How to Clean a Kilim Rug

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A kilim rug is a spectacular work of art. These rugs make a particularly striking floor covering. They are durable and dust-resistant, although once in a while they need to be cleaned. Here is an article that explains in length how to clean a Kilim rug.

How to Clean a Kilim Rug

Kilims are traditional rugs that originate from Persia. Kilims have intricate printed designs depicting nature and mythological stories. That said, cleaning kilim rugs require attention and care when it comes to maintenance.

Brown and white espradilles shoes on kilim rug

Materials Required

  • Vacuum
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Wiper
  • Stiff brush
  • Towels

Step 1: Remove the Debris

The very first step you should take while cleaning a rug is cleaning the debris.

  1. Lay the rug flat and use a broom to clean the debris from the rug. Use a traditional broom with a long stick, so you have a good grip.
  2. The broom should have long bristles like any traditional broom. This helps in cleaning the debris stuck between the design.
  3. Keep the rug flat. It’s better if you do this on a flat surface outside. This way, the house won’t get dusty with any debris.

Step 2: Use a Vacuum

If you don’t have a broom at home, then you can use a vacuum. This helps in the thorough cleaning of the debris before washing.

  1. At first, examine the rug’s design and then use a good vacuum with the correct setting.
  2. The vacuum cleans out the heavy dust from the rug.
  3. Vacuum both sides to clean the heavy dirt build-up on the rug.
  4. Use the vacuum cleaner at low pressure.

A vacuum cleaner makes it easy and quick to clean the heavy dirt build-up. You can use a brush extension on the vacuum to brush off the dust from the rug. Never use a vacuum over the fringes of the rug.

Step 3: Use a Vinegar Cleaning Solution

If the color of the rug is fading, then hand cleaning rugs with a wet brush and a vinegar cleaning solution is the right step to take.

  1. Use equal parts water and vinegar.
  2. Use a spray bottle to spray this gentle cleaning solution all over the rug.
  3. Take a hand brush and clean it thoroughly. Start scrubbing from the middle and get to the border.
  4. This vinegar cleaning solution has anti-microbial properties, which help in cleaning any bacterial growth in the rug. Next, do vertical strokes to clean the gunk from the kilim rug.

Step 4: Use Carpet Shampoo and Water

This is the crucial step for deep cleaning kilim rugs at home.

  1. Combine 1/2 cup of carpet shampoo with 1/2 cup of water in a cleaning solution. Mix the carpet shampoo and water well, and then use the carpet shampoo solution on the rug.
  2. Use a wood handle brush to scrub the flat surface well.
  3. Dip the brush into the liquid and brush it gently. Avoid brushing it vigorously as the fibers are fragile, and you may damage them while scrubbing.
  4. When you reach the fringes of the rug, brush it gently vertically. You don’t have to scrub it a second time horizontally yet.
  5. Repeat the procedure of dipping the wet brush and scrubbing it until you clean every nook of the rug and remove any cleaning solution residue.

Brushing it gently is the right procedure for deep cleaning. It is advisable to keep the rug outdoors while cleaning; otherwise, your house can become messy.

Step 5: Brush It Horizontally

The vertical brushing cleans the rug from one side. When you scrub it from another side in exactly the same manner, you clean the remaining debris from the rug.

  1. Brush it gently from the horizontal side.
  2. Start from the corners and do it diagonally from corner to corner. Keep brushing in exactly the same manner until you finish the whole rug.

Step 6: Use Cold Water

Food spills are common stain marks on any rug. Coldwater brushing is an effective way of removing these stains.

  1. Pour a cup of cold water over the stain and start brushing it well.
  2. While brushing, pay attention to see if the stain is coming out. If not, then apply some detergent over it.
  3. Keep brushing it well to remove the stains entirely.
  4. Blow-dry the spot where there is a stain mark, and apply the lowest heat to avoid ring marks.
  5. This will help you to understand if the stain requires any more cleaning. If the stains are too rigid, then opt for professional cleaners.

Step 7: Repeat the Steps

Repeat steps 3 and 4 on the other side of the rug. Here is a video guide you can follow for cleaning these rugs.

Step 8: Rinse the Rug

When you have brushed it well and deep cleaned the dirt and gunk from the rug, move to the next step; rinsing the rug.

