Can You Steam Clean a Kilim Rug? How to Do It Safely – Tips & Tricks

Kilim rugs are a stunning addition to any home. In order to keep them looking their best, it is important to clean them carefully in order to avoid damaging the wool fibres and flat-weave. Light steam cleaning is a gentle and effective way to clean your kilim rug and is also a good option for spot cleaning. For best results, dust and condition your kilim rug before steam cleaning.

Steam Cleaning a Kilim Rug

Can you steam clean a kilim rug. How to clean a kilim rug.
  1. Shake the rug to remove any surface dirt. Shake the rug to remove any surface dirt. Pollen, crumbs, dust, and dirt can easily get caught in between the fibres of your kilim rug. Take it outside and give it a vigorous shake. 
    • If your rug is very dusty, hang it over a clothesline and use a wooden spoon to beat the rug until you can’t see any more dust falling from the rug. 
  1. Vacuum the rug. It is important to vacuum your kilim rug before steam cleaning it, as dirt will often hide beneath the surface. Use a traditional brush vacuum if the weave of your rug is flat. Opt for a suction-only vacuum to avoid damaging the fibres if your rug has any shaggy sections or tassels. 
  2. Apply a powder-based rug conditioner. Avoid applying any liquid (including rug shampoo) to your mat, as this can damage the wool and can lead to mould. Instead, sprinkle a thin layer of powder rug conditioner over the rug and rub it in with your hands. After 5-minutes, use a vacuum to remove any loose powder. 
    • Purchase a powder conditioner online or at a specialty rug store.
  3. Spot clean any stains with a mild detergent. For best results, attend to stains as quickly as possible. Apply a small amount of detergent and gently rub it into the stain. Brush the rug in the direction of the fibres to avoid damaging the wool. Use a damp microfibre cloth to gently soak up any excess detergent.
    • Opt for colour-free and fragrance-free detergents that are marked as suitable for “delicates”. A gentle wool detergent is another good option.
  4.  Lightly steam your rug. Steaming your kilim rug is an effective way to clean it and remove odours, however, it’s important to do it gently as too much moisture can damage the wool and cause the fibres to unravel. Hold the steam cleaner at least six inches away from the rug and steam the rug in a smooth motion over the entire rug.
    • Avoid spending more than 5 seconds in one spot, as this will cause too much moisture to build up in the rug.
  5. Dry the rug in the sun. It is important to completely dry your kilim rug, as this prevents mould from developing. Hang your rug outside in the sun for a few hours. If this isn’t practical, hang it inside overnight or until it is completely dry (a dehumidifier and a fan can help to speed up the process).


Kilim rugs can be steamed, however, it is important to do it gently in order to protect the woollen fibres. If the rug gets too wet, it will damage the lanolin and thus cause the fibres to unravel. When steaming your rug, start by shaking out any dust and dirt and then gently steam using the “light” setting and keep the steam cleaner at least six inches from the rug. To keep your rug in good condition, dry it in the sun until it is completely dry

Other reading: how to dry your down pillow in the dryer safely.

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