With proper care, Oriental rugs can last for generations. We recommend the following basic steps for all rugs but particularly for hand-made and costly machine-made rugs:
General Rug Care Tips
Vacuum rugs regularly… get professionally cleaned at least every one to four years, depending on the amount of traffic, kids and pets, environmental conditions, etc... use proper rug pad… examine your rugs periodically (both front & back) and get repairs done ASAP… give immediate first-aid-treatment to spills, stains and pet accidents (see below) and immediately get professional help… rotate rugs periodically to even out wear, sun-light discoloration… air rugs once in a year or two... no plants on rugs even with a protective dish below… use soft, felt-lined coasters under heavy furniture feet on the rug…
Rug Care Details: Why, When & How
1. VACUUMING: Depending upon usage (pets, kids, traffic, etc.), vacuuming your rug regularly will remove harmful grit, foreign materials and loose soil. If your rug is fringed, be careful to keep the vacuum off the fringe to prevent damage. For antiques or delicate or loosely woven rugs and flat-weaves, avoid using vacuums with beater-brushes. Instead, it is preferable to use a carpet sweeper.
2. USE RUG PAD: to avoid slipping or bunching and to provide support . It also acts as a barrier to moisture from the floor to the rug and discourages insect attacks. Avoid using too cushiony pads but it should have enough cushion & thickness.
3. WASHING & CLEANING: Despite regular vacuuming, dirt and other particulates keep accumulating deep in the pile at the base of the rug and it gradually gets somewhat compacted, especially in densely knotted rugs. No amount of vacuuming will take it all out. This gradually weakens the foundation and shortens the rug life. It also acts as an invitation to insects/moth etc. Depending upon the traffic, kids, pets, etc., get your rug washed and cleaned by a professional oriental rug cleaner once a year to once in 4 years. Cleaning techniques (like steaming, etc.) used by wall-to-wall carpet cleaners are not suitable for oriental rugs. Avoid cleaning oriental rugs at home (especially costly rugs) unless you are thoroughly familiar with the process – you may permanently damage your rug. Even dry-cleaning is not suitable for most oriental rugs.
4. TIMELY REPAIRS: Carefully examine your rug once in a while. Is the binding un-raveling or the fringes missing/fraying or are there bald or partially worn-out patches (missing pile or nap) due to excessive traffic, etc.? If so, take the rug to a professional oriental rug repairer ASAP. Just like any delayed-repair job, it may cost you $50 today but it may magnify to $500 down the line! Unfortunately, repair costs increase exponentially with time because all repairs are highly skilled jobs done entirely by hand.
5. ROTATE YOUR RUG: Every 6-months or a year, rotate your rug 180 degrees or, if possible, re-arrange furniture to even out the wear & tear due to traffic patterns of your home. This will also help avoid discoloration due to sun light falling on the same portion of the rug day-in & day-out. Or, pull the shades down when you go out for long periods or on vacation, etc.
6. AIRING THE RUG: For fine, costly & densely knotted handmade rugs, especially ones with long pile, air the rug once in every one to three years. When it is dry & sunny outside, prop it up about 9” to 18” from the ground using any supports like small stools, etc., for the whole day or about 6-8 hours (don’t leave it out overnight). Before bringing it in, just examine the back carefully to see any unusual thing or damage, especially damage by moths, which eats the wool at the base of knots, leaving cotton warp intact & visible. Unfortunately, moth damage occurs mostly at the back or base of the rug and remains undetected for a long time because it is usually not visible on the face. This kind of damage, if not detected early, can render a fine rug virtually worthless or very expensive to repair.