Care and Cleaning of Wool Rugs, Oriental Carpets, Area Rugs, Partitions and Tapestries for More Profits

Image of Area Rug Being Cleaned  Image of Area Rug in the Shape of a Musical Note

Area Rugs - A Strong Profit Center for Changing and Challenging Times

Plus-Sales” enhance the bottom line of a cleaning firm by greatly increasing your profits. Carpet and fabric protectors, carpet grooming rakes and spotters have always been good profit makers for on-location carpet cleaning services. Partitions, tapestries, drapes and furniture of all types and styles are abundant in both residential and commercial settings and are easily cleaned using standard procedures and equipment.

The terms “carpet” and “rug” are frequently erroneously used interchangeably. The term “rug” generally means a textile floor covering that is not fastened down and that does not extend over the entire floor. “Carpet” usually refers to a floor covering that is installed and fastened down from wall to wall.

The demand for cleaning area rugs and oriental rugs, either on location or in-plant, is growing rapidly. The last few years have shown an increase in the use of area rugs, not only in homes but in offices as well. Large expensive oriental rugs are often found on wall-to-wall carpet in homes and executive suites. Hard surfaced floors nearly always are covered with expensive area rugs. With the rapid growth of wood floors, area rugs are increasingly popular.

Area rug cleaning can be extremely profitable, especially if pick-up and delivery is included in the service. Customers gladly pay extra for the convenience of having their area rugs picked up and delivered. A box truck is best for pick-up and delivery of rugs and furniture, however, a rack on the top of a cleaning van or an inside arrangement along one wall will accommodate most rugs. In below image, a cleaned rug is being loaded into our delivery truck to be returned to the customer.

Image of cleaned area rug being loaded into truck to be returned to customer

Area rugs can be cleaned on location or in the plant. Plant cleaning has some advantages, especially if a rug is problematic and may require additional treatment after drying. Other pieces can be cleaned and treated without a loss of time.

The 12' x 18' rug pictured below is more than 100 years old and has a declared value of $65,000.00. It was shipped to Bane-Clene from Denver for delivery to the exclusive Propylaeum Club in downtown Indianapolis after cleaning.

Cleaning rare valuable rug in Bane Plant

Having area rugs to clean in-plant has an added advantage since they provide a ready source of work for crews returning early. Bane-Clene’s rug plant has ten steel reinforced poles, twenty feet in length. They are equipped with stainless steel pins to prevent slippage of heavy rugs. The entire operation, which includes an electric winch system, takes up only 600 sq. ft. of floor space including the storage racks for finished rugs.

Cleaning a filthy rug by Adrian

The above Before/After image of a rug is from Adrian’s Amazing Carpet Cleaning in Newton Abbot in the UK using Bane-Clene truckmounted and Bane-Clene carpet and upholstery cleaning products.

Before After Rug Cleaning

The above Before/After image of a rug cleaned using Bane-Clene equipment and products by B&N Carpet Care, Inc. in Peoria, IL.

A partially cleaned rug

The above Before/After image of a rug cleaned using Bane-Clene equipment and products by One Way Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning owned by Jason Boone in Geneseo, IL.

Some customers prefer bringing smaller rugs to the plant. An orderly check-in procedure will make a customer feel welcome and a discount for their trouble is always appreciated. Perforated call tags are necessary for an efficient system and a strict policy should be posted about unclaimed rugs.

Iran introduces gigantic handwoven carpet

Gigantic Iranian rug

From TehranTimes:

TEHRAN –President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday unveiled a gigantic handwoven carpet during the opening ceremony of an international carpet fair, running in Tabriz from August 1 to 4, 2019.

Measuring nearly 6,500 square feet, the carpet is said to be worth some $100 million, Tasnim reported.

Tabriz International Carpet Fair featured handwoven carpets from Isfahan, Gilan, Qom, Tehran as well as East and West Azarbaijan provinces. It also showcased tens of works by foreign exhibitors.

Tabriz, which is capital of northwestern East Azarbaijan province, was named the world city of carpet by the World Crafts Council in 2015.

