What is the proper way to maintain an oriental rug?

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.

Does your oriental rug need a foundation?

Many times people do not realize that an oriental rug should not be put down on a hardwood floor without first having a rug cushion cut to the size of the rug. The rug cushion not only provides protection for your hardwood floors , but also for the oriental rug itself. The hand knotting of the rug leaves the opportunity for sand and grit to fall through the piece and then get continually crunched into the backside of the rug as it is walked on. A good rug cushion is made of wool and has divots on the side that is placed in between the rug and a natural rubber grip on the side that is against the hardwood floor. This prevents slipping .

Sometimes a rug will be placed on top of wall to wall carpet and this requires a different kind of cushion to prevent the rug from traveling and causing someone to trip. This type of rug cushion is also cut to the size of the rug but is far different in appearance. It is a very thin double sided sticky cushion so that the rug will stay in place. This is very good to have under accent rugs that are in rooms where the rugs will be walked on.

There are many types of mass produced rug cushions that will claim that they are protecting floors but are actually causing problems beneath the rug that are not discovered until the rug is moved. One such type of cushion has a grid pattern and is a rubbery webbed construction. These types of cushions eventually deteriorate and leave the grid pattern on the hardwood floor even after removal.

A professional oriental rug dealer will stock the appropriate cushions to protect your rugs and many times these cushions will also come with a 7-10 year warranty.

Oriental Rug Buying 101

So, you are looking for an oriental rug and the vast array of possibilities are making your head spin. The first thing that I recommend is to do a little research. Treat this purchase as though you are buying a car- although I will let you in on a scary little fact- you will most likely own the rug a long time after you have replaced many of your cars.

Your room should be built from the ground up. The rug is technically the foundation of the room, so it is important to keep in mind a variety of colors will later offer a variety of design possibilities. If you select a single color tone than make sure it is one that you can live with, as your decorating style may evolve.

Finding a rug to coordinate with fabrics that are already there is much more difficult than selecting a rug and then choosing fabrics- fabric samples are much lighter to carry around than rugs! So if you can find a rug first that is much easier.

Identifying whether of not you like a geometric design or a curvy floral design will further narrow your search. Geometric designs can be paired with both traditional and modern furnishings, where the floral pieces tend to be a little more formal. Also important is whether you prefer an overall design where the pattern repeats itself or a center medallion. The center medallion creates a lovely statement but not if the fireplace is off center and it cannot be positioned in the room correctly.

Hand knotted wool rugs will offer you the best quality and longevity. The wool is vegetable dyed and then hand knotted on a loom to create the design. When the rug is turned over the knots are clearly visible. This technique produces a very sturdy piece that can take a lot of wear and tear and will consistently clean well. These pieces come from a variety of countries- Iran, India, Turkey, Romania, Morocco, China, just to list a few. The rug name is usually linked to the village that it was woven in. A Persian Heriz for example is a Persian hand knotted rug that was created in the village of Heriz.

If you can identify the type of rug that you like then you can put a little research into the piece. Tabriz, Heriz, Sarouk, Kilim, – treat the names of the rugs as if they were different types of automobiles when you were looking for a car. Just like “test driving” an auto you should be able to do the same for a rug. Any reputable dealer will let you bring the rug home before you make the purchase to see if it works in the lighting that exists in the space you intend it for.

Take the measurements of your room and the space that you wish to cover before you begin your rug quest. If you are having trouble visualizing what the rug will look like in the room , cover the intended space with newspaper to get the correct dimensions.

With a little bit of knowledge and patience you are destined to find that magic carpet.