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Caring for a fine handmade rug

by: Verde Home 8/04/08


Basic Maintenance & Care

    According to rug cleaning experts a 9’ x 12’ oriental rug can hold up to 87 pounds of dry soil without ever looking dirty! Fine rugs need to be cleaned on a regular basis in order to retain their luster and beauty. Basic maintenance includes regular vacuuming and the immediate removal of stains and spills. Aside from this, it may be wise to have the rugs professionally cleaned once a year. The prevalence of antique rugs shows that with proper care, these fine rugs will serve you well and will last a long, long, time.


Vacuum Regularly

    In almost all instances (except as noted below*), regular vacuuming of a fine rug with an electric vacuum cleaner is good for the rug. A dirty rug wears prematurely, and regular vacuuming helps prevent dirt on the surface of the rug from filtering down into the pile where it can accumulate and cause increased wear.


    Sweep the carpet first to make the nap stand up and loosen the imbedded dirt. Then vacuum being 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.

    *Caution:

    • Before vacuuming an antique rug, consult your rug dealer, salesman or a rug cleaning professional. Some antique rugs are too delicate for a vacuum and should be cleaned with carpet sweepers instead.
    • Do not use liquid carpet shampoos to clean your fine rugs.
    • Be careful with a cleaner equipped with a power brush or "beater bar" these powered brushes in the vacuum head help the vacuum do a good job on machine-made carpeting, but they cause a raking effect on the top layer of a fine rug's pile if used too strenuously. If your vacuum cleaner has a power brush, use it only occasionally and lightly. For routine cleaning, use just the plain vacuum nozzle. This is especially important for fringes; try not to run an upright vacuum or a power brush attachment over fringes. The brush shreds the fringes and causes rapid wear. Frequently fringes get caught and chewed up by the rotating mechanism of the brush.

Rotate Rugs

    Fine rugs should be rotated end to end if under high traffic, when you notice the high traffic areas of your rug starting to look dirty, or the when 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. A good rule of thumb is to rotate the rug every year or after each professional cleaning (see below).


Regular Professional Cleaning

    Have your rug professionally cleaned annually if under heavy use. Professional cleaners can also handle spot removal, re-dyeing, rebinding and repairs. Always alert the cleaner to the location and cause, if known, of spots and stains that require attention. A reputable rug cleaner should offer several levels of cleaning ranging from a basic dusting and/or surface wash to a deep penetrating wash.
    If you are looking for a qualified rug cleaner in your area please consult the National Institute of Rug Cleaners at http://www.ascr.org/institutes/nirc/index.cfm or consult our list of emergency numbers listed below.


Install a Rug Pad

    All fine rugs should be installed atop a quality rug pad. Padding will stabilize and protect your rugs shape, enhancing the value and making your rugs safer to walk on while also dampening sound. Rug pads should be trimmed to a size 3 to 4 inches smaller in area than the overall rug size allowing it to overhang slightly and avoid curling. Double sided tape may be used if curling persists or causes a danger but is not recommended for most installations.


Prevent Depressions

    To prevent dents and depressions (from furniture or heavy objects), shift the location of furniture from time to time. Brush the dented area, or use a grooming tool to loosen and stand-up the mashed pile. Using a steam iron, steam the dented area lightly and brush up the tufts with your fingertips. Do not let the iron touch the rug; hold the iron 2-3 inches above the fibers.


Do-it Yourself Cleaning

General Cleaning

    Success is almost ensured with a wet stain; do not let your stains dry! First remove any solid materials from the area and then immediately blot (do not scrub) the area with a wet clean white towel. Do not use a brush; it pulls fibers from the pile. Don't scrub hard at the pile. Blot and wipe in the direction of the nap and from the outside toward the center of a large spill to prevent enlarging the stained area. Place some towels under the spot to keep the floor or rug pad from getting wet. Blot the spot or spill several times; be patient - water is an excellent spot cleaner. With spills such as coffee, colas, juices, animal, medicines, milk, foods and certain dyes, blot up as much liquid as possible with paper towels or a clean, white towel preferably. Try to rinse out as much of the spill as possible with water only. Then to neutralize the spot, blot with club soda or a mix of half-white vinegar and cold water. Repeat this if necessary and blot again to remove most of the moisture.


