Cleaning the Post-Holiday Mess Out of Your Rugs

after the partyYou’ve finished the cheese balls and wine, run out of desserts, and burned down the candles. The guests have finally left. After counting the silverware, you take out the trash, fluff the pillows on the sofa, and return your dining room to its normal configuration. Time to relax, right?

Wrong.

If your holiday parties are anything like ours, you’ll find a half-full glass tucked behind a chair. You’ll notice the wine stains on your beautiful Oriental rug in the living room, discover an unsightly mixture of fruit and chocolate smeared on the tufted dining room rug, and to your great dismay, see that wax dripped down onto the new throw rugs you placed in the spare bedroom.  After the expense of the holidays, the last thing you want to do is to refurnish your floors. Luckily, you can take steps to clean your rugs so you can enjoy them into the next holiday Wine on rugseason and beyond.

Cleaning Orientals

Let’s start with your fabulous Oriental rug. Hand-knotted rugs should be professionally cleaned. If you invested in a quality wool masterpiece, we recommend you take it to the experts. But you can do it yourself … if you’re very careful.  Start by vacuuming both sides, using suction from a hand tool to keep the beater bar from pulling up loose strands. Then use a mild soap — Dawn dishwashing soap is ideal — mixed in cool water. Avoid products that contain bleach, ammonia, or other strong chemicals. Test a corner of the rug to make sure the soap doesn’t alter the dye colors.

vaccumScrub the rug gently with a long-bristled soft brush or sponge, rubbing in the direction of the nap. Thoroughly soak the rug. When done, squeeze out the water — a rubber squeegee does the most efficient job. Push the moisture out towards the end of the rug along the pile of the nap. If you have enough space, hang the rug to dry. Otherwise, lie it flat to dry. Once the nap is dry, turn it over to let the back dry.

Other Cleaning Solutions

Hand-tufted rugs are a different story. These rugs have a canvas backing glued on to hold the wool fibers in place. You can’t get these rugs wet. The best way to tackle stains is with a spot cleaner such as Capture (sold at all Rug & Home locations). Clean each spot separately, patting Capture Products availabel at Rug & Homethe excess moisture quickly so it doesn’t seep through to the glue. Pat the spot repeatedly with a damp sponge. Try it again if necessary and keep at it until you’re satisfied.

Getting candle wax out of a rug requires paper towels and a warm iron. Layer paper towels over the wax and rest the iron on the spot. Do not let the iron touch the wax directly. After a few seconds, lift the iron; the wax has melted into the paper towels. Repeat with clean paper towels until you’ve lifted out all the drippings. As a final step, treat with a spot cleaner.

Once you finish cleaning, rub the dry fibers on your rugs with a soft brush to loosen them up and release any leftover soap. Vacuum. Now you’re ready to send out invitations for a spring fling!

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Art and Practicality Converge in Gabbeh Rugs

Gabbeh (pronounced “gah-BAY”) is the Farsi word for natural or raw. In this case, it describes the coarse materials used to create early tribal rugs in Persia. The Gabbeh weaving tradition dates back as far as 3500 BC. Those first Gabbeh rugs were made by nomadic women to protect tender feet and to decorate bare homes. While they were practical, they also inspired. The artisans who wove those ancient rugs infused their designs with symbols that displayed their spirit, artistic talents, and love for family. In time, certain symbols evolved to impart love, prosperity, and good fortune to their families.

Modern families can grace their homes with those same sentiments with a beautifully hand-knotted Gabbeh rug from either India or Iran. Since both hand-weavers and modern manufacturers incorporate the emblematic characters found in early Gabbeh rugs, you can find the symbols on all-wool hand-tufted rugs and even in the synthetics used in machine-made rugs.

Each character woven in a Gabbeh rug has its own unique meaning. Some of the most common symbols found on today’s Gabbeh rugs include:

  • The Cypress Tree stands for life after death.
  • The Lion boasts of honor and victory.
  • A Camel is a common symbol for wealth and happiness.
  • Peacocks are holy birds that symbolize the spiritual nature of man.
  • The Dog serves as man’s protector, saving him from his own misdeeds and harm from others.
  • The Cock represents the devil; it’s woven into rugs to protect the owner from outside evil.
  • A Comb suggests cleanliness and brings wishes of health to the family.
  • The Hourglass reminds the family that time passes for everyone.
  • A strip of Clouds sends happiness to the family.
  • A Pomegranate is the ancient symbol of abundant wealth.
  • The Tree of Life, one of the most common symbols, expresses the belief in eternal life.

