How do I clean and maintain a hand-knotted oriental rug? Can I vacuum a hand-knotted rug? Here is a short guide to maintaining your rug.

HOW DO I CLEAN MY RUG?

All rugs should be maintained with care in order to preserve their beauty and value. Old and antique rugs, in particular, are rare and wonderful collector's items. However, rugs do not necessarily belong on a wall, but are made to be laid on the floor and should be used that way. No matter if a runner or normal, Persian or Turkish, they deserve to be used.

Rugs get dirty with time; this is a reality no matter how careful you are. Dust and dirt can lead to wear and tear and damage, but here are a few things you can do to keep your rug clean and healthy:

VACUUMMING

Often a rug does not need much more than to be thoroughly cleaned of dust. As long as you do not use a so-called beater vacuum cleaner (for example those from the Vorwerk company), you can vacuum your rug as often as you like regardless of the material. It is only the hard wire brushes on beater vacuum cleaners that damage the wool or silk of the pile of your hand-knotted rug.

THOROUGH REMOVAL OF DUST

To thoroughly remove dust from your oriental rug, it is best to follow these three simple steps:

  • Lift the rug up at one end, and shake it out like a picnic blanket.
  • Hang the rug over a line, and carefully beat out the dust with a rug beater. Turn the rug over, and beat it from the other side as well.
  • Vacuum both sides of the rug. The vibrations from the shaking and beating should have loosened and dislodged the dust trapped deep in the pile.

STAIN REMOVAL

Stain removal may become necessary, for example if red wine spills on your rug. Red wine, tea, coffee, milk and urine stains require immediate attention. Never use chemical cleaning agents or stain removers. If these are not used or applied correctly, they can damage the rug irreversibly.

The rumor that, for example; red wine stains on hand-knotted rugs could be cleaned, for example, with salt is still persistent. However, not everything that applies to tablecloths is also applicable to rugs. Salt can bleach wool if it remains on it for a long time. It also damages the natural greasy film on the wool.

Our tip: If a glass of red wine has turned over and soaked the rug, hurry up. The stain must be rinsed out immediately with plenty of warm water and then cleaned with a damp cloth followed by re-greasing gall soap. Even if it is embarrassing in front of your guests, it must be done!

Here are the individual stain removal steps in detail:

1. BLOT THE STAIN AND RINSE WITH WARM WATER

The liquid should be blotted off and then rinsed away with warm water. To do this, it is best to place a towel under the rug to absorb excess water. Before you rinse the rug thoroughly, test to see whether the colors run. To do so, simply rub a damp white cloth over the affected area, and check if any of the colors have been transferred to the white cloth. If so, you need to get professional help.

2. STAIN REMOVAL WITH GALL SOAP

We expressly advise against the use of chemical cleaning agents. Here is a recipe for a natural stain remover made with commercial gall soap:

  • Use a solution of gall soap and warm water to remove stains from your rugs. Gall soap is re-greasing and preserves the natural protective film on the wool. Fill a bowl with about two cups of warm water and then add a few drops of liquid gall soap. Stir to create suds.
  • Before using the suds on the front of the rug, test it on the back to see if the colors run or other damages entail.
  • Dip a soft brush into the homemade suds and rub the stained area of rug lightly. You have to be very careful to not damage the fibers of the rug. Then blot the area dry with a soft, clean cloth. If the stain is not completely removed, repeat these steps until it is cleaned. This can be a tedious process, but take your time and do it carefully and thoroughly.

3. DRYING

A damp rug should never lie flat on the floor. This leads to rotting and mold. Once you have rinsed out a stain, you must make sure that the rug is lifted from the floor to allow air to circulate under it until it is completely dry. You do not need to lift the entire rug off the floor. You can lift the rug by placing objects under different areas of it. This way air can flow and help moisture evaporate quicker.

A JOB FOR PROFESSIONALS

With the exception of the initial treatment of fresh stains, you should leave stain removal to a professional. Cleaning an oriental rug is difficult. If you use wrong cleaning solutions, you may accidentally damage the rug, or the colors may run. If your oriental rugs, especially old or antique pieces, need cleaning, preferably leave the job to a specialist.

