How to Maintain Your Oriental Rug

  1. Get it professionally cleaned every 2-5 years
  2. Use under-rug padding 
  3. Clean spills, stains and water damage immediately
  4. Vacuum regularly
  5. Repair 
  6. Rotate to distribute wear and fading from light exposure
  7. Avoid excessive sunlight to prevent fading
  8. Flip the rug to untangle fringes
  9. Prevent moth damage
  10. Store properly - If storing make sure you store your rug properly

1. Professional Cleaning

Oriental rugs should be professionally cleaned every 2-5 years. The best choice for rug cleaning is to hire professional rug cleaners. A professional rug wash helps to remove stains and dirt, prevents moth damage, while promoting even wear. Heavily used and high traffic areas should be cleaned more frequently. The frequency of cleaning varies depending on usage. You’ll need to adjust your cleaning schedule accordingly if you wear shoes in your home or if you have any unforeseen accidents such as spilling a drink.  

Every 2-3 year - I have kids and pets that walk on my rug all day: If you have kids and pets you should have your rug professionally cleaned at least once every other year! If your pets sleep on the rugs you may have to have them cleaned more often. 

Every 3 years - regular usage: As long as you don’t have pets and you vacuum regularly you should wash your rug every 2 years to remove any trapped dirt. 

Every 3-5 years - My rug is hardly walked on: If your rug is hardly walked on and you vacuum regularly you can usually wait a few years between cleanings. 

When searching for a professional cleaner, be sure to distinguish between commercial cleaning and traditional hand cleaning methods. Your rugs should be cleaned by a handwoven rug specialist to preserve the beauty and durability of your rug. 

Traditional rug washing is a delicate process involving loosening the dirt in the pile and foundation by beating the rug, then soaking the rug in cold water and washing with a mild soap and proper brushes. The rug is then repeatedly rinsed until the rinse water is clear, before slowly dried at room temperatures. Submerging the rugs in water allows the wool to re-moisturize and be revitalized, giving your rug new sheen and increasing its lifetime.

Commercial cleaning relies on harsh chemicals and high temperatures in both cleaning and drying, to minimize the effort. Unfortunately both the chemicals and the high heat damage hand woven rugs by removing the natural oils and moisture in the wool. 


2. Padding

Placing under pads under your oriental rug is strongly recommended. The padding helps to increase the lifespan of your Oriental rug by protecting it from wear and tear. It also creates a softer surface to walk on and helps to prevent slips and falls. 


3. Spills, Stains & Water Damage

Step 1: Remove any excess moisture or debris. 

Step 2: Blot liquids (like urine or wine) with a clean white absorbent towel. Do not rub the spot!

Step 3: Continue blotting with a mild detergent added to the water. 

Step 4: Use a clean sponge or towel to blot the spot with the detergent water.

Step 5: Repeat until the stain is gone.

If you choose to spot clean on your own, pay particular attention to any indication of dye transferring to the clean cloth. If color bleeding occurs, call for professional assistance immediately.

Any water damage should be addressed immediately! If moisture remains in the rug, it can cause the wool to rot and cause severe damage. Make sure to raise the rug off the floor to create ventilation for both the top and bottom of the rug and to ensure that the rug dries completely. 

Certain substances such as coffee, juices, wine, pet urine, medicines, milk, food and certain dyes must be spot treated immediately and professionally cleaned as soon as possible to prevent permanent staining. 


4. Vacuuming

Vacuuming is the best way to maintain your Oriental rug, it prevents the dirt from working its way down into the rug, where it can add up and cause damage. You will still need to have it periodically professionally cleaned to remove trapped dirt.

Use a vacuum with strong suction. You want to avoid using a vacuum that has a rotating brush attachment, or beater bar. You should vacuum the topside of your rug weekly, and the backside every 1-2 months to loosen dirt from the underside. Vacuum the rug back and forth in the same direction over the entire rug, but avoid the fringes. A small amount of shedding is normal for natural wool, and does not signify weak wool or inferior construction.


5. Repair

Rug repairs should be ideally done as soon as you notice the damage. Ignoring it will only result in it getting worse. If you regularly maintain and repair your rug you will keep it looking great for generations. Watch for signs of wear, fraying, or unraveling of the pile.


6. Rotation

Rotating your rug will prevent extensive fading in any one section of the rug. 

Rotating your hand woven rugs 180 degrees regularly helps them to wear evenly, maintaining their original appearance. This rotation should take place once every few years, usually after the rug has been professionally cleaned. 


7. Sunlight

Use window treatments of some sort such as blinds or curtains to prevent sun bleaching. Often rugs fade from sunlight streaming through a skylight. Sun fading is far more dramatic in darker colored rugs then in light colored rugs.

Occasional direct sunlight will have no effect on the rug. Excessive exposure to direct sunlight for a few hours a day will cause fading. 


8. Flip the rug

Most Oriental rugs have fringes on the end that can become twisted and tangled very easily. It is important that you avoid combing the fringe to release these tangles, since this can cause damage. Instead, flip the rug end over end. This will allow the fringe to straighten out more naturally.


9. Moths/Insects

Carpet moths and carpet beetles are two big time pests that can attack your rug

A powerful vacuum cleaner is an effective way to get rid of moths. Vacuum under and around furniture. Shake out rugs and pillows before airing them out in the sun. A regular and thorough cleaning routine of commonly missed areas will help control the reproduction of moths.

If you notice any moth or insect damage it will probably be necessary to have all of your wool rugs cleaned and moth-proofed. 


10. Storage

If you plan to store your rug, it should be professionally cleaned, moth-proofed, and wrapped in waterproof material. The rugs should be stored in a dry area above ground level. 

Hand woven rugs are made to be beautiful, but equally important, they are made to be used as durable floor coverings. These few simple precautions outlined above will help to better preserve this beauty and durability.

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