Here’s How to Clean That Gorgeous Wall Tapestry Without Damaging It

published Oct 25, 2022
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Tapestries and woven art bring texture and interest into a room, but they also pose a unique cleaning dilemma. How exactly do you keep them dust-free? 

You can’t exactly wipe them down with a spritz of Windex, and a Swiffer duster will only go so far. This means your crochet, framed blankets, rope art, and quilts will quietly accumulate dust indefinitely.

I’ve been toying with this dilemma for months now, ever since I bought a framed tapestry. The piece isn’t protected by glass, and while the instructions say you can simply hand wash it from time to time, I don’t trust my laundering skills enough to try that route. Instead, here’s what I’ve discovered. 

This is how you can keep your tapestries clean and dust-free.

What you’ll need:

  • Vacuum with an upholstery attachment 
  • Woolite 
  • Washing machine

How to clean a tapestry

  1. If you notice a stain on the art piece, spot clean it with a gentle detergent like Woolite. But before you can attack the stain, test how the fabric will react with the cleaner by dabbing it in an inconspicuous area, whether that’s on the back of the art piece or a bottom corner. If it doesn’t stain or discolor the piece, you can proceed with the spot cleaning.
  2. Once the stains are treated, you can move on to removing the dust from your tapestry. While most rugs, blankets, and crochet pieces can be dry cleaned, you can simply vacuum the piece every month or every other month if you rather not risk it. Grab your upholstery attachment — which is the nozzle with a stiff bristle brush — and quickly run the brush-up and down the piece, allowing the bristles to agitate any dirt embedded in the fibers. Then go over that same spot again with the brush, this time moving it slowly down its length, allowing the suction enough time to pick up the dust. Use medium-light pressure and a slow pace. Once done, flip over the piece and do the same to its back.
  3. If your tapestry is made out of cotton or acrylic yarn, you can launder it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. You can either choose a hand wash or delicate setting, and launder it with cold water. Make sure to only add a drop or two of gentle detergent to avoid soap buildup. Once the cycle is finished, hang up the piece to air dry. 
  4. If you rather not risk the washing machine (like me) and the piece still looks dingy after regularly vacuuming it, your best bet will be to take it to the dry cleaners. However, The Ancient Home notes that if you have a delicate hand-woven piece or one made from 100 percent wool, it would be safer to take it to a high-end rug cleaner. They will ensure the fabric will be treated with the proper care it deserves. 

Add these steps to your monthly cleaning routine and your woven art will be just as dust-free as the rest of your furniture! 

This piece is part of Art Month, where we’re sharing how to find, buy, and display art in your home, and so much more. Head on over here to see it all!