How to care for Oriental rugs

10 simple rules

Oriental rugs are made to be used. Regular maintenance requires little effort if done consistently. By following these simple rules, your rug will look great and last a lifetime.

1. Always use a rug pad

Rug pads extend the life and beauty of your rug by protecting it from undue traffic wear or heel punctures. They decrease the shock a rug receives from each step, by cushioning feet and enhancing the feel of the rug. Rug pads also provide an airway between the floor and the rug. This airway ensures that the rug can breathe, thus preventing mould and mildew.

2. Vacuum your rug regularly

A genuine Oriental rug should only be vacuumed with an attachment, not with the beater bar. The attachment decreases chances of fraying or frizzing the pile or fringes, while also picking up the dust and soot that accumulates on a trafficked area. Oriental rugs can also be beaten with the handle of a broom to loosen dirt and rid the rug of dust. They should only be beaten from behind, and do not require this often. Lightly sweeping the rug with a broom can also get rid of dirt or dust.

3. Clean spills immediately

Timing is of the essence in protecting an Oriental rug from permanent staining. Liquids spilled on a rug should be immediately removed with a dry, clean cloth, or paper towels, to blot the spill. Continue blotting until the stain is no longer visible. If a stain persists, dilute the stain with cold water, and continue blotting. Never rub a stain, as that will only increase the stain's penetration into the pile of the rug. A small amount of a mild wool detergent, diluted with cold water, can help loosen tougher stains. This should be applied gently, and then immediately blotted off with paper towels or a clean cloth. Immediate steps should be taken to encourage drying (a room fan is best).

4. Rotate your rug once or twice a year

Direct sunlight will slowly work at the color of a rug, but can be minimized by hanging sheers or blinds in your windows. Turning the rug around once or twice every year will help ensure that any regular traffic or sun damage is evenly distributed, and will allow the rug to age similarly all over.

5. House train your pets

Pets should be completely house-trained before being allowed into any room with an Oriental rug. Urine stains are very difficult to get out of a rug, and can do a great deal of damage.

6. Move your furniture perodically

Heavy furniture left to stand in a single spot for too long can also cause permanent indentions on your rug. Moving furniture periodically will decrease any damage done to the rug and will ensure that the rug ages beautifully. For table legs, you should use specialized coasters.

7. Do not place flower pots on your rug

There is always dampness associated with flower pots. This will affect the fabric and dye of a rug. Any dampness should be handled like spillage (see above) and encouraged to dry with a strong current of air (again, a room fan is best).

8. Have your rug professionally cleaned every 5 to 10 years

There is always dampness associated with flower pots. This will affect the fabric and dye of a rug. Any dampness should be handled like spillage (see above) and encouraged to dry with a strong current of air (again, a room fan is best).

9. Repair physical defects immediately

A cut or tear can easily be invisibly repaired by a professional. If ignored or neglected, it will worsen quickly, to the detriment of the rug's appearance and intrinsic value.

10. Store it in a clean, dry location

Should it be necessary to store an Oriental rug for an extended period, it should first be professionally cleaned and absolutely dry. Before rolling (never fold for storing) sprinkle crushed moth-balls or very, very dry tea all over. Do not use brown wrapping paper, newspapers or any other chemically unstable wrapping. Use plastic or other synthetic sheeting, properly sealed to protect against outside damage. Store in a clean, dry location, away from animals or rodents.

Your rug's journey to becoming an heirloom will be greatly eased with these efforts
"Just got our rug for the family room and want to tell you how it has changed that room. Wow! Nice warm, cosy feeling. Great!"
Nancy, Lake Surich, IL