Never soak a wool rug
Wool rugs are lovely but they are difficult to clean if they get a really bad spill on them because they should never be soaked with any liquid. If something like wine is spilled on a wool rug it should be blotted as far as possible and any cleaning fluid should be tried on an inconspicuous area first. But for simply freshening up, you can dust some bicarbonate of soda into the pile and leave for a few hours or overnight. After that, the wool rug should be vacuumed gently and if possible given a thorough shake outside. The bicarb will have soaked up any stale smells and the rug will smell like new again. Some people like to sprinkle some lavender on the rug at this point and this will certainly make it smell nice, but this is not recommended for light colours, because the oils from even dried lavender can stain.
If you can wash your hall runner, then do
Some rugs are of course much more prone to being smelly than others and in particular these are bathroom rugs, kitchen rugs and hall runners. Hall runners have to take whatever the visiting feet throw at them and grubby shoes can carry all kinds of things into the house on them, which can get ground in and smell quite nasty. The trouble is that few people are aware of the smell of their own house and it is a bit ironic that the smelliest rug – the hall runner – is the one that people encounter first. Ideally, these rugs should be washed weekly and if you have two to change around regularly then so much the better because you should always make sure they are completely dry before putting them down again – if they are damp, they will smell musty after a while and so the matter will be even worse. Bathroom rugs should certainly be washed or aired at least once a week and more if the family is large. Natural rugs are a good choice in the kitchen, being easy to vacuum and also easy on the feet on the usually hard floors in that room.