Oriental Rug Cleaning

Most oriental rug cleaning is best done in a plant or facility equipped to wash rugs in cold water and dry them quickly.

The five primary steps in rug cleaning are rug identification, dusting, washing, drying and finishing.

Rug Identification

Antique Bijar

We regularly clean a wide variety of “oriental” rugs including Moroccan rugs, Turkish Herekes, Tibetans, Pakistani Bukharas and Kazaks, Persian Bijars, Khermans, Kashans and Sarouks, Afghan Turkomans, and Indo-Persian rugs.

Some of these rugs have unstable dyes and bleed in the washing process. Some cannot be agitated without ruining the pile. Some need to be blocked after cleaning. Some cannot be subjected to specific stain removal treatments. The rug cleaner needs to know the rug before commencing the cleaning process.

Rug Dusting

Hand knotted rugs trap dry particulate matter (sand) in the foundation. In fact, sand in the rug foundation is the primary reason hand knotted rugs wear out. When you walk on the rug, the sand trapped in the foundation scratches the fibers and turns them into dust.

We see rugs that have never been cleaned and are completely worn out after 25 years. And we see just the opposite. A few years ago we cleaned a well-maintained rug that was 100 years old and still had its original thick, plush pile.

So cleaning hand knotted rugs requires removing the sand, a process known as “dusting”. The rug cleaner needs the equipment and facility to do this.

Rug Washing

Oriental rugs are woven using wool, silk and cotton yarns. The fibers are absorbent. Soil and contaminants make their way inside the fiber. Like your clothes or linens they need to be washed to be thoroughly cleaned. This 5 minute “carpet and rug cleaning video” reviews the difference between carpet cleaning and rug cleaning and gives an overview of the steps involved in rug washing.

But every rug is unique. The dyes in a Moroccan rug will probably “bleed”. The rug cleaner has to know how to address that problem during washing and drying. An antique or collectible rug will be tender and need extra TLC. A Turkoman may need to be blocked after washing to remove buckles.

So in order to clean handmade rugs properly, without damaging them, the rug cleaner has to have a working knowledge of cleaning chemistry, fiber and yarn characteristics, dyes and rug construction.


Drying RugsWool, the primary fiber in most fine rugs, can hold many times its weight in water. So the rug cleaner must have a system to remove the water and quickly dry the rug. Quick drying prevents mold and mildew growth and decreases the opportunity for unstable dyes to “bleed”.


At RealClean Rugs finishing can include detailing fringes, spotting, blocking, removing cat pulls and applying moth repellant.

For a specific answer to your unique question, or to schedule a pick-up call us at 603-678-8142. You’ll be talking with Katharine or Keith. We’ll do our best give you a clear and precise answer.

rug cleaners

Cara and John Eliason

Woolsafe Certification

Our Hours

At the plant

Mon, Wed, Fri:  8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Tue, Thu:        12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call before coming. Sometimes deliveries run into the afternoon.

RealClean Rugs


On Tuesday and Thursday mornings we pick up and return rugs in the Upper Valley.

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