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A Guide to Rug Care

A handsome area rug can have a major impact on a room. Choose carefully, and your rug will set the tone for an entire space, bringing warmth and definition.

 Photo courtesy of Kalaty Rug Corporation


Because of its influence on your room’s overall style, choosing an area rug is a big decision — and oftentimes a big investment. To extend the life of a fine area rug, follow these general guidelines:


1. Vacuum Regularly

  • Vacuuming is the single best way to remove dirt from your rug while also helping to avoid moth damage.

  • Only use low-level suction-only vacuums; beater-bar/rotating power-head models can be hard on fine rugs causing unnecessary wear and tear.

  • Don’t forget to vacuum both sides of a wool rug, as moths lay their eggs where you cannot see them.

  • To avoid pressing dirt back into the rug, always vacuum in the direction of the nap, not against it.

  • Also, never vacuum the fringe. Instead, clean fringe by sweeping it with a broom.

  • Keep in mind that small rugs, such as those used at entrances, can be difficult to vacuum. Take them outside and shake them vigorously until dust and dirt are no longer evident.


2. Rotate Your Rugs

Rotating your rug on a regular basis will equalize potential sun damage. On overly sunny days (or in south facing rooms), it’s smart to use window treatments that reduce the chances of fading for your rugs.


3. Don’t Skip the Rug Pad

Not only will a proper pad keep your rug from slipping and sliding out of place, it also could potentially double the life of your rug. A high-quality rug pad will protect your rug from excessive wear, especially in heavy traffic areas. The best padding is a hair- or fiber-filled pad with a rubberized surface to keep your rug from moving or wrinkling.


See also: The Top Five Reasons for Choosing a Wool Area Rug


4. Store Properly

If your rug must be stored for a long period of time, don't store in airtight plastic bags. (Fine rugs need to breathe. They often rot or mildew if wrapped in plastic.) Instead, wrap your rug in a sheet or other large piece of cloth. To avoid mildew, discoloration or dry-out, never store rugs in a humid/damp or overly hot room.


5. Solve Spills & Problems

  • Remove liquid spills immediately by blotting with a white towel, white cloth or white paper towels. Do not rub. (Rubbing a spill can work liquid deeper into the rug fibers and cause the spill to become a stain.)

  • Should your rug incur damage from a cut or burn, let a competent professional deal with the problem. The best sources of help can be found online or through your local dealer of fine carpets and rugs.

  • In areas under furniture where pile may be indented or crushed by legs of sofas, chairs, etc., it is possible to "fix" or up-right pile in the depressions. Simply lightly brush the indented area with a soft brush. If needed, moisten the area with a very light spritz of clean water and follow by lightly brushing.

  • During the life of your rug, you may see tufts of yarn rising above the surface of the pile. This is called sprouting and it is a natural occurrence. Do not pull on or pull out the yarn because you will cause permanent damage. Simply use a blunt-nose scissor to trim the yarn even with the top level of the pile.

  • Attack pet stains as soon as possible by blotting with white towels, white cloth or white paper towels. Then test a small area with a commercial enzymatic cleaner to help break down stain and odor. However, if you are hesitant to clean a pet stain on your fine rug, seek help right away from a reputable dry cleaner in your area who specializes in cleaning fine rugs.


6. Keep Care Tags

When you purchase a new rug, keep the care tag intact. It would be a good idea to file it with your household maintenance and furnishings file for later reference.


See also: Delineate Space in an Open Floor Plan With Rugs

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