Tabriz carpets usually show a medallion decorative scheme, ranging from a single medallion to the complexity of a star centerpiece with pendants and cartouches, reflected by quarter-medallions similarly elaborated in the corners of the field. The ground pattern often features coiled arabesque vine work.

Over 5,397,000 tons of Iranian carpets, worth $424.451 million, were exported to over 70 countries with the U.S. standing on top of the importers list, during the past fiscal year (ended March 20, 2019). Germany, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and Norway as well as Hungary, Romania, Poland and Ireland are major importers of Iranian carpet.

Persian carpets are sought after internationally for their delicate designs and good quality.

Strictly speaking, the term “Oriental rug” refers to a hand knotted or hand-woven rug made in one of the traditional weaving areas of the Middle or Far East. Oriental rug quality is judged by the type of knot used, pile depth, number of knots per square inch, yarn fineness, color richness, fastness of the dye, and subtleness of the pattern. Oriental design rugs are machine-made reproductions of hand-knotted Orientals and are often incorrectly called Oriental rugs. Most “Orientals” brought to you for cleaning are, in fact, Oriental design rugs, not true Oriental rugs.

Cleaning Dhurrie Rugs

Braided rugs are constructed of wool fabric, heavy wool rug yarn, or other materials, including olefin. Individual lengths of braid or a continuous braid may be stitched or laced together into the desired shape. All braids have a core, which is an inner material that gives the braid shape and consistency. During cleaning, this core, if made of paper or dyed waste material, can easily bleed to the surface! Paper, foam, textile byproduct, or waste materials are often used for the core of low quality rugs.

Below are before and after photos of braided rugs cleaned by Kennays.


Originally from Greece, Flokati rugs have a very fluffy wool pile with very long fibers and look very much like lambs wool. Flokati rugs are easily wet cleaned (after pretesting) if Brown Out® is properly applied after cleaning. The main difficulty in cleaning Flokati is that the rug has no stiffness and tends to be pulled up into the cleaning head, so it usually needs to be held down while cleaning.

Cleaning Flokati Rugs

True Sisal is a natural fiber derived from the agave sisalana cactus plant. Sisal grows in semi-arid regions in Brazil and Mexico. Sisal is not the same fiber as coir or jute. Sisal is stronger and more durable than other natural fibers and is, therefore, preferred for Sisal Rugs.

Other natural fibers used in making "Sisal" rugs are coir (coconut fibers), jute, hemp, seagrass from China, and mountain grass from China.

Sisal rugs are for indoor use only and are often found in enclosed and screened-in porches. They should never be exposed to rainfall or allow to become water saturated.

It is important during cleaning to control the amount of moisture. It is NOT recommended that Sisal be cleaned with a wet cleaning method. If the Sisal rug is severely soiled, try cleaning with Natural Fiber Cleaner.

More detailed information on sisal and jute rugs is at

Cleaning Sisal Rugs

Ingrain rugs are made of yarn dyed before weaving, and woven so that the pattern is shown on both sides.

Cleaning Ingrain Rugs

Kilims (Kelims) are flat woven rugs with no pile. Since they take less time to weave than knotted rugs, they are generally much less expensive. Kilim rugs are characterized by long, narrow slits in the fabric that are arranged in a stair-step pattern to avoid weakening the rug. Kilims usually are reversible. They are made in bold colors and a variety of designs typical of the regions where they were woven. Kilims may be constructed of wool, camel hair, goat hair and/or horsehair. Because the dyes in Kilims typically run easily, you should only wet clean a Kilim after testing EVERY color for fastness. If the dyes run, you need to dry clean the rug. Additionally, you usually have to block the rug out to prevent uneven shrinkage and subsequent curling of the corners as the rug is drying.