  1. Clean it thoroughly with water. Brush off the soap and gunk with running water.
  2. Wash the rug more than once, and use a sander with a scrub brush setting to clean out the gentle cleaning solution from the rug.
  3. Use a wiper to rinse the rug after every wash.
  4. While cleaning, if you notice any debris or stain, use a scrub brush and clean it off.

Deep cleaning is a significant part of keeping a Kilim rug clean. The rug can catch dirt and dust, and cleaning it thoroughly is the procedure to maintain the quality of the rug.

Top view of a kilim rug

Step 9: Leave the Rug to Dry

After rinsing off the dirt and gunk from the rug, the next procedure is to leave it to get dry.

  1. If possible, keep it flat on an inclined surface; you can also put it in the sun. If you don’t have outdoor space, then keep it flat under a high-speed fan.
  2. Keep in mind that once you have the kilim rug clean, it can take up to 2 days to dry.
  3. It is not advisable to walk on the rug or keep any items until it is completely dry.
  4. Keep flipping the rug every six hours to ensure it dries from both sides.
  5. If you notice any cleaning solution residue from the detergent, then use a dry bristle brush and clean it away when the rug is completely dry.
  6. It is advisable to put the rug outside to dry. Lay it on grass, or sloppy gravel drains the water efficiently.

Wait till it is completely dry, bring it home, and lay it down near the sofa to accentuate the room’s interior.

Step 10: Cleaning Pet Urine

If you have pets at home, you must be aware it is difficult to avoid urine stains on rugs. Pet urine is difficult to clean; however, here is a gentle cleaning solution for you.

  1. If the urine is damp, sprinkle a handful of baking soda.
  2. Set a clean cloth and press it. Use a white rag or towel to avoid discoloration of the rug. Once you keep the towel, give heavy pressure over it.
  3. You can stand on the towel; this way, even pressure is applied on the surface for 2-3 minutes.
  4. After a couple of minutes, remove the baking soda, and use a spatula. If the part is still damp, then repeat the procedure of soaking it with the towel.
  5. Remove the baking soda powder and put a cup/container beneath the affected spot.
  6. Use a bristle brush to scrub off the remaining residue from the entire rug.
  7. Rinse the strained area, the water and debris will be collected inside the cup.
  8. Remove the cup and let it dry under a fan.


According to a famous Japanese cleaning consultant, ‘the objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.’ The same technique follows while cleaning and maintaining a kilim rug.

  1. To keep the entire rug dust-free, vacuum clean it at low pressure. This will prevent dirt build-up.
  2. To remove specific stains like wine or pet urine, you can consult professionals for a cleaning solution.
  3. Wash the Kilims with soap and detergent, and avoid abrasive cleaner. An abrasive cleaner can damage the integrity of woven fabrics of the rug.

Tips for Accidental Mishaps

Accidently, got candle wax over the rug? Fret not! Clean it at home. Keep a blotting paper over the wax and iron the blotting paper. Keep applying heat until the wax is completely absorbed in the rug.

Did someone spill ketchup? Clean it with a gentle cleaning solution made with soap and water. Next, use a hairdryer to clean and dry the rug.

Accidentally spilled greasy curry over the rug? Use professional cleaners to remove the stain.

Person in blue denim jeans on top of the kilim rug

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Put Kilim Rug in Washing Machine?

Never put the rug in the washing machine. A washing machine can damage the fringes and fabric of the rug. Moreover, after hand cleaning rugs, you should not put them in the dryer. Instead, dry them on a sloping surface so the water drains out quickly.

Can I Use a Pressure Washer to Clean Rugs?

Yes, with a low-pressure nozzle, you can clean rugs with a pressure washer. The pressure washer is a spectacular way of cleaning these rugs. It cleans the rug and gives a sparkling shine to the rug.

Can I Steam Clean Kilim Rug?

Never steam a Kilim rug. It damages the intricate woolen design and introduces harsh chemicals which break down the wool.


Maintaining a Kilim rug takes more effort than a synthetic rug, but it’s worth it. If proper care is taken and washed frequently, then it stands the test of time and can become a particularly striking floor covering and amplify the look of your home generation after generation.