It is important to know how to care for your Oriental rug. Oriental and Persian rugs can last for hundreds of years if it is properly cared for; however, continued use of a rug that contains household soil and grit will cause it to wear down, inviting in grime, household pests, and mildew. Here are a few tips how to maintain the pristine quality of your Oriental rug purchase.
Though timely, Oriental rugs are best washed by hand in water without harmful chemicals, machines, or common rug cleaner. Careful washing will save a rug from destruction, dust, lint, and other household dirt. If you’re unsure of your ability to maintain the quality of your rug, hire a professional carpet cleaner.
Oriental and Persian rugs should be vacuumed once a week. As time passes, soil and dust particles cut at the fibers of the rug like razor blades which, in turn, leads to the rug being damaged. Vacuuming helps prevent fibers from being compacted down. When vacuuming, run over every inch of the rug except for the fringe. Vacuum both sides of the rug. Add little pressure to the vacuum to prevent damage from the fibers and use low suction if possible. If a beater brush is used, adjust so that there is as little contact with the rug as possible.
The rug should be swept at least once a week. For rugs displayed on walls, they should be swept lightly once or twice a month. When sweeping, it is important to sweep in the direction of the fibers in so accumulated dirt will come off the rug and won’t get deeper into the fibers. To figure out what direction the fibers run, swipe your fingers across one side to the other.
Flipping the rug over
A couple of times a year flip the rug over so the back of it will be on top and leave it like that for a week. Gravity and the weight of walking on it will get all the hard dirt that’s sucked into the fibers out. You will be amazed by how much dirt will be removed once you flip it back.
The easiest way to ensure an Oriental or Persian rug maintains its vibrancy and beauty is to leave it out of direct sunlight. Sunlight might damage a rug by causing it to fade or become lighter when the sun hits it. If the rug is in a spot where sunlight hits it directly, rotate the rug at least once a month. By rotating the rug, it will be a uniform color even if faded. If the rug is not in direct sunlight, rotate it at least couple of times a year. Rotating also helps to expose different areas of the rug to traffic so one area doesn’t receive more wear than others. A good way to remember when to rotate the rug is to think about the change in seasons: rotate at the start of each one.
Protection from Water
Be careful – water can damage your rug. To protect an Oriental rug from water damage, keep the rug away from frequently flooded areas and damp floors. If the rug comes in contact with an ample amount of water, remove the rug immediately, vacuum it as described above, and leave it out to dry completely. Water damage also occurs when potted plants are placed on the rug and are watered frequently. To prevent this, place a plant atop a stool to allow for ventilation.
Pet Urine and Vomit
There is a short window in which to clean pet urine and vomit before a permanent stain develops. Vomit should be scooped up before beginning to tend to the spot. Treat the area of the accident by saturating it with water and dabbing it with paper towels. Place paper towels on the back of the rug as well to help prevent damage to the back. When finished, fan dry both sides of the rug.
Carpet pads help protect Oriental rugs from wearing down and make it softer to walk on. Likewise, a high-quality non-skid pad will keep the rug in place and prevent it from wrinkling or bunching up. A special pad can be used if the Oriental rug is placed over traditional wall-to-wall carpet.
While moths are attracted to dark, dirty places, they’re also attracted to one element in particular: wool. If for any reason a rug must be stored, it should be cleaned and wrapped in breathable paper— not plastic— for air circulation to prevent moisture. This paper will ensure that moths are unable to invade the rug. Left unguarded, moths will eat through the wool of a rug, resulting in a time-consuming and costly repair.
If a piece of chewing gum sticks onto an Oriental rug, try to freeze the gum by holding a bag of ice on top of it. When the gum is solid, use a metal scraper to gradually remove it from the rug. If the gum begins to soften, hold the bag of ice over the gum during this procedure; then, use a vacuum to suck up the remaining pieces of frozen gum. If there are any remnants of the gum, saturate the area with lukewarm water, a tablespoon of detergent, and gently scrub with paper towel or brush.
All spills should be cleaned immediately without using soap or harmful chemicals like bleach. To clean wine, start by absorbing the spill with a paper towel by dabbing the rug where it is saturated from the outer edge to keep the wine from spreading. Remember: never rub the spill in. Place towels under the rug in order to protect further damage to the backing. Hand-wash the rug using only water. If the stain cannot be removed, call a professional Oriental rug cleaner. When finished, fan-dry both sides of the rug.
What not to do
- Do not comb the fringe of the rug, for this will damage the fibers. Instead, shake the rug and flip it end-over-end in order to straighten out the fringes.
- Never put a potted plant on an Oriental rug. Plants often lead to moisture entering the rug. The rug will rot from this moisture, causing further damage and an extremely expensive needed repair.
- Never use harsh chemicals when cleaning an Oriental or Persian rug. Never use bleach, ammonia, or any strong household cleaner.