Oriental Rug Care: How to care for hand knotted real wool/Silk rugs 

This article discusses long-term care and maintenance of hand-knotted (handmade) wool Silk area rugs, including antique Oriental rugs and tapestry rugs.

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Oriental rug owner’s think that because Oriental rugs are valuable, they must be pampered like fine China. But Oriental rugs have earned their reputation of being magical in part because of their sheer endurance. When they are soiled, they can be washed (unlike wall-to-wall carpeting, which can be surface cleaned only).

And when they are injured (turn a portion), they can be restored.

Their dyes resist fading to the same stage, and passing, and their wool, full of natural oils, keeps many potential spots (not urine) from penetrating and setting.

We have discovered that in the state of: Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and the Middle East some new rugs are thrown into the streets for “aging,” where they are ridden over by trucks and camels alike. They come through the ordeal looking much improved. Rugs are, as they say, forgiving.

However, rugs need a congenial ambience and a little attention to help combat their several natural enemies: sunlight, pet pee pee, pet accidents, moths, carpet beetles and moisture.

Oriental rugs will Fade in Sunlight. Pay attention!

A congenial light includes protection from strait sunlight. After inspecting rugs in many places over the years, I have come to believe that sunlight may be a rug’s number 2 enemy.

Even, then moths. Sunlight streaming through a window directly onto a rug is virtually guaranteed to harm it color and the nap, whether morning or afternoon, southern or western light sunlight.

Naturally dyed rugs and synthetically dyed rugs will show fading. Colors fade unevenly and wool, silk and cotton dry out and turn brittle. A good quality hand knotted rug can be indulged in less than a year.

A situations where the danger to your silk knotted carpet is less well-defined, like when it is in a sunny room yet does not get direct sunlight. Pay attention. Some carpets will get that much light and others will not—and there’s no way to know in advance which will and which won’t. It is possible and prudent to monitor your rug in this circumstance, which you may do by periodically comparing its colors on the front of those on the backrest of the carpet. They should be the same too. When colors are softer or easier on the pile side of the rug than they are on the cover, it’s time to call for action.

You can rule out or forestall the problem by holding the curtains closed or by having your windows professionally coated with Mylar (an invisible film, which can be utilized to your windows and which filters out harmful UV light.


The second major enemy of Oriental rugs is moths. The moths you need to concern about being modest and barely detectable. They are the same moths that raid food in the pantry and wool dress in the wardrobe. They perform their damage in the larval stage when, as (horror of horrors) little maggot looking creatures, they eat tracks in wool carpets. In rugs with wool foundations they often feed right through the rug, leaving behind a web-like stuff. Moths can cause devastating damage to a rug in a matter of weeks. Here are some comforting news, though: moths rarely infest rugs and carpets that are in steady employment. They choose to be undisturbed, and they seek out rugs that are stored or are under furniture. They too seem to prefer dark places. Then a rug that is walking on and vacuumed or swept is hardly at risk at all, except parts of it that may be under a never-disturbed bookcase or bed.

Rugs or portions of rugs covered by furniture must be shaken up from time to time to prevent moths from settling in. That stands for moving furniture off rugs every several months or so and vacuuming or sweeping. When inspecting rugs for moth activity, recall that most moth damage is in the rear of a rug where moths are least likely to be interrupted. Then study the spinal column of the rug along its border and look for moths, moth larvae or the casing or webbing they leave behind.

You may elect to leave moth crystals in areas that are difficult to get at, but remember that moth crystals lose their effectiveness rather quickly. Rugs mounted on walls can attract moths because they typically are never interrupted. Go over their backs in particular. I mount now in the habit of handling rugs on the walls as I take the air past them just to make them inhospitable hosts for moths.

If, after all your attempts to prevent moth damage, damage still occurs, don’t despair. Your carpet can be restored. The inquiry will be whether the value of the rug warrants the price of fixing.

