Antique tapestries require special care.

How to Clean a Tapestry

by Melissa King

With their intricate patterns and bold colors, tapestries add warmth and beauty to any room in your home. Many tapestry owners hang theirs on a wall for display, while others drape their tapestry over a bed or lay it flat on the floor. If you hang your tapestry on the wall, it usually will not get dirty enough to need a deep cleaning. Unless your tapestry gets soiled, an occasional dusting with your vacuum cleaner is enough to keep the item looking fresh.

1 Remove the tapestry from the wall, if necessary.

2 Lay the tapestry on a flat surface, such as on a clean floor or a table.

3 Connect an upholstery attachment to your vacuum cleaner. This attachment has stiff bristles and an oval- or rectangular-shaped head.

4 Turn on the vacuum cleaner. Run the upholstery attachment down the length of the tapestry, working from the top to the bottom. Vacuum the top side of the tapestry; this is where dust collects when it hangs on the wall.

5 Flip the tapestry over and vacuum the back, if desired. The tapestry's backside is usually not as dirty as the front.

6 Take your tapestry to a dry cleaner if it still looks dirty after vacuuming. You should not dry clean certain types of tapestries, such as hand-woven ones, Italian and French reproduction tapestries or those made of 100 percent wool. If you have a tapestry such as this, contact a rug cleaner who specializes in high-end carpets or antique textiles.

Items you will need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Upholstery attachment


  • Clean your tapestry before placing it in storage.
  • If your tapestry has developed a crease, lay it on an ironing board or flat surface and place a soft cloth over the crease. Iron the tapestry through the fabric to remove the crease. Avoid using the steam setting on your iron if the tapestry is old.


  • Do not wash your tapestry in the washing machine. Doing so may damage the delicate fabric.
  • Some tapestries have tassels, beads or other embellishments around their border. If yours does, use caution when vacuuming to avoid sucking up and damaging these items.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images