Cleaning Kilim Rugs

Authentic Navajo (Navaho) rugs still can be purchased, but numerous imitations are on the market. A true Navajo rug is made of wool in a tapestry weave. Some twill weaves and basket weaves also are common. As with Orientals, Navajo rug patterns are named for the locality or family from which they originated. Authentic Navajo rugs are extremely sensitive even to water. If just water gets on a rug, blot immediately because the dyes will run. Wet clean cautiously—bleeding and shrinkage are a very common problem with Navajo rugs. Authentic Navajo rugs should be dry cleaned with solvent only. Imitation Navajo rugs are normally easily wet cleaned—just be sure to pretest.

Cleaning American Indian Navajo Rugs

Ragg (or rag) rugs are sturdy, colorful rugs hand woven from cotton scraps or wool. Rag rugs are traditionally woven on large looms from strips of cloth. They can be a solid color or a mix of many colors. Rag rugs consist of irregular stripes in bright cheerful colors.

Cleaning Rag Rugs

Cleaning area rugs in the customer’s house or in your plant is not much different from cleaning carpet, except that the flooring material under the area rug must be protected and pre-inspection and pretesting are critical.

Urine pet stain on back of rug

We strongly suggest that you use the Bane-Clene “Declaration of Value” form and determine the price for cleaning as an amount per square foot or 10% of the declared value, whichever is greater. Be sure the customer signs your “Declaration of Value” form.

First, before starting to clean any rug, inspect the rug very carefully and note any damage anywhere on the rug and have the customer sign off on such damage.

Severely damaged rug  Have customer acknowledge any damage

Be sure to inspect the back as well as the face - spots and stains often are more obvious on the back!

Rug backing  Rug face

Watch out for ink stenciling in hooked rugs - which can usually be observed on the back or by bending the rug to “grin” open the rows of loops so that you can see the foundation into which the loops are hooked. If you see ink on the white foundation, you have a strong potential for the ink to bleed. This is especially common with some motifs and medallions as well as along the border.

Watch out for dye bleed from pet urine

Dye bleed on rug from pet urine

Check for any dye stains on the rug before proceeding.

Red Kool-Aid stain on rug

Check the fringe for damage. Also, check if the fringe is dyed - don’t use peroxide on dyed fringe!

Damaged rug fringe

Watch out for marker ink on back of fringe - it will bleed through after cleaning!

Marker ink on rug fringe  Marker ink on rug fringe bled through

Pre-vacuum all area rugs - both sides. After vacuuming, if cleaning over a carpet or wood, place a furniture blanket under each end of the rug being cleaned, including the fringe. Place brown paper under and along each long side of the area rug.

Never clean a rug on top of other carpet - transfer of color to the carpet can occur.

As with upholstery, ALWAYS pretest for dye stability. Apply the prespray and detergent to a white towel, rub a dark area that might bleed, wait at least 15 minutes and repeat. If the dye bleeds, try a lower pH detergent, such as LCA 256®. If cotton, test with Natural Fiber Cleaner. If it still bleeds, you may need to “shampoo” the rug with Chemspec® Oriental Area Rug Shampoo. If it still bleeds, the rug can only be dry-cleaned. For mild bleeding, simply apply Brown Out to the rug prior to cleaning.

If it is a cotton rug or a rug that readily browns, clean with Natural Fiber Cleaner at 1 ounce per gallon in a well-ventilated area. Natural Fiber Cleaner contains sodium bisulfite, a reducing bleach, and detergents.

NOTE: If the rug is silk, don’t wet clean it! Silk should only be dry cleaned because of the risks of yellowing, dye loss, ringing, and physical damage (silk loses about 20% of its strength when wet). Some silk is “washable silk”, which has been modified to be washable.

If the rug is rayon, wet clean VERY cautiously! Rayon loses 50-70% of its strength when wet and rayon rugs frequently bleed severely. Pre-test for dye stability. Because of its poor durability, high absorbency, poor dimensional stability, tendency to fade and its tendency to strongly shrink, rayon is a very poor choice for rug fiber. Rayon is easily damaged by spotters containing alcohol, such as APS™ All Purpose Spotter. Also, remember that “art silk” is actually rayon!

Use caution when using proteolytic enzyme spotters or deodorizers on wool - they are designed to attack proteins and wool is a protein.