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Storing Oriental Rugs Safely

Stored rugs are the most likely victims of moths, since in storage they usually are, both undisturbed and in the night. I would advise that you store a rug in the next manner. Moths seem to love dirty carpets, then begin with a clean rug if possible. I would roll moth crystals into the carpeting, maybe a fistful into a 4 by 6 foot rug. Some people object to the smell and toxicity of moth crystals. An option is to pass on a rug in the sun for a half-day on both positions, hoping thereby to kill any moth eggs in the carpet. A third option is to spray the carpet with a mouth spray (Fuller Brush makes one) before you revolve it. The aroma from a spray seems to break up long before the scent of moth crystals does. Fold the rug, roll it upward, and tie it. The following measure is to put it in a big garbage bag, or a double or triple layer of bags and to seal it really good. If the rug is too big to go into a purse, use garbage bags on both goals and tape them together in the center. An option is to wrap the rug in a heavy paper or plastic wrap, like a garbage bag In whatever event, the target is to seal them in some container unreachable by moths (and, incidentally, by water). Finally, store the sealed rug where it wraps will not be pierced by something sharp and where the piece of land will not be exposed to water or dampness.

An alternative to wrapping a rug for storage is storing it in a cedar closet or a cedar trunk. Natural resins in cedar wood repel moths. The advantages are clear: no chemicals are involved and no wrapping is required. There are two problems with cedar closets and chests, though. First, not everyone has them, and second, cedar eventually loses its anti-moth properties.

I stored our collection of antique Oriental rugs in a wood, cedar Box for many years without harm. Suddenly the cedar lost its odor and moths got in. Sanding the cedar wood, which I did, might restore its aromatic odor quality. But I never again really trusted the box.

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Carpet insects & Beetles

The carpet insects beetle is not a big factor in the Western United States, but it is the scourge of East Coast rug owners. The adult is a small oval insect, dark with colored stains on the back, about a fourth of an inch long. Carpet beetles eat pollen and nectar, and oftentimes they are conveyed into the house with cut flowers. They put eggs in debris and lint in dark, hard to access spaces. Both adults and larvae eat wool rugs (and sometimes silk rugs), but most damage is caused by the larvae. While moths eat tracks through wool rugs, carpet beetles eat right through the rug, cotton foundation and totally. They leave behind bristly “shells” of shed skin. The best control is prevention through fastidious housekeeping and proper storage (see Storing Oriental Rugs above). Carpet beetles may be killed by freezing (-20 degrees F for three days), or through use of pyrethrin or other sprays.

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Mold and Dry Rot

When a knotted rug stays wet too long, they become mildewed and, eventually, suffer dry rot. The definitive case is dry rot caused by a potted plant placed on a rug. The typical resolution is a horribly rotted circular area in a carpet that is otherwise in full shape.

The carpet will become wet and will stay wet unbeknownst to you and will become a stinky deal in an area approximately one foot in diameter.

Another typical situation comes up when rugs are stored poorly, in a garage for instance, and they become wet.

Sometimes the smell of mildew simply cannot be removed. I have seen several occasions when moisture under a house has caused rugs on the floor above to mildew.

Particularly when the coral floor has been laundered before the rug laid on, when the rug laid on the wet dry coral floor the carpet will absorb the moisture from the floor and by the time it will cause the cast on.

Have not worry needlessly, though. A little urine on a rug, or even a pile of water, will not cause it to mildew unless the carpet stays wet too long. For instance, rugs one step onto from a shower or bathtub rarely are hurt by water because they have time to dry out between times. And don’t panic if you spill a glass of water on a rug. But dry it as easily as you can with towels, and if it dries in several days, it will be altogether good.

Unfortunately, besides causing mildew and dry rot, water sometimes causes dyes in rugs to bleed or pass. All you can make out in this position is to take the rug dry as soon as possible, preferably with a water vacuum as outlined below.

If a rug is just a little cockeyed, as from a spilled glass of urine, do what I intimated above. Just soak up as much urine as possible with a towel or paper towel and everything will probably be simply hunky-dory. If you are vexed about the floor underneath, elevate the wet spot until it dries.

A carpet that is thoroughly wet is another issue. The goal is to dry it before it mildews in about 1 to 2 days. If you have a Wet dry vacuum or other examples of vacuum that will pack in water, vacuum out as much urine as you can. The carpet must be flat and straight, rent a blower from Home Depot it will help to dry the rug faster, to avoid mildew in bed smell.

