The great thing about handmade oriental area rugs is that they do not really need much maintenance. Most area oriental area rugs will last several decades, and in the case of finer rugs of higher quality, an oriental rug can last for centuries. Walking on oriental area rugs will not hurt them, in fact, many corporations use handmade oriental rugs in foyers or in front of elevators where traffic is highest. Although these rugs can easily withstand such abuse, they will definitely last longer with a little intelligent care.
The followings are some tips to help you keep your rugs clean and last longer:
Vacuum your area rugs regularly, make sure to go back and forth in the same direction over the entire rug (avoiding the fringes). If you are vacuuming with a beater brush, we suggest you set the brush so it just touches the top of the pile and moves easily across the rug. When vacuuming with a carpet tool, ease the suction of the vacuum by adjusting it accordingly. Be sure to periodically vacuum the back of the rug.
Rotate your area rugs as often as possible, one or two times a year, especially when you notice the high traffic areas of your rug starting to look dirty or the nap has lost its original direction or shape. Rotating your rugs will allow them to wear more evenly, maintaining their original appearance and value. Also, rotate your rugs according to the amount of direct sunlight. Over time direct sunlight can fade the dyes of your rugs.
Padding will stabilize and protect your area rugs shape, enhancing the value and making your Rugs safer to walk on.
When considering having a rug repaired, evaluate the cost of the repair to the value and your personal attachment to the rug. Only allow a reputable and knowledgeable craftsman/weaver to restore or repair your area rugs. The most common repairs are re-fringing and over-rounding the sides.
We suggest re-fringing, where the weaver will use the selvage or a minimal part of the rug, rather than adding a fringe to the rug. [A stitch or blind-stitch should be used to hold the rug in place. If several lines of the rug are removed to make the fringe, the weaver should consider using a cashmere stitch (a line or two of wool to match the design around the rug) to enhance the look of the repair.] If the corners of the rug are damaged due to wear, we suggest having the weaver secure them or re-weave them.
When the entire siding of the rug needs to be repaired, the weaver either over-rounds by hand or by sewing a cord with a matching color to the sides. We would suggest repairing the rug the original way it was made. Make sure that the weaver is able to match the wool color. The colors used in Persian rugs should be easily matched but matching the colors in an old Chinese carpet may prove to be more difficult.
If your Oriental Rug is worn or has been damaged, you will need to locate an experienced weaver with expertise in all the different types of knots and with an ample supply of wool colors. You may even want to look at some of the weaver’s current projects because re-weaving can be the most costly repair done to your rugs.
Ideas for maintaining & improving the look of your rugs:
• If the fringe is uneven, the edges can be trimmed.
• If parts of your rug are curled, steaming will usually alleviate the problem. We suggest steaming with an iron over a clean, damp Turkish towel. Be careful to keep the iron moving over the towel and not to touch the iron directly on the rug. Also, be sure to consider the flooring and padding underneath your rug.
• If your rug buckles, a blocking/stretching process could improve the rug’s shape. We would suggest trying to steam the back of the rug, first before having it blocked. If you then decide to have your rug blocked, before proceeding you should discuss the process with your Oriental Rug dealer.
• If the pile/nap of your rug is indented or laying the wrong way, steaming (with an iron as mentioned before) the areas should neutralize the pile and greatly improve your rug’s appearance. Before the area dries, be sure to comb the pile to blend with rest of the rug. When the area is dry, the nap should be laying in its natural direction.
• If you plan to store your area rugs, we suggest having them cleaned, wrapped in brown Kraft-paper, and covered with a waterproof material. Rodents and moths are a primary concern, so it is advisable to include moth flakes and keep your rug in a dry area above ground.
• Moths and carpet beetles can destroy an Oriental Rug. Check the edges and area of your rug under furniture for any infestation. Act immediately if you see any bugs or eggs. You will probably need to have your entire house sprayed and all wool rugs cleaned. Check your wool clothes if there is a problem.
To maintain their original colors, handmade area rugs should be cleaned on a regular basis. Every five to ten years they should be hand-washed by a professional whose references have been thoroughly checked. Never steam clean or chemically clean your area rugs. Do not ever put into a washing machine or otherwise immerse in water.
Many Persian area rugs have slight differences of color and tone in large color fields. These striations, sometimes even of a totally different color, are the definite proofs of one thing: this rug was made by hand. This abrash can be caused by nomadic changes-of-residence, and the weaver’s decision to complete the rug at his new location. Waiting for another ‘crop’ of wool from his sheep can take the longest. Then finding local flora to make more dye is the always-uncertain element. Inevitably there is a minor or major difference, but this is the inherent charm that these rugs display, by bringing us closer to the daily struggles of these primitive nomads. Of course, some slightly more sophisticated weavers sometimes add ‘a touch of abrash to increase the apparent age of a tribal or city rug. This adds to the charm and authenticity of your hand-made work of art.
These will flatten and disappear with regular walking, and a corner of the rug that does not lay flat should be kept under a pile of books, or similar, for a few days.
Try to use coasters under all furniture legs, to spread the weight of especially thin legs or casters over a larger area. Old glass coasters are best, still available from some fine antique dealers, or estate and rummage sales.
Please be aware that your entire rug may seem many shades darker or lighter, depending on the direction of its pile to the main source of light! This is mainly because of the high lanolin content in fine wool. Try it in each direction to determine which suits your room better, or the particular season of the year. Rotating it by season, or when you set the clocks back or forward, will allow traffic patterns to fall on new areas, thus extending the life of your area rug. The subtle changes of color from dark to light, or vice versa, can be a welcome design boost in any interior.
Small domestic friends that have not yet been house-broken should be kept far, far away from your new heirloom…
Under-padding is used to provide airflow between your floor and the rug, in addition to stabilizing the rug. Airflow allows the rug to breath, which in turn will extend the life of the rug. Under-padding also prevents the crushing and wearing of the pile from heavy use, another way of greatly extending the life of your rug. We offer several different sizes of under-padding at excellent prices.
Use a suction extension only. Do not use a rotor vacuum or a beater bar. Vacuuming should be done in the direction of the pile only, as one would stroke a cat.
Handmade area rugs can be beaten on the rear, with a broomstick or similar instrument. Old North-Europeans did this on a snow bank.
Sweeping is effective in removing dry surface spills.
The most important thing to do in a spill/stain situation is to act quickly. The longer liquid remains on an area rug the more likely it is to seep into the pile and cause a stain. So blot quickly with paper towels. Dilute the remainder with cold water and blot. Repeat as required until no longer visible. If some traces do remain, use a small amount of a mild wool detergent in cold water. Blot well, applying firm pressure. Do not rub. Keep in a well-vented area until dry.
Handmade area rugs can easily be repaired in case of tears or cuts of any size. The process consists of joining the knots together from the back of the rug/carpet with the same material as the foundation of the rug/carpet. Repairing a rug/carpet with silk thread is better, as silk is finer and stronger than wool or cotton. A rug/carpet that has been professionally repaired should look as good as new.
We Bagdad Oriental Rugs sincerely hope you enjoy the beauty of your handmade area rug for many years to come. Do not hesitate to call us should you have any questions.