How to Clean and Care For a Wool Rug Utilizing Baking Soda

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Wool rugs are fantastic additions to any room of your house. Not only can they have intricate and beautiful designs, but their deeply woven fibers create a long lasting area rug for you and your family.

You need to take special care when cleaning a wool rug, as wool reacts uniquely to many different types of cleaning agents.

Baking soda has long been a go-to solution for cleaning, and we walk through a variety ways of cleaning your wool area rug with baking soda, from regular maintenance to stain removal.

​So, What Exactly is Baking Soda?

Baking soda is short for sodium bicarbonate. If that sounds familiar, its because it is… sodium bicarbonate is the fancy, scientific term for salt.

Baking soda, in ​over-simplified terms, is nothing more than a milder version of the table salt you use on your food. And, its benefits to your health and around your home are numerous.

​The power of baking soda to work as a cleaning agent lies in the fact that it is an alkaline. Now, not to get too technical, but bear with us for a minute as we explain the science.

When ​baking soda is mixed with an acid, it alters the pH level, and initiates change. So, when you are thinking of using baking soda to clean, you want to use it on an acid. Most of the stains that occur are acidic in nature, and so baking soda can be a powerful and natural agent.

Why Baking Soda Cleans So Well

​There are several main reasons why baking soda works so well for cleaning, whether in your kitchen or on your carpets:

  1. Combats Dirt and Grease: Baking soda causes ​dirt, dust, and grease to dissolve in water. So, in essence, any time you mix baking soda with water, you’ll be able to cut down dirt or grease stains.
  2. Forms a Mild Abrasive: Baking soda naturally creates a very mild abrasive powder when applied to a rag or scrubbing brush. This abrasive nature also contributes to why it is so successful for cleaning.
  3. Tackles and Neutralizes Smells: As we mentioned above, baking soda reacts to anything acidic, neutralizing it. This also neutralizes the smell that comes with so many stains, old foods, and other acidic agents.

Baking soda doesn’t only work for removing stains in your wool rugs. It can be used to clean your kitchen countertops and toilets, along with keeping your fridge smelling good no matter what you have in there.

​How to Clean a Wool Rug with Baking Soda

There are two ways to use baking soda to clean your wool rug with: regular cleaning and spot stain removal. We will walk through each independently of each other.

​Regular Rug Cleaning Utilizing Baking Soda

​Cleaning your wool rug regularly is the first step to maintaining it, and ensuring it will last for a long time. Wool rugs are durable and will last a long time if you care for them well. Their thick fibers are highly resistant to wear and tear, and maintain their shape and form through the years. 

However, these upsides also mean that your wool rug will collect a lot of dirt and debris in its thick, deep carpet fibers. ​Wool needs regular cleaning; without it, bacteria will develop and stains will get set in. Thick carpet fibers necessitate special cleaning to preserve them for the future. Other than regular dirt and dust, pests and insects such as carpet beetles can settle in your carpet and feed on your wool rugs if you don’t maintain it ​well.

One fantastic carpet cleaning hack is to utilize baking soda!

baking soda to clean vomit from carpet

Start by Shaking Out Your Rug

​Take your rug outside and shake it vigorously. This will shake out quite a bit of the dirt, especially loose dust, debris, and pet hair that is hanging out on the surface. 

Hanging the rug and beating it with a long stick is an additional way to “shake” as much of the dirt out as possible.

You’re trying to get as much of the dirt out as possible that builds up inside the wool rug. The more you can get off outside, the less you will have to pick up with your vacuum.

​Move on to Vacuuming and Shampooing Your Rug

​Vacuum your rug several times, running slowly over the wool fibers. Make sure you are using a hearty, powerful vacuum with plenty of suction.

Some recommend turning on your vacuum’s brush roller, but we actually recommend against it. The brush roller can damage the wool rug’s fibers. Hopefully you’ve agitated a majority of the dirt when you shook it outside, and that should suffice. 

How Long Should It Take To Clean Your Home?

What is the size of your home in square feet?

What type of flooring do you have?

Can You Use Baking Soda and Vacuum Your Carpet?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to vacuum over baking soda that is on your carpet. It will not damage your vacuum, and it is a great way to quickly pick up baking soda off of your carpeting.

If you have a wet vacuum cleaner, now is the time to break it out and shampoo the rugs. You can also this by hand, although it is a lot easier to rent a shampoo cleaner from your local grocery store. Try your best not to over-wet the rug – wool is very sensitive to water and can shrink if it has too much liquid, or is wet for too long.

Let the wool fibers in your rug dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step. Open up some windows and put a fan on the rug to help it dry faster.

