Emergency Care for Oriental Rugs

In this article, Emmett discusses what to do with your Oriental Rug in the the event of a spill, pet accident, or flood.

If you don’t find the information you need below, call 1-888-811-RUGS (1-888-811-7847) or 510-526-1087 during business hours.

Spills and Pet Stains

1. Whether it is wine, coffee, coolaid, urine, paint or whatever, the first step is to remove as much of it as possible from the rug- as soon as possible. Paper towels work well. Keep blotting until you have got as much out as possible.

2. After blotting, many spills will require diluting. If it is clear that much of the spilled substance is still in the rug, dilute it with water (assuming that the substance is water soluble)- as much water as necessary. That may mean a half cup for a small spill or it may mean a quart of water for a major spill. Don’t get the rug sopping wet unless you need to.

Please note that some rugs have unstable dyes that may run if you put water on them. But they are a small minority of all rugs. Sometimes you simply must take a chance.

3. Now back to blotting. Get as much out as possible.

4. If the rug has become wet in the process, you needn’t panic. Chances are that it can stay wet for at least several days without harm. Still, you will have to manage the wet rug and promote drying. If the rug is quite wet, you may have to elevate it to promote air circulation under it. You might just stuff some wadded up newspapers under it. You may wish to play a fan on the rug to circulate air.

5. If the rug is still stained after all your efforts, consider taking it to a professional rug washer as soon as you can. Very often spills come out in the wash.

6. Do not use spot removers on Oriental rugs that are formulated for use on wall to wall carpeting. They will harm the wool pile of your rug.


Urine stains from pets are probably the most common of all stains in Oriental rugs. They present a special problem because urine actually changes the chemical composition of dyes once it has had a chance to set. The best strategy then (besides preventing it from happening) is to remove it the same way as other stains- as fast as possible. After removing as much as possible, rinse the area with a solution of water and distilled white vinegar- about one tablespoon per cup of water- and then remove as much as possible from the rug. If a urine stain is already dry when you discover it, act as quickly as possible anyway, and get the rug to an Oriental rug cleaning specialist. Enzyme type urine removers feed on wool and should not be used on Oriental rugs.

Wet Rugs

If your rug has become sopping wet from plumbing problems, a leaking roof, as a result of firefighting or anything else, the situation may not be as bad as you fear. A rug can stay wet for at least several days before it is harmed. Still, you must do the best you can to manage it. Even though the water and the rug are dirty, your priority most likely will be to get the rug dry. You can have it washed later.

In many cities there are 24 hour emergency services available to deal with wet rugs. You can find them in the phone book under carpets. Their work seems satisfactory on carpeting, but sometimes inappropriate and even harmful on Oriental rugs. Unless you are simply overwhelmed, you may be better off to handle the problem yourself.

1. If possible, get the rug to a wooden deck, a concrete patio or even a sidewalk. If you have a squeegee on a long handle, use it to squeegee out the water, pushing in the direction of the pile. In a pinch, you can use the back of a heavy garden rake as a substitute for a squeegee. Get as much water out of the rug as possible.

If you cannot get the rug to a flat, outdoor surface, you may vacuum it with a Shop Vac or other wet-or-dry type vacuum, pulling as much water as you can from the rug.

2. After squeegeeing or vacuuming it, you may now roll the rug without folding it and stand it on end, letting it stand until water is no longer dripping from it.

3. At this point the rug is still damp but no longer sopping wet. Finish drying it however you can. If you have good weather, you can dry it in the sun. If you must, dry it indoors in a warm room, elevating it, if necessary, to let air circulate around it. A fan trained on the rug will help.

4. If necessary, you can, at your convenience, have the rug washed by professional specialists.


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    JZ March 2, 2015

    thx I needed it

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    Shoshi May 27, 2015

    We were observing Shiva last Tuesday and I knocked a cup of red wine on my Aunt’s white oriental carpet. We blotted then used Wine Away. Not much difference. The we used Baking soda. My understanding is that the stain is still there. Would you please advise? Thank you. Shoshi

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    AM Steele June 23, 2015

    I have a very small Kilim rug that I washed in the washing machine on hand wash. (I know, I can hear you gasp, it was a bad choice). It did not come apart, but has lost some of it’s shape. I have it outside drying on a flat pad of cement and have very carefully tried pulling it back into shape. I do this like I would any woven fabric, but careful lying tugging on opposite sides of the rug, doing this lengthwise and then crosswise. Any chance I can get it back to it’s original shape? Or have I ruined it?

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    Richard June 25, 2015

    I did Gasp. You should be able to stretch it back into shape with a little work. I often suggest rolling lengthwise very tightly then doing it the other way. Best of luck!

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    CORNE MARAIS. August 24, 2015

    Sorry but rug is in storage and a photo is not available.It is a medium sized persian that I purchased at auction.It is not stained but a strong cat wee odor pervades the entire rug.Perhaps a cat?/dog is not to blame!Could the smell be attributed to wet?Please may I have your expert opinion on how this problem can be resolved with a home or purchased remedy.Thanks.

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    Charismatic behavior August 26, 2015

    My vindictive ex that my brand new oriental rug behind the shed instead of putting it in the shed just to get revenge like three of them and some parts are crunchy how do I salvage it the backing is messed up

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    Veronica January 3, 2016

    I have a super kashan rug quite old and a friends dog peed on it I just whiped it with kitchen towel then dried it off right away .should I have used cold water before I dried it ?

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    Barbie January 7, 2016

    I have an antique royal kerman wall to wall rug that has been in my family for over 60 years. My daughters pit pull vomited all over the white parts, of course. I’m devastated, but don’t want her to feel bad. The stain is large and orange. We tried blotting, dish detergent and water, carpet cleaner, and even laundry detergent and rubbing alcohol as last desperate effort. The rubbing alcohol seemed to help the best, but the stain is still there. I had an estimate on the carpet a year ago, and the estimators said I could use bleach on the white parts to clear a few small stains that I had at the time. I tried that, but the bleach seemed to actually bring the orange color back out. I can’t afford repairs or professional cleaning. Please advise.

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    Pat Hodges January 18, 2016

    We cleaned our wool carpets yesterday and this morning have noticed patches of green have appeared, there has been no spillage at all we were just refreshing the carpet. The carpet is 10 years old.

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    Kathy January 22, 2016

    Help! I spilled coca cola on a wool oriental rug that measures 16×10. The area is now 1ft x 2ft goldish-color stain. Can the stain be removed or is it permanent?

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    Stacy April 4, 2016

    Great site and advice. I have just discovered very dark yellow and hard dog pee stains. I live in Las Vegas and will try calling the California rug cleaner to see if he can recommend someone. I just wanted to thank you for all of your great advice and taking the time.

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    MaryP May 16, 2016

    I have a 10 X 15 Karastan carpet in reds and would like to get rid of it. In pretty good shape. Really don’t want to throw it away. Live in San Francisco Bay area. Any thoughts?

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    Ashley September 23, 2016

    Our dog peed a little on our Persian rug. I scrubbing it instead of blotting and it lost its texture. 🙁
    It’s a very thin rug.
    Is there a way I can get the smooth texture back?

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