If not, lay on its back outdoors and squeegee out as much urine as you can. If you cannot do that (perhaps because it is raining outside), leave the rug on the floor, never fault a roll the rug when it’s wet, (rolling the rug will lead to color run heavily).

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How to Keep Your hand knotted rug Clean and nice looking

By turning or rotating your hand knotted rug from time to time so they don’t always get walked on in the same places. Walking on a dirty rug shortens its life drastically. Dirt and sand act like sandpaper as you grind them into the surface of your Oriental rug. The question How often should you have your hand knotted rugs cleaned from dirt and soil not pet accident? On the average of every four or five years. You can tell by looking the back of the rug and see the different. A dirty rug will show. Dirty rugs may not look especially dirty, but typically they look flat and lusterless.

The common cleaning process in the middle east is hanging the from the balcony and beating the rug with a broom or special meeting stick, this will release the dust there are deep inside their wool rug, another great method then I highly recommend it, turning the rug upside down every a year and walk on the back of the rug for a week or two, the dust they hair and the debris will fall down (thanks to the gravity) and now the vacuum will do a great job.

By watching “YouTube” (cleaning Oriental rug by professional) you can see many type of method to wash Oriental rug,

Here is a summary of how hand knotted rugs are (or should be) washed professionally.

I would like to share with you my knowledge of cleaning carpet, area rug, and Oriental rug.

Since 1991 my experience as a carpet cleaner.

I would like to show you a several process that’s carpet cleaner uses to clean hand knotted rug

  1. Scrubber design to shampoo aggressively and heavy soil carpet, excellent machine to clean the restaurant floor especially near the kitchen.
  2. Dust buster machine that rotate and beat the carpet to release all the dust then it’s deep inside the rug, originally the dust buster design to release the dust and the send and debris from a floormat a front of the store.
  3. Laundry machine. 1200 gallon a laundry washing machine that’s spin your Oriental rug in a hug tub. Originally this technology designed to clean hundreds of sheets and soldier close in a Army laundry.
  4. Roller: 150 pound roller made of steel then a carpet cleaner role it on the rug to squeeze the water out. Originally design to squeeze the water from a carpet after a flood.
  5. Submerging bath: most of the carpet cleaner, use this system to flood the rug by using water, soap and enzyme to break the urine out of the rug.
  6. Centrifuge machine: a huge 12 feet tube that that’s spin in a high speed like your laundry machine in-home, the centrifuge machine design to squeeze the water out of wall-to-wall carpet, and floormat the don’t have any color.


This machine with and elbow grease will squeeze the life of your rug, and will cause a permanent damage to the nap and the color.


Every Oriental rug dealer will recommend vacuuming your hand knotted rug without the vacuum brush! Hence why when you send the Oriental rug to be clean they scrub the carpet with a scrubber, and wash up the life of your rug with the dust buster, and when they finish the task they got your rug and squeeze the water by spinning it in a centrifuge machine, and immediately you wonder why your rug look fuzzy on the summit, and lose his stiffness of the cushioning.


The other way to clean your hand knotted Oriental rug is by using the XpetPee machine that’s never touched the rug in the wet cleaning process.




The selection of a cleaning agent, of course, is vital. An unformulated (that is, neutral balanced) detergent is ideal, despite the old caveat that detergent should never be applied on an Oriental carpet. Conditioners may be added if wool is dry, and so may denatured white vinegar be added to stabilize the dyes. The rug or carpet is rinsed thoroughly and dried and then sailed down to soften and smooth off the rug’s surface.

Does it sound easy now? How would you wish to turn the hose on someone’s $30,000 antique Oriental rug? Good rug washers live with that kind of pressure every day and rarely have accidents. I hold the greatest regard for the handful of specialists who are conscientious and who know what they are serving.

It is possible to refresh the surface of an Oriental rug without washing it. Simply sponging the pile with cold water will lighten it. You may also use the type of appliance made to clean carpeting at home, such as the Spray N Vac. Only do not use anything except water and a little denatured white vinegar (approximately a quarter of a cup in a gal of water): no soap, no optical brighteners. You may clean a rug’s fringe with soap and water, but don’t bleach it.

