With the exception of very old rugs and ones in need of repair, most rugs can safely be cleaned using a vacuum cleaner, and in all cases a sweeper brush can be used with effective results.
Simply vacuum or sweep in the direction of the pile. With strong vacuum cleaners beware of the fringes as some cleaners can pull these off or slowly weaken them.
After several months (3 - 8 months depending on the traffic it endures), it will be beneficial to turn the rug over and clean the underside using a sweeper or vacuum cleaner with beater bars, in order to cause the grit and dirt to fall out from the pile. Then turn the rug back over to the front and clean as normal.
Washing a rug can replace some of the moisture in the wool that is required to keep it looking beautiful. However, certain important guidelines must be followed in order not to damage a piece while trying to clean it. Where possible and feasible it is always recommended to entrust a professional oriental rug cleaner to clean a rug, this is especially so if it is an old piece or a fine piece. The price paid for cleaning the piece can easily be offset against the residual value it will maintain due to proper maintenance, not to mention the retaining of the look of the carpet.
If you do want to go ahead and clean your rug then the following are a good guideline procedure to ensure that the job is done correctly:
1. Do not wash a carpet more than once a year, a professional cleaner will advise if a carpet should not be cleaned or does not need cleaning.
2. Do not leave a carpet damp. This is very important as it can significantly ruin a carpet.
3. Ensure you can finish the job! Do not start to clean a rug if you cannot complete the whole process. Once a piece is washed it needs to be thoroughly rinsed, sometimes more than once, and then left to dry in sunlight.
4. A bath tub or similar utility would be ideal. The rug should be thoroughly washed in the bath using a good wool shampoo and detergent together with a cup of vinegar.
5. Scrub the rug using a soft brush and move the rug in and out of the tub in a rhythmic motion in an attempt to clear the pile of dirt and grit.
6. After the washing process is complete, thoroughly rinse the piece using liberal amounts of water. This may have to be done several times.
7. Leave the rug to dry on a level surface in the sun. Once dried it should be methodically checked for any dampness and dried using a hair dryer.