Silk Rug Cleaning Tips

A chair in a room

Silk is a natural protein fiber that is produced when silkworm larvae form cocoons. Composed primarily of fibroin, silk is one of the strongest natural fibers, but it loses up to 20 percent of its strength when it gets wet. Known for its ability to refract light, silk can be used to create shimmering rugs. Abrasive cleanings agents, hot water and steam cleaning can damage silk fibers, so professional cleaning is recommended for all silk rugs. Use these tips to clean silk rugs.

Remove Dust and Debris from Silk Rugs

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  • Vacuum silk rugs regularly. Use a brushless suction head to vacuum silk rugs. Beater or roller brushes may pull out fibers, reduce the pile and damage the rug.
  • Sweep silk rugs with a broom. Gently sweep the rug to avoid damaging the fibers.[2]
  • Shake the rug. Remove dust and debris by shaking the rug off outside. This also will help air out the rug to remove any odors.

Remove Stains from Silk Rugs

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  • Cleans stains immediately before they set in and attach to the silk fibers.
  • Remove solid spills. Gently scoop solid debris from the rug using a spoon, but take care not to scrape the fibers of the rug. Any scraping motion may tear the silk fibers.
  • Remove liquid spills.
  • Absorb as much liquid as possible by pressing the affected areas gently with a clean, white cloth.
  • Apply club soda to remove color from stains. Pour the club soda onto a clean cloth and blot the stain. Use a dry cloth to absorb any excess club soda. Allow the area to air dry. Do not use heat, such as a hair dryer, to dry the area because heat may damage a silk rug.
  • Apply a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water to remove stains. Pour the vinegar and water solution on a clean cloth and blot the stain. Use a dry cloth to absorb the excess solution and allow the area to air dry. Do not use heat to dry the area.
  • Avoid commercial cleaning agents, which may permanently discolor a silk rug.

Remove Odors from Silk Rugs

  • Use baking soda to remove odors from silk rugs. Baking soda helps remove odors from a variety of surfaces, including textiles.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on the rug.
  • Allow the baking soda to absorb for about 1 hour.
  • Vacuum the rug using a brushless suction head of a vacuum cleaner.
  • Use a vinegar and water solution to eliminate odors from silk rugs. The slight acidity of vinegar makes it effective in removing odors and germs.
  • Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Lightly mist the rug with the vinegar and water solution.
  • Wipe the rug gently with a clean, dry cloth.

Clean Silk Rugs Professionally

Select a reputable, professional rug cleaning business to clean silk rugs. Silk can’t be exposed to heat or chemicals, so ask how the silk rug will be cleaned. Silk rugs should be washed on both the front and back surfaces with a detergent specifically formulated for silk fibers. Most rug cleaners will offer a deep dusting, followed by pre-treatment for stain removal and hand washing of the silk rugs.

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