How to Wash Silk Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide

Silk carpets are luxurious and beautiful additions to any home. But their delicate nature means they require special care and cleaning methods compared to regular rugs.

As a silk carpet owner myself, I’ve learned proper maintenance is key to preserving these investments.

In this guide, I’ll share everything I wish I knew before washing my first silk rug.

We’ll cover assessing carpet condition, materials needed, proper washing techniques, dealing with stains, drying methods, costs, and preventative care.

Follow these tips and you’ll keep your silk carpet looking pristine for years to come!

luxurious silk floor carpet

Assessing Your Silk Carpet’s Condition

Before washing, inspect your silk rug’s overall condition. Look for:

  • Loose threads or unraveling edges
  • Worn spots or bald areas
  • Stains – water marks, food/drink spills, pet accidents, etc.
  • Color fading, especially in high-traffic areas

Minor issues can likely be fixed with cleaning. But significant damage may require professional repair beforehand.

When assessing stains:

  • Old stains may require treatment with a stain remover prior to washing
  • dried urine and piles of stains can cause permanent damage if left too long

Knowing the current condition of your silk carpet helps determine the best cleaning approach.

Preparing for the Cleaning Process

Gather all necessary materials before washing:

  • Silk rug shampoo – Look for gentle, soap-free formulas.
  • Soft bristle scrub brushes
  • White cotton towels
  • Large surface for laying out rug – garage floor, basement, etc.

Avoid harsh chemicals or cleaners containing bleach or optical brighteners. Always spot-test any new cleaning solution on a small, hidden area first.

Make sure to clear ample space for the entire rug to lay flat while washing.

Dry Cleaning vs. Wet Cleaning: Which is Better?

Dry Cleaning

Many professional carpet cleaners offer specialized dry cleaning services for silk rugs.

This involves applying a dry compound powder to the rug and gently brushing it through the fibers. The powder absorbs dirt without the use of water.


  • No risk of watermarks or shrinkage
  • Can treat stains and odors without wetting rug


  • Does not deep clean as thoroughly as wet washing
  • Not as cost-effective for large rugs

Wet Cleaning

Wet cleaning with rug shampoo allows you to thoroughly wash the entire rug. When done properly, wet cleaning does not damage silk fibers.


  • Deeper, more thorough cleaning of carpet pile
  • Can treat tough stains by directly scrubbing the area
  • Cost-effective DIY option


  • Risk of over-wetting and damaging carpet backing
  • Long drying time – 1-2 days

If opting for wet cleaning, take steps to minimize excess water exposure.

Below I’ll cover the safest DIY wet cleaning methods for silk carpets.

handcrafted silk area rug

How to Clean a Silk Rug by Hand

Follow these steps to hand wash your silk rug:

1. Vacuum Thoroughly

Use a vacuum with adjustable height and hose attachment. Vacuum the top and underside of the rug, concentrating on high-traffic areas.

2. Mix Silk Rug Shampoo

Dilute concentrated shampoo in lukewarm water per label instructions. Swish water to create suds.

Tip: Add vinegar to help remove odors and brighten colors.

3. Pre-treat Stains

Spot treat any stains with a small brush and stain remover appropriate for silk. Allow remover to sit for 5-10 minutes before washing.

4. Lay Out Rug & Divide Sections

Unfold the rug in the prepared washing space. Mentally divide the rug into manageable sections – work in quarters or thirds.

5. Apply Shampoo Mixture

Working section by section, use a scrub brush to gently apply shampoo suds across the rug pile. Scrub gently in the direction of the fibers.

Caution: Avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent damaging the silk.

6. Rinse Thoroughly

Use a sponge or towels to soak up shampoo suds. Rinse each section with clean water until the suds are removed. Change rinse water frequently.

7. Dry Immediately

Blot-rinsed sections with towels to absorb excess moisture. Lay cotton towels over damp areas and weigh them down. Allow the rug to air dry completely before using, for 1-2 days.

8. Fluff & Finish

Once fully dry, fluff the pile by brushing the entire rug by hand. Vacuum again to restore texture.

Follow this process 2-4 times per year for optimal results. You may also have a professional rug cleaner do this for you, but expect to pay $200+ for a standard 8×10 silk rug.

This article details the best practices for washing silk curtains in your home.

