Can I steam clean a wool rug?


A steam cleaner uses high-pressure steam formed from hot water to blast out stains and dirt.

This is a deep rug cleaning method used in scenarios where you want to get out stubborn old stains or dirt hidden very deep in rug fibers.

Yes, steaming is the best cleaning method, that will leave your rugs looking new. This method maintains the beauty of your rugs, but it can also reduce their durability if done too many times.

However, when it comes to wool rugs, water is a big enemy because such rugs dry too slowly, and they easily get damaged by excess moisture. In addition, high moisture in wool rugs tends to become a breeding ground for bad odors and rug moths/pests.

Also, wool rugs are made from 100% natural fiber, a feature that makes them so delicate. For this reason, any aggressive cleaning method will accelerate the wear and tear process of such rugs.

THEREFORE: When steaming a wool rug, you must avoid the use of too much moisture, and use light steaming over aggressive steaming methods as explained below in the 6 steps below.


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Step One: Choose the Right Steamer

Just like rug vacuum cleaners come in different shapes, sizes, budgets, and functionality, so do rug steam cleaners.

For example, people who cannot afford a commercial steam cleaner often buy a steam mop that can clean their rugs and floors.

A steam mop does not generate too much heat, a feature that makes it ideal for delicate rugs. However, its downside is that it does not come with many attachments and adjustment settings, which can limit you from using it on multiple surfaces or items.

Whichever option you choose, the best will be the one that comes with additional attachments and adjustable settings that allow you to regulate the heat, moisture, pressure, and aggression as you switch from one type of rug to the next.



Step Two: Read the Manufacturer Instructions

Wool rugs made from 100% quality and durable wool fiber by professionals will come with the manufacturer’s instructions that explain how to properly clean the rug.

If the manufacturer discourages you from steaming the wool rug, do not do it.

Also, if there are products that they recommend you use or avoid during the process, please adhere to that.


Step Three: Clean Out Excess Dirt First

Shake off excess dirt, pollen, debris, and dust outside.

Hang the rug on a laundry line, then gently beat out more dust and dirt with a stick, or your hands.

Give your wool rug a proper vacuuming as explained in that post.

Remember, if you cannot afford a commercial wool vacuum, you can use a brush vacuum only for short piles and flatweave wool rugs. You must avoid that option on shag rugs with high piles.


Step Four: Condition The Rug

It is advisable you use a powder-based rug conditioner over one that is spray or solution-based.

Remember you want to avoid the use of moisture on wool rugs at all costs. This is the reason you shall condition the rug instead of shampooing it using the steps below.

  • Lay the rug flat in an open area like your deck.
  • Generously sprinkle the conditioner on the rug surface
  • Rub on it gently using your hands or a soft brush for the powder to get deeper into the fibers.
  • Vacuum out the excess power, or shake it off if you did not use too much.


Step Five: Spot Clean & Treat Stains

This is the step where you apply a commercial stain remover or a homemade one on the visible stains to loosen them so that steaming can get them out completely.

You can use a homemade baking soda stain remover or a vinegar one made from the following;

  • One part of white vinegar
  • Ten parts of warm water
  • A spoon of dishwashing soap

After you buy or make your stain remover, administer it on the rug in the following way;

Step One: spray or dab a portion of the stain remover on fabric without over-soaking it.

Step Two: rub the dab portion of the fabric on the stain, then move in slow circular motions.

Step Two: Using a paper towel or microfiber cloth, bloat out or absorb all the excess moisture.

Step Four: Repeat the process on all the stains.

Read More On:

  • How To Clean A Wool Rug With Baking Soda
  • How To Clean Wool Rug Stain


Step Six: Steam Clean the Wool Rug



If you are doing the wool rug steaming yourself, it is advisable to take around 12 to 18 months before the next steam clean.

If a professional is doing it, every 6 months can work.



Declutter: remove any distractions like furniture, which might slow you down or trigger an accident.

Protect: If you are doing the rug steaming indoors, cover up the furniture with protective coverings and cleaning pads to eliminate the collection of moisture on them during vacuuming.

Concentration: After you turn on the steamer, avoid keeping it on too long without use because that will make it generate too much heat that can end up damaging your wool rug. That means to keep away from your mobile phone or turn off the Television.



Make sure you have read the user manual, you are using the right attachment, and you have the right button switched.



If your rug has never been steam cleaned before, or if you have never used a steam cleaner before, begin by testing the process on a small section preferably one on the end, which goes under the furniture.



Balance is the key here because you cannot put the steam too far away from the wool rug or too close to it.

Too far will not remove deep stains and dirt, while too near will damage the fibers. An ideal distance would be keeping the steamer at least 6 inches away from the rug.



Concentrating too much on one spot will either lead to the unraveling of the fibers or their loosening. For this reason, you must avoid spending more than 5 seconds on a single spot.

Also, it will saturate your wool rug with too much moisture, which is not good for wool rugs that are always susceptible to water.



Keep a consistent cleaning pattern in terms of speed (slow) and direction (full back and forth motions).



Mark the areas you have already cleaned to avoid over-saturating the wool rug with water due to over-repeating the steaming of some portions.



Clean the steamer by making sure that you empty its reservoir, dust it off and then store it properly for future use.


Step Six: Drying

At the end of the day, steaming is a process that uses moisture. Excess moisture in your home can result in mold, mildew, bad smells and moths.

Make sure you do the following to keep your home and rugs dry and fresh.

The rug: Completely dry the rug by leaving it outside overnight or not using it for at least 3 days. You can also buy a steamer with an attachment that provides the function of drying the rug.

The surrounding: Dry out any moisture that might have collected in baseboards or furniture during steaming.

Dehumidify: Turn on the dehumidifier to balance the moisture content in your home.

Ventilate: Open windows and doors, turn on the fan or use a ventilator to balance air content.


Can I Steam Clean a Wool Rug?


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