Other Helpful Rug Care Tips
As an Oriental Rug Cleaner on Kent Island in Maryland, I am often asked what can be done to extend the life of my rugs in my home. Here are a few tips
ROTATE your rugs.
Rotate rugs to even out any possible sun fading, and to also not allow one specific area to get all the foot traffic wear. Rotate small rugs every 3-6 months; larger rugs every time it goes for a bath put it back down the opposite direction.
INSPECT your rugs.
Quarterly you want to inspect your rugs closely for any insect activity. Moths and carpet beetles generally begin feasting in areas that have little light and little air flow – this means they prefer the BACK of the rug, or places under furniture. The larva looks like “sticky lint”, so flip over the corners of the rug to see if you have any activity. American Indian weavings hanging on the wall are particularly vulnerable, so take them down bi-annually to shake and dust them, and look for bugs.
You also want to check the ends and sides of your rugs to make sure that they are not in need of repair. When fringe tassels become worn and torn, the wool (or silk) knots of the rug begin to pull away from the rug, and if this is caught early it is a much cheaper repair than reweaving a section of the rug down the road. Look at the BACK of the rug to clearly see if all the knots are tightly and securely in place.
PROTECT your rugs.
Many newer rugs, especially Chinese rugs, are chemically washed to give them a nice “sheen.” This chemical process makes these rugs sensitive to sunlight and they will fade in a period of just a few short years. If this concerns you, consider treating your windows with a UV-filter coating, or use thicker window coverings to block out the rays during peak hours.
NEVER use Carpet Spot Removers or Baking Soda on your rugs.
Folex® and Resolve® are meant for SYNTHETIC carpet, and not wool or silk rugs. These chemicals (and even Woolite®) are too strong to use on rugs and they will either cause a chemical discoloration or it will bleach out the rug dyes completely. Baking Soda also causes damage by yellowing the fibers. This damage is permanent, and will devalue your rug, so please stick to CLUB SODA and CORN STARCH if you need to pack a spill with an absorbent compound.
NEVER put potted live plants, or plastic protectors, on top of your rugs.
Even careful plant caretakers spill a bit when watering plants. This water seeps into the cotton foundation which leads to mildew growth and dry rot. Plastic protectors also inhibit airflow and can cause mildew growth and dry rot. When dry rot sets in, eventually the rug falls apart in that area of rot. It ruins the rug.
NEVER have your valuable oriental rugs surface-cleaned in your home.
Wall-to-wall carpet cleaning chemicals and equipment are meant for wall-to-wall carpet, not oriental and specialty rugs. This equipment cannot thoroughly rinse your rugs clean (especially when there is a nice floor underneath that cannot get wet), so you are left with a rug that has a great deal of chemicals (and dirt) still left in the fibers. This chemical residue can lead to many problems from quicker resoiling (because the residue is “sticky”), yellowing of wool, dye migration and bleeding, and fading. Rugs, especially WOOL rugs, are meant to be washed at a proper rug cleaning facility.
Vance Morris is the Owner of the Oriental Rug Spa of the Eastern Shore. He can be reached at 410-822-6100.