Dry time is critical. Therefore, an absolute minimum of moisture should be used and a blower should be used after cleaning. It is very important that the rug be dried in 48 hours or less to prevent mold and mildew formation.

Pre-dampen the fringes with your cleaning solution and then apply diluted Preface® (if the dye stability test was okay). Use a Handi-Groom® to ensure thorough coverage of all fringe fibers, and also use the brush to comb the fringe neatly away from the rug face. Fringe is usually white cotton and grays severely.

Pretreat or remove any existing spots on the rug that may pose a problem while cleaning. If possible, clean the rug with the stair tool or upholstery tool. Using the smaller cleaning head allows you to clean the rug without a pad, and also expedites the drying process once the rug has been cleaned.

Cleaning a rug

After cleaning the carpet fibers, clean the fringes - pulling the fringe away from the rug to clean it with the furniture pad underneath. There are two problems that may occur with the fringes: browning and dye bleeding onto the fringes.

Rug fringes cleaned

Above photo of a very dirty carpet courtesy of The Clean Team, a Bane-Clene customer in the Boston area.

After the cleaning has been completed, remove the furniture pads and replace with waxed paper. This will aid in the drying of the fringe. Brush out the fringe edges.

We recommend hanging the rugs on a rug rack for faster drying as shown below.

Hanging cleaned rugs on a drying rack

Apply Brown Out at 8 ounces per gallon to the rug - very lightly just to the surface.

If the fringes are still very gray, apply 40 volume clear hydrogen peroxide to the fringes only on fringes of oriental rugs or stubborn browning on undyed carpet. Comb the peroxide into the fringes with a Handi-Groom and allow to dry.

Peroxide to brighten rug fringes  Combing peroxide on fringes

NOTE: On some tribal rugs, the dark appearance of the fringe is the natural color of the goat hair that is sometimes blended with the wool and is not discoloration or browning. In that case, do not use a bleaching agent. Also, silk rugs may have silk foundation yarns and silk fringes also should never be bleached. If you hang up the rugs to dry, you are more likely to have browned fringes because all the water and residue will migrate to the ends.

Additionally, bleaching agents should never be used on tea washed rugs. Tea washed, herbal treated or antiqued rugs have been soaked in a tea solution to “age” them. Unfortunately, this treatment can sometimes come off with just water. Check dye stability with a white towel dampened with your cleaning solution. DO NOT treat the fringes of such rugs with a bleaching agent!

Herbal treated, tea washed rug

If the rug is wool and some moth damage has occurred, apply Steri-Fab®.

Apply Sta-Clene® protector as the final step. Use a Grandi Groom® or Grandi-Brush® to set the rug nap.

If working in the customer’s home, remove any traffic lane paper that is saturated from the cleaning head overspray. Wet paper left under the rug could cause damage to a wood floor. Allow to dry without moving the rug - preferably using air movers. Dry time is critical to avoid bleeding and browning.

If, in spite of your best efforts, the rug severely browns, do a Brown Out flush on the rug and allow it to dry upside down. This moves the browning to the back of the rug.

What can go wrong in cleaning rugs? Browning, shrinkage, edge puckering, and dye bleeding are the most common problems. Additionally, some hand-made rugs will simply fall apart when wet! Use EXTREME caution cleaning cloth backed rugs, as found on some Indian and Chinese tufted rugs – shrinkage and edge puckering are major problems!

For stain removal on rugs, click Wool and silk rug stain removal procedures.

Related Rug Articles and Information:

Related Rug Care Products:

Free Bane-Clene Information PackageBane-Clene Paper Catalog

Free packet of information about Bane-Clene can be obtained by calling toll-free 1-800-428-9512 (U.S. ONLY!). Your information packet will include a full color catalog and price addendum. Packets will arrive in approximately 2 weeks through standard United States Mail.

You can also order the packet at the Catalog Request Form.

Print this page

Published by: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Copyright: Bane-Clene Corp.

Date Modified: April 3, 2021

Date Originally Published: February 16, 2016