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Prescott AZ Guidelines on How Can I Safely Vacuum My Thick Wool Rug

At Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care here in Prescott, it is our goal to not only assist you in deep cleaning your rugs as needed but to also help YOU to properly care for your rugs while you are enjoying them on your floor or as wall hangings. First of all, please understand that there are many kinds of rugs and therefore different considerations to properly vacuum each of these types of rugs. The correct way to vacuum will depend on the type of rug.  Today I am going to focus my attention on the proper way to vacuum a sturdy, heavy pile woven rug (either hand knotted or machine woven). Look for other articles explaining the correct procedure to vacuuming other types of rugs such as thinner or no pile rugs, wool woven rugs, tufted rugs and shag rugs.

If you don’t already know, it is extremely important to vacuum rugs on a regular basis for the reason that vacuuming helps remove dry soil and dry soil is the #1 reason rugs “ugly out” prematurely. Why? Because dry soil is nothing less than sandpaper on the rugs fibers. It’s hard, it’s gritty, it gets walked on and therefore the friction from walking dry soil into rugs creates this sandpaper like effect. This action tears at fibers wearing them down, breaking them off until a noticeable loss of appearance occurs which is permanent damage. Your best defense is to remove dry soil on a regular basis. How often is dependent on how much traffic is on the rug. As a general rule once a week is standard. However if you have a very active family, kids, pets, etc. than more frequent vacuuming will be necessary.

The good news is that sturdy, thicker pile rugs can take more of a vacuuming than many other rugs which are more delicate where an upright vacuum isn’t even an option. But today I’m specifically speaking about well-made, thick pile, short clipped (not shags) woven rugs.

First step is to turn the beater brush off, this is too aggressive and over time this will wear down the rug fibers. Most upright vacuums are designed for synthetic fiber wall to wall carpets NOT WOOL RUGS. You do not want to leave any vacuum lines on your fine area rugs for fear of damaging the wool fibers. So always play it safe and if you are using an upright remember to turn the beater bar off.  If you do not have a vacuum that allows you the option of turning off the beater bar, than I advise not taking the chance of damaging the wool and don’t use that vacuum. Some heavier rugs will be ok for a while, but at some point damage to the wool may occur – why take the chance? If a beater bar is all you have, then set the beater bar up to its highest setting so there is no abrasion to the fibers and use extreme care. Again, I do not recommend ever using a beater bar vacuum on wool rugs but if you must then take extra precautions.  If your rug has ripples, you should certainly avoid an upright vacuum and opt for the upholstery tool attachment allowing you more control. 

Your goal is to vacuum often enough to be able to remove the dry “top soil” before this soil embeds deep into the rug. By vacuuming frequently the soil should be fairly loose, sitting on top and easily removed. A quality canister vacuum offers good suction without the beater bar and is a great choice for vacuuming wool rugs. However if you do not have a canister vacuum you can successfully maintain a rug and stay ahead of deeply embedded soil by using an electric sweeper although you may need to vacuum more frequently. Vacuum across the width of the rug, from side to side.  Steer clear of the fringes and side cords to avoid damage.   

Additionally about every 3 or 4 months you may want to turn your rug over and use your upright vacuum cleaner, with the beater bar running, to vacuum the BACK SIDE OF THE RUG. This will help to knock out of the rug the dry soil that made its way down to the bottom of the rug.

While vacuuming wool area rugs is a great help, it is not a replacement for a professional cleaning. Rugs should be professionally cleaned every 1 to 3 years depending on the amount of use.  A VERY IMPORTANT TIP IS TO REMEMBER – a rug that looks highly soiled likely has permanent damage. To avoid this permanent damage, never wait until your rug has accumulated so much soil that a traffic pattern has appeared. Along with this soil you can expect wear and tear to have occurred due to the sandpaper like aspect of the soil.  So with all this information, have you asked yourself if it time to clean your rug? Arizona Oriental here in Prescott AZ offers free estimates and we are eager to help and advise you! 

Till next time, enjoy your beautiful art for your floor and remember a clean rug is a rug that can last you a lifetime!      

Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care serves Prescott, Prescott Valley, Sedona and much of the Northern Arizona areas. We meet the highest standards in professional cleaning of area rugs with rug wash specialists having earned the highest training which includes certification as WOOLSAFE FIBRE CARE SPECIALISTS through the WOOLSAFE ORGANISATION. Such extraordinary certification ensures the area rugs of our client’s receive the utmost in care.

If you are in the Prescott AZ area and still have questions on the correct way to vacuum a thick wool area rug, call Arizona Oriental for additional information at 928-445-1718, visit our website at, or stop by Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at our rug washing facility at 565 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (pick-up and delivery also available). 


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Prescott AZ Guidelines on How Can I Safely Vacuum My Thick Wool Rug