debris out of the fibers. 

Shaking it out or vacuuming about once a week will help you prevent dirt build-up and will make it easier to keep your coir mat cleaner longer. To get the rest of the dirt, use some water and a stiff-bristle brush and just leave it out in the sun to dry. See? Simple!

How to Clean a Bathroom Rug

Cleaning bathroom rugs can be fairly easy, and you want to do it pretty regularly to prevent mildew or mold developing from all the wet feet they see. Shake them out to get pet hair and any loose debris. Most bathroom rugs are built for the washing machine and can be washed the same way on the gentle cycle. But some materials, like memory foam, need a little extra care. How to clean a bathroom rug made from memory foam requires a cooler washing temperature, and you’ll want to avoid using bleach, to prevent the foam from breaking down inside the rug. Natural fibers like bamboo you’ll want to hand wash. 

Beware the dryer, though, when it comes to any bathroom mats! Read the label on your mat before throwing the mat in the dryer as the high heat can damage mats with a rubber bottom or memory foam. 

Cleaning Rugs 101 - Zerorez Difference

Need More Information? 

Have you read all this and asked yourself, how much does it cost to get my oriental rugs professionally cleaned? Zerorez® can give you a free estimate on how to clean an oriental rug professionally. You can also contact us to find out about our current Monthly Specials on Residential and Commercial Cleaning Services. Call Zerorez® DC Metro at 703-382-1221 — or book a carpet cleaning appointment online. Does Zerorez® really work? Check out our Zerorez® reviews and you’ll find the answer is a resounding yes!

We invite you to connect with Zerorez® DC on Facebook to find the latest Zerorez® carpet cleaning specials or to see examples of our upholstery cleaning service! We can also be found on LinkedIn for business and commercial accounts — and get all our great cleaning tips on our blog, The Residue Chronicles!

Locally owned and operated Zerorez® DC and Fredericksburg“The Right Way To Clean” in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area, Stafford County (including Falmouth, White Oak, and Wallace’s Corner), Maryland (including National Harbor, Laurel, and Olney) and the Northern Virginia Region (including Manassas, Gainesville, and Nokesville) since 2015.