    Most fine rug dyes are acid-fast. By adding a little white vinegar you make the wash water more acidic, and this reinforces the bond between the dyestuff and the wool in the rug, and so helps prevent the colors from running.


    Finally, sponge the area with cool, clean water to finish. Dry thoroughly. When the nap feels dry, check the back of the rug to be sure the area is completely dry.


Stain Removal Guide

    Certain stains and spills may require special attention. Below is a guide to assist you in removing some common stains (self cleaning in many cases will not be a substitute for professional service if you have any questions please consult a professional).


      Procedure 1

      Procedure 2

      Procedure 3

      • Dilute spot with a solution of water and mild detergent (non bleach, clear, laundry or dishwashing) in a ratio of 2 parts water to one part detergent.
      • Dilute spot with a solution of water and mild detergent (non bleach, clear, laundry or dishwashing) in a ratio of 2 parts water to one part detergent.
      • Dilute spot with a solution of water and mild detergent (non bleach, clear, laundry or dishwashing) in a ratio of 2 parts water to one part detergent.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Apply solution of water and white vinegar (2 parts water to vinegar).
      • Dilute spot again with detergent solution.
      • Dilute spot with a solution of water and ammonia in a ratio of one tablespoon ammonia to a half cup of water.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Dilute spot again with detergent solution.
      • Dilute with water only
      • Apply solution of water and white vinegar (2 parts water to vinegar).
      • Blot up solution.
      • Blot water
      • Blot up solution.
      • Dilute with water only
      • Dry with hair dryer
      • Dilute spot again with detergent solution.
      • Blot water
      • Brush pile down gently to remove distortion.
      • Blot up solution.
      • Dry with hair dryer
       
      • Dilute with water only
      • Brush pile down gently to remove distortion.
       
      • Blot up solution.
         
      • Dry with hair dryer
         
      • Brush pile down gently to remove distortion.


    Stain

    Procedure

    Stain

    Procedure

    Stain

    Procedure

    Beer

    3

    Furniture Polish

    3

    Rust

    1

    Berries

    3

    Gravy

    1

    Sauce

    1

    Bleach

    1

    Ice Cream

    2

    Soft Drinks

    3

    Blood

    3

    Ketchup

    2

    Tar

    2

    Candy

    1

    Lipstick

    1

    Tea

    3

    Chocolate

    1

    Mayonnaise

    2

    Toothpaste

    1

    Coffee

    3

    Milk

    1

    Vomit

    2

    Crayon

    2

    Mud

    1

    Washable Ink

    1

    Egg

    2

    Mustard

    3

    Wax

    (see below)

    Fruit Juice

    3

    Paint

    2

    Wine

    3


Wax Removal - 1. Put a damp cloth over spot 2. Press a hot iron to the cloth and move gently back and forth. 3. After about 10-20 seconds the wax should absorb into the cloth.


Additional Concerns

  • 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 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 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 rugs, have 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 a fine rug. Check the edges and area of your rug under furniture for any infestation. Act immediately if you see any bugs or eggs.

Emergency Contact

  • Emergency Rug Cleaning - In Atlanta we recommend S&S Rug Cleaners (404)355-2126, www.therugcleaners.com. Outside of Atlanta please try http://www.ascr.org/institutes/nirc/index.cfm or call a local Oriental rug specialist.
  • Repair and Restoration work - If it is not an emergency repair we recommend either sending us a picture or bringing the rug to us. We have several specialists that we use depending on the nature of the work required and would be happy to evaluate the job and recommend the proper professional.
  • General Information - If you have any general questions you may call us at (678)927-9113.

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