How To Clean Wool Carpet

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clean wool carpet

If you need to know how to clean a wool carpet, you’re in the right place. We’ll start with cleaning up fresh stains, because that’s why most of you are here, and then take a look at long-term care.

Key Takeaways:

With a soft bristle vacuum, run over your carpet multiple times a week, moving the bristles back and forth as much as possible (to release any dirt and dust). Vacuum only once a week if the carpet doesn’t get much use.

For pet stains, sprinkle baking soda, leave for a few minutes, then vacuum. Then, use a solution: one part white vinegar to four parts water. Add a teaspoon dishwasher detergent to compensate for each two cups of water. Dab carefully with a wrung-out sponge, rub with water and blot with dry paper afterward.

Steam cleaning wool carpets is a great idea once a year. Double this if it’s a high-traffic carpet.

Steps for Cleaning Wool Carpet

Use a dry paper towel to blot up everything you can reach—don’t rub them in. For wet stains, spray a little warm water after blotting and blot it dry.

For pet accidents, sprinkle baking soda thickly on top and wait for half an hour, then vacuum it up.

Working with Wool’s Characteristics

Wool is an impressively durable flooring material with fibers that naturally repel liquids. The fiber is great for cleaning because it takes liquids and stains much longer to affect wool than many other common housing materials. However, it doesn’t mean you should let fresh stains sit, but it does make cleaning wool much easier.

Now that we know a little more about wool’s durability, let’s go over some long-term care.

How Should I Clean New Wool Carpets?

How Should I Clean New Wool Carpets

Vacuum cleaners are an excellent choice for cleaning wool, but there are a few things to know about these. First, you should only use vacuum cleaners with soft bristles. Wool is usually a deep carpeting material, so these bristles will help agitate any dirt and allow the vacuum to suck it out.

If you have a high-pile carpet, consider getting a vacuum cleaner with adjustable bristles. The best vacuums for shag or high-pile carpet come with adjustable bristles and large wheels so they can maneuver on the carpet.

Vacuum the carpet every day for the first week after you install it. Vacuuming helps to remove dust, lint, and other lingering debris from the installation process.You don’t need to vacuum too heavily; one pass each day is usually good enough and will give your carpet the best start.

Do not use the beater bar on your vacuum. These tools are an excellent choice on synthetic carpets, but wool sheds quickly and beater bars can drastically reduce the lifespan of your carpet. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to get a vacuum with good bristles.

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How Do I Perform Regular Cleaning and Maintenance?

How Do I Perform Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

After the first week, you can switch over to a regular cleaning schedule.

For high-traffic areas, vacuum the carpet twice a week and go for a thorough cleaning, moving your vacuum over the area at least five times. This helps dislodge dirt and other debris that could be trapped under the fibers, limiting their ability to harm your carpet over time. When you care for it properly, wool can and will last a long time.

For less-visited areas, limit your vacuuming to once a week. This is mainly to remove dust and dirt that may settle on the carpet after floating through the air, so you should vacuum areas even if people don’t walk on them very often. Three passes with the vacuum cleaner are enough for these areas.

Consider getting a carpet cleaner as well to complement your vacuum. A carpet cleaner machine will go deeper into the fibers and deep clean, and that is necessary at least once per year. We recently published an article here on the best carpet cleaners.

What Else Can I Do to Get Rid of Pet Stains?

What Else Can I Do to Get Rid of Pet Stains

Baking soda is great for absorbing liquids and odors

, but you may need to perform some in-depth cleaning to remove pet stains fully.

While the baking soda we mentioned above is sitting on the stain, mix one-part white vinegar with four parts water and about half a teaspoon of dishwasher detergent for every two cups of water.

Do not use any other types of vinegar as a substitute for white vinegar. These ingredients are less effective and could dye or stain your wool carpet.

After vacuuming the baking soda out, dip a sponge in your cleaning solution and wring most of the liquid out, then use circular movements and lightly rub each stain. Rub the area with a water-dampened sponge (not your cleaner) afterward and use a paper towel to blot the area dry.

If you want to buy a stain remover from the store, make sure to get products specifically designed for wool carpeting. Regular pet stain removers might damage wool carpeting, so if in doubt, use a homemade vinegar solution instead.
As a bonus, vinegar is child-safe and pet-safe, which could be important.

For particularly deep or stubborn stains, try mineral turpentine (sometimes referred to or even sold as turps), which is usually a paint thinner and easy to find in local hardware stores. While not the first product most people think of, mineral turpentine is great for removing things like oil, lipstick, and rust from wool carpeting.

To use it, soak the end of a clean cloth with the turpentine, then blot the stain with it. Use a paper towel to blot up any extra liquid.

For water-based stains, a teaspoon each of wool detergent and white vinegar in about four cups of water can wash out almost anything. Let the area air-dry for several hours.

How Do I Perform an Annual Cleaning?

How Do I Perform an Annual Cleaning

We’ve already discussed emergency cleaning and regular maintenance, but there’s one more thing you need to do for your wool carpet: the annual cleaning.

Steam cleaning is the best way to remove sand, dried mud, and other problems that can wear out wool fibers over time.
For heavily-traveled areas, do this twice a year instead.

For proper cleaning, start by moving all of your furniture off of the carpet. You’ll need to wait at least a day for the carpet to dry, so make sure things aren’t in the way after you move them.

Next, follow the directions for your steam cleaner or, if you’d rather make it easier, hire a local cleaning professional. We’re not going to make recommendations about specific companies or services—mainly because we can’t guarantee they operate where you live—but we suggest focusing on reputable companies with a lot of great reviews from their customers.

If you want to do it yourself but don’t have a cleaner, you can probably rent one from a carpet or hardware store. A rental is usually less expensive than hiring a professional cleaner, so it’s a good way to get things cleaned on a limited budget.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning Wool Carpeting

Wool is a plush, amazing material for carpets, but despite its durability, it requires proper care if you want to maximize its lifespan. The immediate, regular, and annual cleaning methods listed here should keep your carpet feeling fresh and plush for many years to come.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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