Whether you have bought an inexpensive rug or something more upscale like a Persian rug, you will want it to look as good as possible for as long as possible. On occasions, during busy periods I help out at Persian Modern Rugs, an upmarket carpet warehouse in London, and we would always give the following advice to rug purchasers to help them maintain the rug in pristine condition. These are what NOT to do tips – avoid the following at all costs unless you want to ruin your rug!
!. Using your rug in the wrong area of your house will ruin it. For instance, if you have a silk rug you should never put it in an area where it will have outdoor shoes walking across it. Whilst silk is a very tough material for clothes it is not designed for heavy footfall. The finer the wool rug the more wear and tear you can give it so for a living room or hallway buy the best you can afford. Rely on a reputable company or rug expert to tell you what is needed and where.
2. Not using a suitable underlay for an expensive rug. Failure to do so will cause a few problems, the first being leaving the back of the knots unprotected from being crushed against the floor. Secondly, an underlay will allow the dirt to pass through the back of the rug which will reduce the friction and wear within the base of the knots. Thirdly, if the rug rucks and stays that way to form ridges you will see ‘ridge wear’ form over time which is the top of the ridge being worn away to leave a line the bare warp and weft.
3. Leaving your rug hidden under furniture. Any area your rug is left undisturbed in the dark and peace under a bed, wardrobe or sofa will be a green light to moths and carpet beetles. Always make the effort to vacuum these areas to disturb the moths etc. and if that is impossible always leave a good quality moth trap nearby.
4. Not vacuuming your rug on a regular basis will lead to a build-up of household dust and grit as well as external oils and grease settling. Do this on a weekly basis and every 6 months try and take the trouble to turn the rug over and vacuum the floor/carpet as well as the reverse.
5. Not turning you rug will result in traffic patterns as it ages. Unfortunately, your rug will normally suit your room better as you look either into or down the lie of the pile so turning it 180 degrees is not ideal but try to if possible.
6. Leaving your rug in direct sunlight will always result in fading – no matter what the salesman or website tells you, UV light will strip colour from any fibre. This at least applies to materials and dyes from handmade rugs! If you must allow a rug to be subjected to sunlight then use a clear UV filter on the inside of your windows.
7. Leaving your puppy or kitten to chew your rug. Animals love the smell of the natural oils in the wool of a handmade rug and will therefore like to sleep on and chew your rug. Once they have made inroads into it you must have it restored immediately to avoid furthermore expensive damage as it unravels. This applies to any minimal initial damage!
8. Leaving your puppy, kitten, child or older relative to pee on your rug. The uric acid in the urine is highly corrosive and unpleasant but if you have the rug immediately cleaned the effect will be negated and there will be no bleaching and smell.
9. Leaving tea, coffee and any hot drinks to lie on the rug will bleach and stain the rug. The heat of the liquid will scald and strip the will slightly anyway, but you must mop up the excess and dilute with cold water before having the rug professionally cleaned.
10. Red wine spills can seriously ruin your rug! If you leave the wine to dry and lock in – and remember that grape skins and juice are used as a dye colour! - you will have a permanent stain and even if it can be removed that area will always be a different colour anyway. The sooner you get to mop up the wet excess, before diluting towards the centre of the spill and mopping again, the less noticeable the spill will be.