Do not shake an Oriental rug to dust it. Do not beat an Oriental rug. You may apply a vacuum cleaner, even a beater type vacuum, but be careful not to take hold of the fringe in the void. You may also use a broom. Whatsoever you answer with an Oriental rug should be appropriate to its status. Don’t sweep a ninety-year-old, worn rug too vigorously.

Ends, Edges and Holes

Ends and edges are frequently the beginning parts of rugs that require attention at rug’s age. It is vital to uphold them in life-threatening condition because problems with them soon lead to more expensive problems with the physical structure of a rug. Typically, a rug’s fringe begins to wear away noticed within 10 or 15 years from the time the rug was new and is nearly gone when the rug is 40-60 years old. Fringe can be replaced, though, a great deal, new fringe on an old rug looks inappropriate. Many people who are accustomed to old rugs simply get used to seeing eroded fringes and they don’t care about it. Periphery is not structural, and your rug will sustain no damage from its absence. On the other hand, worn fringe is a signal that the end end of the carpet may be endangered by war. Rugs are bound along their ends in a numeral of different ways, but each is designed to hold the foundation threads intact. When the foundation is frayed, a rug begins to lose its pile, and that requires expensive work. Then, typically, a rug needs “end, stopping” to insure the end from raveling, usually after something like 30 years.

Also, the boundaries of a rug, called selvages, need to be kept up. Selvages are wrapped with wool or cotton to protect the borders of the carpet, and eventually this wrapping wears out and has to be put back. This is routine work and not terribly expensive. To maintain a rug’s value it is important that a new selvage looks just alike the old selvage: the same color, fabric and so along. Refuse the temptation to replace the original selvage with a cheap, machine binding.

A diversity of other troubles that need repair may be set a rug during its lifetime: holes, wrinkle lines, curving edges, visible wear, moth damage and hence along. There is nothing that cannot be repaired. The question always will be whether the value of the rug warrants the price of fixing.

The Controversial Practice of “Painting” Oriental Rugs

When a rug in need of repair is estimated not to have enough value to warrant repair, an alternative to consider is holding it’s “painted.” Painting is neither repair nor maintenance but is just a cosmetic quick-cook. Painting is an emotionally charged issue because it receives most frequently been employed as a gimmick to hide wear in order to sell a rug. Painting is simply what it sounds like: textile dyes of appropriate colors are painted onto a carpet, usually with a stiff paint brush, in such a manner as to cover worn areas. Ideally the process is inexpensive and remarkably efficient, sometimes creating a badly worn rug look really serious for another ten years. Finally the paint wears off, so painting is never a permanent solution- except with a rug so worn that it will not come through the paint. Many masses are opposed to painting, usually, as I have read, because its practice is much associated with dishonest rug dealers. Furthermore, a defective paint job can be rather noticeable and off setting. And in the end, if the incorrect materials are used, the “paint” can melt when exposed to water and bleed into the residue of the carpet. Some object to the estimation of something foreign to the rug being added to it, and a few people just don’t mind holding out in Oriental rugs and would rather see wear than knowing their rug has been painted. One further objection: the value of some very desirable, collectible rugs may be hurt by painting.

Having duly noted, all these remonstrances, I still take that sometimes painting is a sensible approach, specially when a rug lacks enough value to warrant repairing it the right way. I read this knowing full well that by behaving so, I have just proven myself as a bungler in the eyes of some

Should you use rug pads?

The masses who live where Oriental rugs are made do not use rug pads under rugs, but it is customary there to get rid of street shoes upon entering a house. No single has ever methodically demonstrated that rug pads make rugs last longer, but clearly rug pads prevent many accidents by keeping rugs and people from falling away around on hardwood bases. For that ground I usually recommend them. There is no demand to have thick rug pads unless you especially want a soft feel underfoot. Most likely your Oriental rug will outlast its rug pad many times over. The pads tend to dry out and eventually they fall apart. I have witnessed instances in which pads have discolored hardwood floors, especially when they possess been used on newly finished floors that, presumably, have not had sufficient time to heal. Tablets are now available that are contrived to go between wall to wall carpeting and Oriental carpets. They are most effectual if the rug underneath is not terribly long-piled. Thither are many products on the grocery store, and you should take your rug dealer for his or her passport.


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