Kitchens, by design, are nearly entirely hard, wipeable surfaces, so I love the warmth and texture vintage rugs bring to these kinds of spaces. I have two Persian rugs that I switch back and forth with in my kitchen throughout the year, and whenever I post photos of my kitchen with the rugs on Instagram, I often get the question, ‘Doesn’t your rug get spilled on?!’ or the comment ‘You’re so brave to put a vintage run in your kitchen!’
To answer that question…Uh-huh! Little spills and food are ground-in weekly; dare I say daily? Earlier this year, I was removing a BIG family size, take-and-bake pizza from of the oven, and accidentally flipped the ENTIRE pizza upside down on the rug pictured above. Ugh, cue near meltdown fueled by starvation. After running back out to order another pizza, tasking Ken with removing it from the oven this time, and devouring it at warp speed, we took the rug downstairs to rinse it off in the laundry area. I’ll spare you the saucy details, but obviously rinsing off the rug didn’t cut it. So how the heck do you clean vintage rugs anyways?
The rug is from Kim Gunter’s rug shop, Woven Abode, so I contacted Kim, and asked her to walk me through how to properly clean it. She’s a pro, guys. The cleaning went so well I went to town with the rest of my wool rugs, both vintage and new. Most recently I washed my white West Elm rug, and snapped a few pictures of the process. Hopefully you haven’t dumped an X-tra large pizza face down on your rug, but if you have, we have your back.
To clean your wool rug, here’s what you’ll need:
- Woolite or Comparable High Quality Wool Detergent
- Drying Rack – I use one similar to this Ikea rack.
These instructions pertain to unbacked natural fiber rugs.
1. First, remove as much dust, dirt and pizza crumbs from the rug with a vacuum as you can. The best way to do this is to first vacuum the rug while it’s upside down. Then vacuum the top. Repeat these steps until no dust/dirt falls out when you vacuum it upside down.
2. Then soak the rug in a luke warm tub of water + 1/2 cup of Woolite. Soaking length will depend on how soiled your rug is.
3. Finally, squeeze as much excess water out of the rug as possible, and let it dry on a rack in the sun. If you don’t have a rack, you can also lay it on the grass where air can get up underneath and dry it out. Just make sure to flip it over after a few hours.
So there you have it. Easier than you might think, right? I love Kim’s process because she uses tools you probably already have lying around the house.
I most definitely have more confidence now rolling out my pretty vintage rugs in messy areas like the kitchen and dining room, and hopefully you do too!
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LESS DIY INCLINED? Kim says you can also take your rug to an actual rug cleaner. “If you Google antique carpet cleaners you should be able to find one in your area. However, sometimes it’s tough to find them because carpet cleaners will pop up. Just make sure they are not people that come out and clean regular carpets because they will destroy it.”
If you’re in the market for a rug, pop over to Woven Abode, and browse Kim’s fantastic curated selection of hand-knotted vintage beauties. She adds new rugs weekly!