Many people wonder just how frequently an oriental rug needs to be cleaned. Much depends on where the rug is placed and just how much traffic it is getting. The rule of thumb is that oriental rugs need to be washed at least every 5 years. The foundation of the rug is usually a cotton warp that the wool fibers are woven through. It is important to keep that cotton foundation in good condition. If a rug is not maintained the foundation may get dry and this is what causes the rug to crack. Very much like a fur coat is cleaned, oiled and stored an oriental rug needs the same treatment to ensure its health.
When the rug is brought for cleaning it is dusted first to get all the dirt and grit out and then submerged in water and hand washed on both sides to ensure that the piece is thoroughly clean. It is then rinsed in a clean pool of water and put on a large drying rack in a climate controlled room so that it can air dry.
Once a rug has come back from washing it is a good time to examine whether or not there are any repairs that need to be made. The overcasting is the individual knots that secure the natural fringe on either side of the rug. Many times the fringe may get caught in a vacuum cleaner and pulled out. This causes the side of fringe to become uneven. By overcasting the fringe in a uniform line it prevents the rug from unravelling into the border of the piece.
The sides of the rug are secured by wool binding . Through the years this too may need some repair as it sometimes becomes frayed. It is important to maintain the binding so that the gaurd border that goes around the perimeter of the piece is protected and will not unravel.
The above repairs are considered common maintenance on a rug. Damage done by moths or animals may require reweaving or using a kashmir knot.
Properly maintained your oriental rugs will last for generations to come! Oriental rugs are the foundation of every great room.