How To Clean a Persian Rug

Updated: Oct. 11, 2023

Persian rugs require special care and upkeep. Here's how experts recommend keeping them in tip-top shape.

Persian rugs are a beautiful addition to any home, widely regarded for their quality, durability and workmanship. They’re made of wool and include intricate, handmade patterns that define their overall look.

An authentic Persian area rug can take from two to five months to complete and last for generations if cared for properly. Knowing how to clean a Persian rug is essential to guarantee its longevity.

For the most part Persian rugs aren’t difficult to clean, but they do need special care. Kate Diaz, an interior designer and founder of Swankyden, says cleaning wool rugs requires a different cleaning method than other rug materials. Otherwise, you could damage the rug or make the colors fade.

How Often Should I Clean a Persian Rug?

Diaz suggests deep cleaning Persian rugs at least once a year, and more frequently if you have young children or animals. “I usually do it every six months, but some people wait a full year,” she says.

In between deep cleanings, Bruce Vance, a certified house cleaning technician with Town and Country Cleaning Services, recommends vacuuming Persian rugs carefully.

“If the rug is in good condition, it’s more effective to turn the rug upside down and vacuum the back with a beater brush,” he says. “This will loosen soil from the fibers.” However, don’t do this with fragile rugs.

And never vacuum over the rugs fringes, says Ali Hafezi of Babash Rug Services, a professional rug cleaning company in Los Angeles. That can damage them. Instead, grab the vacuum hose and gently target the delicate fringe as part of your regular Persian rug-cleaning routine.

You can also shake out rugs to remove debris, Diaz says. For rugs larger than 10- x 13-feet, ask another person to help. A Persian rug may also be hung over a railing or fence without its rug cushion, and dirt can be removed using a rug beating tool.

Hafezi has one more suggestion. “We recommend turning the rug once every six months, to assure even wear of traffic and sun fading,” he says.

Should I Hand Clean or Dry Clean a Persian Rug?

Dry cleaning is the preferred method for smaller Persian rugs, Vance says. “If you send a Persian rug to a dry cleaner, make sure you vacuum well before sending,” he says. That’s because Persian rugs hold a lot of dirt, making them more difficult to dry clean. You can also take it to a professional rug cleaning company, which may be better for larger rugs.

The cost of dry cleaning will vary depending on the size and age of the rug. Diaz estimates $10 to $15 per square foot. “Just be sure to tell your dry cleaner that your rug is Persian, so they can use the right cleaning method and products,” she says.

How To Spot Clean a Persian Rug

If you need to spot clean a Persian rug from muddy paws or after a small spill on a kitchen rug, our experts prefer the DIY route. “We strongly recommend against using over-the-counter stain removal products,” Hafezi says.

Diaz’s recommended DIY solution starts with placing a dry white towel on top of the dirty spot, then pressing down firmly with your foot to soak up the spill or mess.

Next, fill a bowl with water and a few drops of mild dish soap, then mix together. Dip a clean white cloth into the soapy water, wring it out so it’s not sopping wet, then dab the stained area with circular motions. “Make sure to focus on removing any dirt or grime from the carpet, and not just the liquid spill,” Diaz says.

Be careful of over-agitation, Vance adds. And spot-check for color fastness or changes in color characteristics before tackling the whole stain.

Rinse the cloth in clean water, then dab the area again to remove soap residue. Finally, dry the area with a fresh towel, absorbing as much of the moisture as possible. Leave the rug to air dry completely before walking on it. If it’s a nice day, you can let it air dry in the sun.

How Not To Clean a Persian Rug

Use common sense and avoid extremely hot water or chemicals. Vance adds that trying to clean Persian rugs with liquid cleaners, aside from simple spot cleaning, can also cause unsightly damage. “The carpet may look better at first, but is likely to get dirty faster,” he says.


Q: Can I clean my Persian rug with a carpet cleaning machine?
A: No, those machines tend to leave some of the chemicals and water they use behind. This can lead to the growth of bacteria, mold, and odors in your rug.

Q: Can I clean my Persian rug with a pressure washer?
A: No. When a rug is cleaned with a pressure washer, the rug fibers can be easily damaged and torn, and large amounts of water can be introduced, which if not completely dried will promote mold and mildew. Next, learn how to clean an area rug.

Q: How much does it cost to have my Persian rug professionally cleaned?
A: It is important to note that there are a number of factors that determine the cost of cleaning a Persian rug, such as the materials used in the rug, its size, age, and how dirty it is. Based on these factors, you can expect to pay somewhere between $10 and $15 per square foot.