The characters are woven as small geometric shapes, caricatures of the symbols they portray. On some rugs, they are lined up in no particular sequence, bringing a wealth of wishes to the bearer. Other rugs focus on a primary wish, such as the popular Lion Gabbeh rug that contains one or two bigger lions surrounded by smaller lions in a horizontal pattern, ideal for a family of warriors. Gabbeh symbols may be also woven into a larger pattern made of a floral motif. In these rugs, you may have to look closely to see the artistic symbols imbedded in the overall pattern.

No matter which kind of Gabbeh rug you purchase, the original thoughts and heart-felt symbols can bring an aura of love and good intentions to your home. You may recognize the symbols and be able to interpret their meanings, but even if you can’t, a Gabbeh rug has an uncanny way of snuggling up to your heart and making you feel good somehow. Perhaps it’s the ghosts of the tribal Persian women who loved and cared for their families, or perhaps it’s the actual resonance of the symbols themselves.

A Home for the Seasons

Bring out your winter accessories to decorate for the season.

Autumn. It’s the time to go through your wardrobe and pack away those halter tops and shorts until next summer. Out come the wool sweaters and corduroy pants. If you’re like many fashion-loving men and women, you probably have a jacket for cool fall evenings and a heavy down coat for winter days.

So while you’re spending the day airing, washing, and preparing your fall and winter wardrobe, why not consider switching out your room’s décor to reflect the changing of the seasons? Not many homeowners take advantage of the changing seasons. Sure, you put out the ceramic turkey salt-and-pepper shakers at Thanksgiving and the red-and-green tablecloth for Christmas, but there are so many more decorating options for your home. Consider completing your home’s wardrobe with four separate sets of accessories to complement each season.

How many times have you passed up a beautiful piece of art or a blown glass vase because you knew you didn’t have any place to showcase it? How many of your family heirlooms are packed away in the attic because you’ve had to make room for new pictures and knick-knacks? There is no reason that you can’t enjoy all your fun furnishings. Just spread them out throughout the year.

A bright, floral rug is perfect for colorful spring and summer decorating!

Start with your area rugs. Use a bright floral rug for spring and summer, and then switch it out for the deep, rich heirloom Oriental in the fall and winter. Use jute or sisal rugs in your main living areas during the warm, sunny days and replace them with warm wool rugs when you begin to light fires in the fireplace.

Drapes and window treatments are another aspect of a room that can change the ambiance from one that says, “Open me up and let the sun shine in” to “Keep me closed and snuggle up beside the fire.” Replace the light, airy sheers that pick up the pastels in your summer rugs with those lovely velvet curtains that keep in the heat during the winter. And when you switch drapes, send out the ones you’ve taken down for cleaning so they’ll be ready when you need them again.

Decorative baskets with colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables make fall decorating a cinch!

You can replace your knick-knacks more often. Bring out your favorite vases in the spring to hold cut flowers. Then in the autumn, replace them with baskets to hold fresh fruit and vegetables. Fill your wall space with dried twigs and flowers in the fall and create centerpieces from the last of your herb garden. During the winter, bring out your scented candles and holiday accessories to enjoy for the entire season.

When you make accessory changes an integral part of your seasonal wardrobe switch, you can enjoy each special purchase as if it’s brand new. You know that feeling you get when you pull out your favorite pair of leggings each fall? Expect to experience the same renewed jolt of wonder with each statuette, blown-glass bird, and wooden carving as you bring them out from storage. Have a home for the seasons!

The Benefits of Hand-Knotted Rugs

Hand-knotted rugs are truly works of art. Each is as unique as a Rembrandt, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece made of love, sweat, and fabric. These wool or silk rugs are creations you can be proud to add to your estate and pass down to the next generation as family heirlooms.

Some people insist that a hand-knotted rug is impractical because they have young children or pets. Others claim that only the colors and patterns of their rugs are important, not the source. Still others decry the price of a hand-knotted rug and question the value.

As you rifle through a rack of hand-knotted rugs, consider the work that went into each piece. A skilled weaver may have spent as long as a year tying each knot. Large hand-knotted rugs often require a team of experienced weavers working for months to achieve the intricate patterns found in these tightly knotted floor coverings. If you don’t want to throw just anything onto your floors, a hand-knotted rug can add grace to any surface.

In addition to the superior workmanship, you will find other benefits associated with hand-knotted rugs:

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