How to Wash a Flokati Rug

  • Your winter lasts too long? Are you in need to cuddle something incredibly soft? Flokati rugs are fluffy and have long fibers, but they also look fancy and pump up your interiors with the original touch of luxury. Not to mention the high-quality, durability, and comfort they give us!
  • Yet, the more you use a Flokati rug, the more obvious it becomes that it needs washing. 
  • Cleaning Flokati rugs won’t be hard with our guide. Flokati rugs can be washed by hand or in the washing machine, depending on the size. You can also reach out to professionals to have them washed chemically. Keep reading to discover what your Flokati rug needs.

What are Flokati rugs?

Flokati rugs have been part of the Greek tradition for over 1500 years. 

Original Flokati rug is a unique woven wool shag rug made exclusively in Greece. 

Up to this day, these products are still produced in the Greek mountains.

Just as we can call the well-known sparkling wine Champagne only if it comes from a particular region in France, a Flokati rug must be made of sheep’s wool and produced in Greece to be called this way.

What does “Flokati” actually mean?

“Flokati” is the Greek word for a fluffy, long-haired wool textile product. 

The appearance of Flokati rugs, rug pads, and carpets is shaggy, thick, and soft. 

A sheepskin rug is an actual pelt or skin from a sheep. A Flokati rug has a resilient cushion, but sheepskin is fur and has a softer feel.

These rugs rose to star status when the greats of the mid-century design worked them into their interiors. Just think about projects by Le Corbusier, Arne Jacobsen, Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Charles, Ray Eames, and Frank Lloyd Wright to understand the charm of Flokati rugs. (read more on Achieve Curbed)

Cleaning Flokati rugs

Since Flokati contain natural oils in wool fibers, they are naturally stain-resistant.

That’s good news. 

With the maintenance and cleaning process included in the fundamental Flokati care, go for: 

  • brush, 
  • cold water, and 
  • letting your Flokati rug breathe outdoors fresh air;

Let’s see how to keep your Flokati in excellent condition for long. 

Shaking 

The size and weight of your rug may vary. With heavy, large rugs, you may need another person to make shaking your Flokati carpet possible. 

With small rugs of up to about 24 square meters, it will be easy to take them outdoors and shake to remove any loose dirt that collects in the wool hair of the deep pile.

A good shake is necessary when your rug becomes full of dust!

Brushing

Get a soft bristle brush and gently brush your rug to untangle any matted woolen fibers. 

The best way is brushing from the center towards the outsides of the rug. 

Don’t worry if some fibers get picked up by the brush—that’s normal.

After brushing, shake it at the corners to allow the water to reappear and form fog.

Make use of a wooden garden rake

After a good brush, lift the woolen fibers with a plastic or wooden garden rake.

Tip: Make sure the rake is clean before you use it! 

It’s easy, place the rake at the base of the woolen fibers and gently lift the wool from the bottom up.

Some fibers may get caught in the rake, which is fine. It won’t damage your Flokati rug as it is very sturdy.

Get rid of the smell

Like many other natural goods, you need to know that wool products have a specific odor—quite challenging to get rid of entirely. Also, are you sure you want to? 

Many people believe it’s not only acceptable and completely normal that their rug has a smell, but it shows that it’s made of high-quality and pure wool. 

Try ventilating the rug in a dark, dry environment if you want to reduce your rug’s smell to improve indoor odors.

Leave your rug outdoors for a few hours to eliminate smells. In addition, it serves the wool for recovering its original oxygen and improving the wool fibers. 

Important: Always air dry your rug out of direct sunlight. 

If the smell persists and is hard to stand, follow the cleaning tips below, but don’t wash wool products too frequently. 

As a rule of thumb, wool fibers naturally clean themselves by exuding moisture.  

Remove the stains

Let’s say you noticed a nasty stain on your Flokati rug. What to do now?

First, vacuum clean it to remove any dry dirt and dust. 

Tip: When you’re vacuum cleaning your Flokati rug, turn off the rotating brush—it’s not suitable for the long-haired Flokati rugs. Some people even don’t recommend using a vacuum cleaner at all.

Now it’s time to focus on a spot-clean process.

Remove the excess of the liquid from the wet stain using the tissue.

To remove fresh and not very heavy stains from your Flokati rug, you can use cold water and foam rug cleaner.

Wash

Flokati rug has a particular construction and fine quality; therefore, it deserves more attention than your basic hand-tufted and even hand-knotted area rug.

When it comes to washing, both by hands and in the washing machine, Flokati rugs can be washed with cool water and mild detergents only (just as any other wool product).

Follow the washing instructions provided on the label or select the particular program for wool.

Set your machine to a delicate cycle and add a touch of milder soap generally used for wool fabrics (also add some fabric softener if you wish). 

Set the temperature to no more than 40 degrees. Otherwise, your rug pad can shrink!

Tip: Use only liquid washing detergent with lanolin (it’s required as it restores the fat of the wool fibers). It’s much harder to rinse the washing powder than liquid from the wool fibers.  

When the cycle is complete, hang dry and give your rug air until it’s completely dry.

Don’t place your Flokati in a dryer!

The problem with large fabrics is that you can’t squeeze them into the washing machine. 

You won’t hand wash them either, so choose chemical or dry cleaning instead to clean a Flokati rug that’s slightly (or significantly) bigger. 

It’s the least likely that you’ll ruin your stunning Greek rug if you hand it to experts. 

Expect your rug to become fluffy and bright as new afterward!

Dry cleaning is done with no water and an organic solvent called perchloroethylene—it makes woolen products remain fluffy and in shape.

Otherwise, go for ecological cleaning, also known as hydrocarbon cleaning. It’s a gentle cycle, environmentally friendly cleaning method.

After cleaning, the woolen rug gets brushed and restored using lanolin (wool grease).

Important: This cleaning method is so gentle that it’s not recommended for filthy rugs with many stains or if the stains are old or heavy.

If you notice “Hand Wash Only” on the product label, remember that

  • we can only wash woolen rugs with cold or lukewarm (around 30 degrees) water and mild detergents,
  • Flokati rugs have to be washed and rinsed in the same temperature water; changes in the water temperature might induce shrinking,
  • after washing, hang the rug in the bathroom and leave it there for a few hours; then, put it on the dryer rack and let it dry up completely.

Tips for washing Flokati rugs

To achieve a vibrant and full Flokati rug look for years to come, follow the tips below.

  • Evaluate the situation before washing. When you notice soil, don’t rush to dry-clean your rug. First, bring it outside, shake it, and brush.
  • Rotate the rug, especially if it’s in a high-traffic location. Simply rotating it a few times a year will distribute the wear pattern. 
  • Brushing is the best way to keep your lovely long-haired rug fluffy, soft, and cushy.
  • If you have a big Flokati rug that’s hard to handle, it’s good to drop it off at any nearest dry-cleaning company.
  • Wool is a natural and self-cleaning fabric, so washing it once or twice a year is enough.

Related articles

Frequently Asked Questions

Technically, yes. However, if your Flokati is large, it won’t fit inside. You can wash smaller ones in the washing machine with no trouble. The most important thing to remember—keep the temperature low and use mild detergent only.
They are as fluffy as a sheep or alpaca. However, to maintain this exceptional softness, ‌take good care of your Flokati.
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Thanks, this site is extremely practical.

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