How to Vacuum Your Oriental Rug without Damaging It


If you own an authentic Oriental rug, you know firsthand just how much beauty and joy it can bring to your life. These hand-knotted rugs offer a tangible connection with the past, and showcase amazing craftsmanship. However, they can be somewhat challenging to own, particularly when it comes to regular cleaning. How can you vacuum your Oriental rug without damaging it?

It Depends on the Type of Rug

One thing to consider is the type of Oriental rug you own. If you have a rug with very low pile, then you will not want to use the vacuum head itself. Instead, use the upholstery attachment. If you have a rug with study pile, then you can adjust the vacuum so that the rotary brush does not come into contact with the rug, and vacuum like you would any other flooring.

The Amount of Soiling

The amount of soiling also plays a role here. If your rug has recently been cleaned by a professional, and does not see heavy traffic on a regular basis, a quick vacuuming will be all that is needed. However, if it’s been some time since your rug was deep cleaned, a more thorough vacuuming may be needed. If you’ve never had your rug professionally cleaned and it is heavily soiled, do not vacuum it – take it to a professional.

The Type of Vacuum

The type of vacuum you use will play a role in this process. For instance, if you have a high powered vacuum cleaner, you may need to invest in a lower quality model for use on your rug specifically. Most Oriental rugs should be vacuumed with little suction, and never with the use of the brush. If you cannot adjust the level of suction or the position of the brush, use upholstery attachments only.

Vacuuming Motion

When vacuuming your Oriental rug, move the vacuum from side to side across the rug, rather than running up and down with the length of the rug. This allows you to vacuum across the grain of the fabric, loosening and sucking up dust that would not otherwise come loose.

Vacuuming the Back

In addition to vacuuming the front of the rug, you’ll need to also vacuum the back, as well. This is particularly important with authentic Oriental rugs that lack backing material, as dirt under the rug will still work its way into the pile.

Caution as the Rule

Oriental rugs can last a lifetime, but they can also be quite fragile. That’s particularly true with antique or heirloom rugs. Always vacuum with as much caution as possible, and make sure that the rotating brush never comes into contact with the fabric. You should also avoid vacuuming the fringe on the edge of the rug, as this can lead to damage.

If you are in doubt about your ability to keep your rug vacuumed, consider using a broom to sweep away loose debris, and having it professionally cleaned.

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