How To

How to Clean a Wool Rug with Snow

Ever wonder how to clean a wool rug or blanket without harsh, messy chemicals? Try this old-time method for cleaning wool rugs with snow.

By The Editors of Yankee Magazine

Jan 14 2021

Photo Credit : Brenda Darroch
A beautiful wool rug can be be the major design element in a room, but like anything subject to foot traffic, it needs regular cleaning to stay in tip-top shape. Wondering how to clean a wool rug naturally? We have a creative method using snow. Old-time New Englanders swear that the best way to clean wool rugs or blankets is with snow—it doesn’t make a big mess or require chemicals that could strip the wool of its natural oils, and it turns a cleaning chore into a game kids will enjoy. (Do not try this technique on any rug that is marked “dry clean only.”)
How to Clean a Wool Rug with Snow
How to Clean a Wool Rug with Snow


On a cold, clear day (25°F or colder), with at least several inches of fresh powder snow, take the rug outside and leave it for a couple of hours until it has frozen. Lay the stiff carpet in the snow and whack the exposed surface with a broom. Shake the rug out, turn it over on a fresh patch of snow, and beat the other side. If you wait for a cold, dry day, the rug will barely become wet when you clean it this way, but before returning it to the house, brush off any visible snow. Then leave it outside for another hour or so to let sublimation—the cold-weather process whereby snow or ice transforms directly from solid to vapor—do its work. By nightfall, the rug should be clean and dry (but don’t return the rug to its place until it is completely dry). Do you have a preferred method for how to clean a wool rug or other wool rug cleaning tips? Let us know! Excerpt from 1,001 Old-Time Household Hints, brought to you by Skyhorse Publishing. This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated. 

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