How should you care for an antique area rug?

Antique Rugs

Fine oriental rugs that have been woven from materials found in nature are among the strongest and most durable textiles known to exist.

With that being said proper and continued care is required to maintain their current condition.  While it is always recommended that you take your rug to a professional annually for cleaning, there are several steps you can take at home to preserve your textile.  We have provided an extensive list of do’s and don’ts in order to help you in taking the best possible care of your favorite rugs.

  1. Avoid putting potted plants on your rugs!  Water damage occurs rapidly and will greatly weaken affected areas causing them to potentially tear away from the affected area.  This type of damage is the worst in rugs that have foundations woven of natural fibers such as cotton.  Repeated water damage will also increase the possibility of dry rot down the road.
  2. Moths are a real threat.  More specifically the larvae of the moth is what actually consumes the rug material.  The larvae come from moth eggs, which are laid by the moths themselves, so both are very bad for your rug.  Rugs that have been left undisturbed in darker areas are most prone to infestation, especially if regular vacuuming/brushing and cleaning are not performed.  Signs that you may have a moth infestation include the presence of wispy cobwebs and fine dirt like particulate matter in the knots.  It is possible to repair damage done by moth larvae, but re-weaving entire sections of a fine rug becomes quite expensive very quickly.
  3. Do not vacuum your fine or antique rugs with vacuums that are fitted with “beater bars” (power brush).  This type of vacuum with actually rake the knots and their fibers causing unnecessary stress to the rug.  Better yet, manual brushing is the preferred method to dust and remove debris from the fiber material.  The easiest way however, is to have your rugs professionally cleaned by a reputable company such as Artisan Rug Care.
  4. The types of dyes typically found in oriental rugs are highly resistant to bleaching and or fading, but the UV rays from direct sunlight may harm your rug.  If your rug rests in an area that receives direct sunlight, consider putting up blinds or curtains that can be open and shut.  It is also smart to rotate your rug often so that no part of your rug receives the direct sunlight all of the time.
  5. Do use high quality rug padding for your fine rugs.  By using an appropriate pad, your rug will be cushioned against the high impact of shoe soles against a hard surface.  Rugs that lack a proper pad under it are more prone to rips and tears that can be very costly to repair.
  6. If furniture is going to rest on your carpet, make sure you put furniture cups under the furniture’s feet to avoid crushing the pile of your rug.  Un-cupped furniture feet will cause a focused area of high stress that can greatly damage your rug.  More importantly if you are going to move furniture, always put sliders underneath the feet.   If this is not done the feet of the furniture can easily rip your rug.
  7. Many types of lanolin-rich wool rugs such as those from Persia (Iran) have excellent natural stain resistance.  Should you happen to spill something on a fine oriental rug immediately blot the spill with a clean, moist cloth followed by blotting the spot with a damp sponge.  Next, elevate the moistened area to facilitate rapid air-drying.  If the stain persists you should contact a professional rug cleaning company such as Artisan Rug Care right away.  Never attempt to use commercial chemical cleaners on your rug as this will permanently damage it.
  8. Finally, always store your rugs in a clean, dry, climate-controlled environment.  The temperature should be between 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity around 65%.  If you need to transport your rugs, or store them for an extended period of time, wrap the rolled rugs in paper instead of plastic, as plastic will encourage mold and mildew build up via condensation inside the packaging.  A final cleaning before putting a rug in storage is essential because a recently cleaned rug is a far less attractive target for female moths to lay eggs in.

If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to call one of our rug care experts at (469) 387-6777.   

How should you care for an antique area rug?