Dealing with Common Stains on Silk Carpets

Here are tips for treating some typical stains on silk rugs:

Stain TypeCleaning Instructions
Food & DrinkClub soda, vinegar, carpet shampoo. Blot immediately to prevent setting.
GreaseDish soap, salt, borax paste. Let paste sit before rinsing.
WineBaking soda paste. Gently dab off paste after applying.
InkIsopropyl alcohol or hairspray. Use small amounts and test first.
Urine & FecesEnzyme cleaner like Nature’s Miracle. Rinse thoroughly – avoid residue. May cause permanent damage if untreated.
MudAllow to dry fully then vacuum off debris before washing.

Always spot-test stain treatments in an inconspicuous area first. Shampoo and water may be all that’s needed for minor stains caught early.

Drying and Maintaining Your Silk Carpet Post-Wash

It’s crucial to dry your silk rug fully before using or walking on it after washing. Here are some tips:

  • Lay flat on a non-abrasive surface
  • Place cotton towels over damp areas and weigh them down
  • Position a fan to circulate air over the rug – never use heat!
  • Flip the rug and repeat the drying process on the backside
  • Dry time depends on rug size but expect 1-2 days

Once fully dry:

  • Fluff and brush pile by hand
  • Vacuum the entire rug again
  • Check for any remaining damp spots
  • Steam or block any edges that curled

To maintain the carpet’s quality:

  • Avoid excessive heat or direct sunlight to prevent fading
  • Rotate or flip the rug occasionally to distribute wear
  • Shake out and vacuum weekly
  • Professionally clean every 1-2 years

Proper drying and regular care will keep your silk rug looking beautiful!

elegant silk carpet design

The Cost of Silk Carpet Cleaning

The cost to clean a silk carpet depends on size, condition, and whether you DIY or hire a professional.

On average expect to pay:

  • $100-300 for professional cleaning of a medium silk rug (5×8 ft)
  • $250-500 for cleaning a large silk rug (8×10 ft)
  • $30-60 for rented equipment + supplies if cleaning yourself

Cost factors:

  • Rug size – cleaning prices are usually calculated per square foot
  • Degree of soiling – heavily soiled rugs take longer to wash and dry
  • Stain treatment – extra costs if extensive stain removal is needed
  • Pickup/delivery fees – if you can’t transport the rug yourself

Professional cleaning provides experience and equipment that allows for better results and faster drying. But DIY washing can be effective if done carefully.

Evaluate your rug’s current state and decide whether it’s worth investing in professional services or attempting on your own.

Rug SizeDIY CostPro Cleaning
5×8 ft$60$200
8×10 ft$120$400

Preventative Measures and Regular Maintenance

You can minimize the need for frequent or intensive cleanings by caring properly for your silk rug:

  • Vacuum 1-2 times per week – especially high high-traffic areas
  • Immediately treat spills – don’t let stains set
  • Use carpet protector – helps resist liquid stains
  • Rotate occasionally – balances wear from foot traffic
  • Stay on top of odors – clean pet urine promptly
  • Avoid direct sunlight – can cause fading
  • Professional cleaning every 1-2 years – supplements DIY care

Implementing preventative silk rug care will help maintain quality and beauty for generations.

What Temperature Water Should I Use to Wash a Silk Rug?

Use lukewarm, never hot, water to wash a silk rug. Hot water can damage the fibers.

Aim for a comfortable temperature around body temperature. Check it on your wrist just as you would for an infant.

Can I Put My Silk Rug in the Washing Machine?

Never put a silk rug in the washing machine or dryer. The agitation and spin cycles will likely destroy the fibers. Silk rugs must always be washed by hand to avoid damage.

Is It Okay to Wash a Silk Rug Outside?

Washing a silk rug outdoors is not recommended. The lack of a flat, padded surface increases the risk of damaging the rug’s backing.

Outdoor hoses also make it harder to control water temperature and flow rate. Only wash silk rugs inside where conditions can be better controlled.

Understand how to wash silk flowers to keep them bright and dust-free.


I hope this beginner’s guide gives you the confidence to properly clean your silk carpet. 

While an investment, educating yourself on silk rug care will help preserve their value and extend their lifespan in your home.

Remember – be gentle, blot excess moisture, lay flat to dry, and regularly vacuum and spot treat.

Taking a patient, careful approach will keep your silk carpet looking luxurious and vibrant for years to come.

With the right techniques, even carpet-washing novices can keep delicate silk rugs in pristine condition.

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