Besides, a professional cleaning service can work wonders when it comes to removing stains. This is especially true if stains have been addressed quickly and carefully, as recommend.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE YOUR RUG PROFESSIONALLY WASHED OR CLEANED, YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT OUR SERVICES HERE.

HOW DO I MAINTAIN AND CARE FOR MY RUG?

If you have a good quality rug with a good greasy wool quality, even stains from food or drinks usually do not cause long-term damage to it. You should enjoy using your rug without worry. Even if your guests spill red wine or food, the vast majority of stains can be removed through a professional wash. But make sure to clean the stains quickly and carefully as described above.

Here is how you can minimize other damages to your rug:

WATCH OUT FOR MOTHS!

If you see moths flying around, there is a good chance that your rug is infested with them. Check the top pile and the underside of your rug regularly. Pay particular attention to the white, silky cobwebs of the larvae. Frequent vacuuming and washing of a rug, is the best way to prevent moth infestation.

FLOWERPOTS

In our experience, one of the most common causes of serious damage to rugs is leaking or overflowing flowerpots. You need to make sure that there is always a saucer under the flowerpot, where water can collect and not spill over onto the rug. If water soaks the rug, the affected area will get moldy and rotten over time. As long as the area of the rug, where the flowerpot is placed, remains dry, you should have no problems.

BURNS FROM CANDLES AND INCENSE STICKS

Make sure to put something under a candle or an incense stick before you light it. Hot wax and ashes should never fall directly onto the surface of a rug.

THE CORRECT STORAGE OF A RUG

If you store a rug folded or rolled, use moth balls or cedar shavings, and check the rug every one or two months. Make sure the rug is completely covered and sealed, and that no moths or moisture can enter the packaging. We also recommend not storing a rug directly on the floor. If there is a leak, it might take you days to find out. Rugs should never be left in water, but should be properly dried as soon as possible.

HERE IS HOW TO PROTECT THE PILE OF YOUR RUG FROM WEAR BY HEAVY USE:

Ein Foto eines handgeknüpften Teppichs mit abgetretenem Flor.

Even the most durable rug wears out with heavy use. But if you follow these simple guidelines, you can protect your rug and extend its life:

  • Turn your rug around regularly (about every two years). It is important that the entire surface of the rug is walked on equally and evenly.
  • Vacuum your rug with a vacuum cleaner. Frequent vacuuming is important since it removes the dust and grit, that can wear down the pile of the rug under your feet, from the surface of the rug. You should never use a beater or any other vacuum cleaner with brushes, since they damage the rug.

    HERE IS HOW TO PREVENT THE COLORS OF YOUR RUG FROM FADING:

    Contrary to popular belief, vegetable dyes can also fade when exposed to UV light. But synthetic dyes fade more intensely and much faster than natural dyes. Exposure to intense sunlight is harmful to rugs, as well as any other kind of textiles. Intense and direct light can weaken the fibers of your rug by making the wool dry out.

    You can keep the colors of your rug bright, in spite of intense sunlight, by creating a shadow on it. If your rug is in a very sunny room, we suggest you create a shade for your rug, at least during the sunny hours of the day. You don't have to keep sunlight out of your room completely, but you may want to reduce it a bit.

    You can do this by placing a UV filter on your windows. Usually, the human eye can hardly notice any difference in lighting with and without these. These filters are very effective and can protect your rugs. They are also cheap and quick to install.

    DOES YOUR RUG NEED TO BE MENDED OR RESTORED? HERE YOU CAN FIND OUR PRICES AND TIPS.

    FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD AVOID SO THAT YOUR RUG WILL HAVE A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE:

    • Do not store rugs in a closet or an attic without checking for moths and damp every month.
    • Do not store your rugs in a basement. The damp environment can cause irreparable rotting and mold.
    • Do not leave damp or wet rugs directly on the floor. The moisture cannot escape or drain from under the rug and will cause rot and mold. Make sure that air can circulate under the spread rug.
    • Do not use a beater or other vacuum cleaner with bristle rollers. Such vacuum cleaners are made for carpeting and can cause the ends and edges of hand-knotted rugs to fray.
    • Do not try to remove stains with chemical cleaning agents. This can aggravate the situation and prevent the stains from being removed, even by professionals.

    QUESTIONS? PLEASE WRITE TO US. WE WILL BE HAPPY TO HELP YOU.