Sprinkle Baking Soda on Your Rug

​Lightly sprinkle baking soda across your wool rug, and let it rest for roughly one hour. In areas of heavy use, coat with a little extra baking soda. 

Another benefit is that you can use baking soda to remove carpet odor. And, it will help to ensure your wool rug fully dries from your cleaning process.

After you’ve let the baking soda rest, vacuum it up. You don’t need a fancy cleaner for this – ​you can just grab your inexpensive vacuum from the closet if you have one.

Using Baking Soda for Wool Rug Stain Removal

When you are dealing with stains and spills on your wool rug, baking soda is a great way to cleanse an area, remove the stain, and refresh your carpet all in one step. Even if you have an older stain, baking soda can do wonders for slowly working it up and out. 

​Understanding Stain Types

All stains can be boiled down to two fundamental types: oil-based stains and water-based stains. 

  • ​Water-based stains are acidic and will require an acid mixture to remove them. Most food stains are water-based stains.
  • Oil-based stains are often referred to as grease stains synonymously. And, at the risk of being too general, grease stains make up “the rest” of the stains that we incur on a regular basis.

Baking soda can be used for each type of stain, but the application is a little different. Lets walk through each process.

​​Water-based Stains

For stains that do not contain oil, you will want to sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda onto the area. Then, spray it with warm or hot water. You will want to leave this mixture for a few hours to dry.

As we mentioned above, the water works with baking soda to cut through the stain.

As baking soda absorbs the water, it will also pull out and absorb the stain that is in your carpet. Once the baking soda is dry all you need to do is run a stick vac​ over it. If the stain is still present then you may need to ​try another product like vinegar​ to help lift it​.

​Greasy Stains

When you are dealing with a grease-based stain on your ​wool, you can still use baking soda to clean it up. First, get a paper towel or cloth to blot up as much of the grease as you can.

Make sure you are blotting and not rubbing the stain. Rubbing will cause the grease to spread further into the carpet fibers and around a larger area. Blotting will soak up the grease without spreading it around.

Next, sprinkle baking soda on the stain. Don’t add anything else, like water. Just let the baking soda sit for a few hours or overnight. The longer baking soda is allowed to stay on the stain, the more grease it will soak up.

Baking soda and sponge

Using Baking Soda for Pet Stains and Odors

Cats and dogs are great additions to the family. However, when accidents happen they can be frustrating and smelly. Using baking soda to clean can neutralize the odors while also absorbing the stain. If you’re wondering how to get rid of carpet odor with baking soda, its actually very easy.

When you have an area that pets have used as their personal restroom, start by picking up any piles that may be on the carpet. Use a rag or paper towel to blot up as much of the excess moisture that you can.

Baking soda will work for both poop and pee stains. However, for poop you may want to use a ​more aggressive cleaning routine​ to take care of the bacteria and stain.

After you have blotted up the excess moisture, sprinkle the baking soda liberally on and around the affected area. Let the baking soda sit overnight so it can absorb the moisture while also neutralizing the odor.

In the morning, vacuum the area and enjoy the fresh scent left behind. You can add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda mixture before you sprinkle it to infuse another smell to the carpet if you prefer. Most animals do not care for the smell of citrus. Use a lemon or orange essential oil to deter your pets from revisiting the same area.

Baking soda is great for cleaning up spills and stains where a lot of moisture is involved. For older stains, you may need to try another cleaner or opt to steam clean your carpet.

Woman using a steam cleaner to clean her wool rug

​Steam Cleaning Your Wool Rug

When you need more cleaning power on your wool carpets and rugs, steam cleaning is a great way for you to tackle some tough stains. If you are wondering if you can steam clean a wool rug, you will be pleased to know you can.

​A steam cleaner uses high pressure and hot water to blast away stains in your carpet. The steam cleaner also goes behind and sucks up all the extra water that it puts out. Your carpets are not left soaking wet.

Steam cleaners are great for an annual refreshing of your carpet or if you are dealing with a very stubborn stain. If you don’t own your own steam cleaner, you can rent one.  

You should look into ​investing in your own steam cleane​r if you steam clean more than once a year. It can save you money in the long run and give you the power of steam cleaning anytime.

We prefer steam cleaning your wool rug to shampooing it. At the end of the day, wool is very susceptible to water. Additionally, wool rug fibers can be damaged by aggressive forms of cleaning. These factors point to steam as a preferred method for cleaning your wool  


When it comes to taking care of your carpet, knowing how to clean a wool rug with baking soda can save you time and stress. This simple powder is kid and pet safe. ​

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.