Handmade and high-pile rugs can transform a room. They can be provide an anchor point—something that stands out every time you enter. But to keep them looking great, you need to know how to care for them. Similar to your dry-clean only clothes, they need a bit more consideration than your average purchase.

Don’t let this be the reason you avoid them. Kids, pets, life, and a Moroccan rug can all coexist! You just need to know how to properly care for them.

I couldn’t say it better than the company I just bought a hand-embellished shirt from:

Your Rare Bird is one-of-a-kind and requires special treatment (just like you). Sure, it’s a pain in the butt, but it’s worth it (and also maybe like you?).

Here are a few tips to keep your purchase looking great throughout the years.

01. Before placing your rug, take it outside.

Shaking out your rug helps to get rid of any lingering dust or fuzz. Depending on the size you’ll probably want two people for this task. If you’re hanging it on a line or ladder, you can use a broom handle to beat it.

02. Always use a rug pad.

This will help with comfort and keep your rug from shifting. We recommend the felt and rubber variety over the thinner polyester/PVC type. Cut your rug pad about one inch shorter than your rug on all sides.

03. Avoid vacuums with a beater bar or bristle brush.

These heavy duty vacuums will easily pull up the threads. But don’t worry, you don’t have to avoid a vacuum altogether. MarocMama has some great tips for cleaning and choosing the right vacuum.

04. Use the upholstery attachment or use on a high setting.

Vacuuming on the highest setting—and side to side—may seem counterintuitive on a deep rug, but it will prevent damage. Don’t forget to flip your rug over and vacuum the back side. This is where a lot of dirt gets stuck on rugs that don’t have a plastic base.

05. Spot clean for stains.

Because boucherouite rugs are made out of scraps of clothes and other textiles, they can more easily be spot cleaned. If you spill something on these rugs, wash with soap and water. Drying in the sun has an added benefit. For other Moroccan rugs like Beni ourains, first try to use a paper towel to blot up the spill and repeat with warm water. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may choose to spot treat with baking soda and salt before vacuuming up. Avoid any harsh cleaners with chemicals that may fade and cause the colors to bleed.

06. Don’t worry if fibers are shedding.

Many rugs, new or vintage that have been rolled up for a while, will shed when first placed in your home. That’s not a sign of faulty design. With traffic and cleaning, this should ease up, though some rugs may shed a bit up to a year.

07. Consider a professional cleaning every 1-3 years.

Depending on how high of a traffic zone your rug is in, you may want to consider a professional cleaning every so often. This can be pricey and isn’t necessary, but will extend the life of your one-of-a-kind rug.

08. Above all, let your rug live with you.

If you’ve read these tips and are worried about not being able to withstand the wear and tear, let us calm your nerves: we have a Moroccan rug in our kitchen. Our dog urinated on two of them. We have one in our bedroom. And there’s no long-standing damage or smell to date. Pinky promise.