Handmade Rugs 101 Series
Caring for Your Handmade Rug: Part 1
You may have noticed that handmade rugs typically cost more than machine-made rugs. But don’t let the cost deter you, as they’re a great investment. With proper care, handmade rugs can easily last for hundreds of years thanks to the high quality fibers, dyes, and techniques used to create them. We’ll go into more detail on the process in other posts in this series, but for now, let’s focus on just what proper care entails.
Regular cleaning plays an important role in extending the life of your rug. While heavy-duty cleanings are best left to the professionals and should be preformed on a semi-regular basis, there’s plenty you can do to keep your rug looking its best, too. Here are some tips:
- Sweep or vacuum daily/weekly. We know that there aren’t enough hours in the day. If you can’t sweep or vacuum daily, do try to make at least a weekly routine of caring for your rug. If vacuuming, you’ll want to choose a machine without beater bars—those rotating plastic brushes found on the undersides of almost all standard vacuum cleaners. They’re not gentle enough for handmade rugs and can tug at the fibers. You may be able to turn off the beater bar on your vacuum. But, if not, make the broom your friend!
- Spill? Act quickly. For a liquid spill, blot immediately with a paper towel or clean white rag to soak up as much liquid as possible. For a solid spill, quickly blot with a paper towel or clean white rag, then gently scrape any remaining debris away with the dull edge of a knife or spoon. Still there? You may be able to use products you already have at home—like vinegar and wax paper—to help remove the spill. Or, you may need to use a cleaning product specifically made for rugs. Rug & Home recommends Capture products by Milliken (www.captureclean.com). Their cleaners contain no bleach, solvents, or harsh chemicals and are easy to use. All you need is a vacuum! For a list of possible spills and how to clean them, CLICK HERE. It’s also possible that a professional cleaning may be needed to properly remove the spill or stain. Please call Rug & Home for our recommendations on the best professional cleaners in your area.
Use a Rug Pad
Using a rug pad is a relatively inexpensive way to ensure that your purchase lasts a lifetime. Pads help minimize regular wear and tear. And, they offer some protection from mildew by allowing air to circulate under the rug, which also helps a vacuum cleaner remove dirt. (See Caring for Your Handmade Rug: Part 2 for more information on mildew.) Pads also help protect your floor from your rug. When placed on hardwood flooring for an extended period of time with no pad, a rug can cause scratches and other damage.
In addition to helping keep a rug in great shape, a pad provides several benefits for the homeowner. It helps grip the rug to the floor, which not only keeps the rug where it should be in a space but also helps prevent slips and falls. (Rugs on hardwood, tile, or other non-carpeted surfaces can slide around easily.) A pad also provides a little extra cushion for added comfort when walked on!
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
Direct sunlight is possibly a rug’s biggest enemy. Fortunately, it’s the easiest threat to combat. Simply drawing the curtains when you leave your house for the day will protect your rug for years to come.
If exposure to sunlight is unavoidable, work to ensure that your rug fades evenly. You can rotate your handmade rug every few months and avoid significant fading. Rotating also ensures that one portion of your rug won’t wear more significantly than another.
If your rug has already been damaged by the sun, don’t panic. Closely examine it. Is the fading only at the very tips of the pile, or raised surface of your rug? If so, remedying the problem could be as simple as a professional cleaning, which will abrade the ends of the pile and reduce the appearance of fading.
This post is part of our “Handmade Rugs 101” series. To see all posts in the series, CLICK HERE.