You may be surprised to learn that wool rug cleaning doesn’t involve a visit to the dry-cleaners, as this kind of rugs can be washed at home. Provided you have enough space, of course! A large wool rug may be better handled by professionals, but for small and medium-sized ones all you need is stain remover, wool detergent, a sponge and a few dry towels.

Wool rug cleaning should be performed at least every two years, depending on how much dirt it accumulates and the usage. A woolly mat that is just decorating under your small dining table won’t need nearly as much cleaning as the one the children play on. Do not steam-clean this kind of floor coverings, as the heat will make them shrink, and try to clean spillages and stains as quick as possible with a suitable product. This will keep your wool floor covering clean for longer.

Start with vacuum cleaning the rug on both sides, exhaustively. This is very important, as it will remove the dirt that is not stuck to the rug, making it much easier to clean it. Next, use a stain remover suitable for wool carpets on the worst stains, after testing for colour-fastness in an inconspicuous area of the rug.

The next step is better done outside, as you will need space. However, small wool mats can also be cleaned on top of your worktops, provided you don’t have laminate or wood worktops which would be damaged by water. Wet the rug thoroughly with water while keeping it flat on the surface.

Mix the wool detergent with water on a bucket, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions. For effective wool rug cleaning less is more: Too much soap and you won’t be able to rinse it off, so don’t get carried away thinking that more soap is better. If it is really really dirty, washing it several times is better than just using a lot of detergent once, as it could make the problem worse.

Use the sponge to apply the soapy water to the rug, paying special attention to areas that are particularly dirty and making sure to clean the entire rug pile. Once you are done, it’s time to rinse the rug. Wool absorbs a lot of water, so if you are cleaning a medium size wool rug you may need help at this stage to move it around as it will be heavy.

To dry a wool rug, the best way is to roll it between dry towels, to remove as much water as possible. If you are cleaning a deep-pile wool carpet you may need to use a lot of towels, but the idea is to avoid twisting or pulling the wool as it may lose its shape. Don’t be tempted to speed up the process using heat: the best way to dry a wool rug is to let it lay flat on the shade and wait for it to dry naturally. Wool rug cleaning shouldn’t cause any shrinkage if done properly.