Most homeowners understand the need to care for carpeting, ceramic tile or hardwood flooring. But area rugs? Yes, they deserve the same attention and consistent maintenance as the major flooring products. This is because area rugs are another investment in your home and lifestyle.
That’s why our flooring specialists at Family Floors have put together these pointers for you about the care, considerations and cautions of maintaining your area rugs. After all, knowing what’s expected of you regarding area rug upkeep can be a determining factor in the type of rugs you purchase.
OUR FIRST ADVICE: DON’T PAMPER THIS PRODUCT.
It’s important to understand that even though a handmade rug is a work of art, it’s made to be used and walked on. So, are all machine-made rugs. Therefore, avoiding walking on your new area rug is like keeping a new car locked up in the garage, undriven.
With usage, as the top layers of pile break, (in most cases wool), the pile looks shinier and smoother, and with light exposure the colors look more harmonious. In fact, with proper use, handmade rugs generally become more valuable. And what’s wrong with that?
Remember also that handmade rugs are not easily damaged, so enjoy your handmade rug without any worries. Meanwhile, take the following few easy steps to make sure that your rug ages gracefully, naturally and beautifully.
GROOM YOUR INVESTMENT BUT WATCH OUT FOR SPLIT ENDS.
You should vacuum or sweep your rug as you would wall-to-wall carpeting. But be careful that the fringes don’t get pulled or sucked in by the vacuum cleaner.
TURN, TURN THIS KNOWLEDGE INTO ACTION.
Rotate your rug 180 degrees every few months, or every year, depending on traffic patterns. Rotation is necessary for two reasons. First, all parts of your rug should be exposed to light equally so that the colors fade evenly. When colors are exposed to the sun evenly, they become harmonious and the rug ages nicely, but if different parts of the rug receive unequal amounts of sun exposure, over time, one side might look over faded and one side too bright. Secondly, all parts of the rug should be exposed to an equal amount of traffic so that the pile wears evenly.
COMPLETE WASHING SHOULDN’T BE COMPLETED BY YOU.
Have your rug washed by a professional every 2 to 5 years depending on the amount of traffic on the rug. It is important to have it washed professionally because, as the rug is used, dust, dirt and broken fiber get into the foundation. Professionals dust the rug with special equipment to get all of these elements out of the foundation before washing the rug. Then, they usually wash the rug by hand using natural soap. They will also make sure the rug is dried from the surface to the foundation before it is used again.
Most handmade rug dealers and retailers offer appropriate cleaning products and or services. Do not take your rug to general carpet-cleaning companies because the techniques and chemicals they use for wall-to-wall carpets may not be appropriate for handmade rugs.
WE’RE YOUR UNDERCOVER AGENT.
Consult with our flooring specialists at Family Floors about the proper padding to be placed under your rug. Area rug padding is an important element which will stabilize and protect your rug and floors. Good padding also makes it safer to walk on your rug and will protect its value and appearance.
STORE AWAY THIS KNOWLEDGE.
If the rug is to be stored for a long time in a place without exposure to light or air, first vacuum or broom it. Then use mothballs (sometimes tobacco is also used) in order to protect it against insect damage. It is best to put the mothballs in the middle of the rug and roll the rug reasonably tight against its nap (against the direction the pile faces) so that it looks like a cylinder. Then store the rug in a dry location.
TO REPAIR OR NOT, THAT IS THE QUESTION.
Repairing a handmade area rug, similar to weaving, is very time-consuming and labor-intensive; as a result, repair can sometimes be costly. Therefore, when considering repairing a rug, factor in the cost of repair in comparison to the value of the rug. Sometimes, it is better if collectible items remain in their original state and not be repaired because their value might actually decrease by any change, even if the change appears good. Getting the opinion of a professional is always a good idea. Most reputable handmade rug retailers offer you repair estimates and services.
AREA RUGS SHOULD ALSO BE COVERED IN YOUR FLOORING UPKEEP PLANS.
While they may play a minor role in your home’s décor, area rugs still deserve major attention and care. Keep your area rugs looking great and your home will continue looking as beautiful, stylish and inviting as ever.
ACCIDENTS HAPPEN. HERE’S FIRST AID.
A water spill should be dried immediately with a hairdryer set on a warm temperature. Try to dry both sides of your rug if possible. In case of a soft drink or alcohol spill, apply salt or baking soda to the spot for a few minutes to absorb the color of the drink. Then vacuum off the salt or baking soda. After vacuuming, use a wet towel to gently wipe the stain in the direction of the nap (the direction the pile faces). You can wet the towel with regular or carbonated water. Be gentle; do not scrub your rug. For old stains, take the rug to a professional handmade rug retailer. Do not try to clean old stains yourself.