Care Of Oriental Rugs

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Good care of Oriental rugs will ensure that they last a long time indeed. How the rugs are made, of course, has everything to do with this. The hand knotting of wool or silk onto a cotton warp and weft is very strong, whether by the symmetrical Turkish knot style or the asymmetrical Persian. After all, the oldest surviving Oriental rug dates to 500 BC!

A Primer on How to Take Care of Oriental Rugs

The warp and weft is the cotton framework into which the wool or silk is woven. Water damage to the cotton--weakening or even rotting it--is a common problem and easily enough addressed. First is to ensure that the room conditions are not damp or otherwise humid. In taking care of Oriental rugs, you also want to avoid placing indoor plant pots directly on the rug. If an Oriental does get wet, know that the resulting mildew will cause permanent damage. It's critical to remove the rug immediately from the source of moisture. Allow it to dry thoroughly before replacing it.

Moth and carpet beetle damage is also common. Preventative care of Oriental rugs against these insects, however, is against the larvae rather than the adult. The larvae feed on the natural fibers in the rug. Your first practice should be to vacuum--with the nap rather than against it--weekly. Less frequently but still regularly, vacuum the reverse side of the rug as well.

Guard against uneven wear by rotating your oriental rug once or twice a year, systematically. Do not place Orientals in high traffic areas, and be especially sure to use padding. Pads can be rubber, felt, polyester, or foam. Rubber pads can dry out and crumble over time, but occasionally can become gummy and stick to either the rug or the floor. Although a naturally dyed rug will not fade, its colors will grow more subdued over many years of exposure to strong direct sunlight. You'll want to rotate those from year to year also to protect against uneven color change.


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