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Rug Care


Hand-Knotted and Hand-Woven Rugs

Generally speaking, hand-knotted rugs are the most durable rugs with regard to construction. Construction qualities can range from very high to very low, not only in knot count, but also when describing the wool or other materials used in the weaving of the rug. Depending on the overall quality of the rug and the care you give it, hand-knotted pieces can last for generations. Make sure you never vacuum the fringes of a hand-knotted rug; instead, disable the vacuum cleaner's beater bar. Hand-knotted rugs can be stored either rolled or folded, depending on the knot density. For rugs with a higher knot count, rolling is preferable to prevent breakage of the foundation. Should the fringe of your hand-knotted rug become damaged, seek immediate assistance from a reputable rug repair workshop.

Hand-Tufted Rugs

While handmade in quality, these rugs are not knotted by hand and are made with the assistance of a tufting gun. Hand-tufted rugs are often less expensive than hand knotted-pieces and can often be more fashion–oriented. Because they take less time to produce, hand-tufted pieces can follow the latest fads and color trends. Whereas a hand-knotted rug might take months or years to produce, hand-tufted rugs usually take only a matter of days or weeks. As with hand-knotted rugs, there is a wide range of qualities offered within the tufted category, including variations by pile fiber types and the density of the tufts. Always disable your vacuum cleaner's beater bar prior to cleaning your hand-tufted rug. Shag tufted rugs should simply be carried outside and beaten, as vacuuming can seriously damage the rug.

Since no knots anchor the yarns of the pile in tufted rugs, a canvas backing is applied to the back of the rug instead, using latex to secure the fibers. Over time, the rug's backing may become stiff, the latex may deteriorate into a non–toxic white powder or it may begin to emit a smell similar to burnt rubber. This type of aging is a characteristic of the latex and is not considered to be a defect. Please be aware that any type of spill or accident that exposes your tufted rug to moisture may accelerate this process, especially if care is not taken to clean and dry the rug immediately. Many people do not find the repair of hand-tufted rugs to be cost effective as they are relatively inexpensive when compared to hand-knotted rugs. Repairs to hand-tufted rugs are possible but should be undertaken only by reputable rug repair specialists.

When storing a hand-tufted rug, never fold it; instead, roll it in a tight cylinder shape to prevent the foundation from breaking or the backing from wrinkling. Never place heavy objects on top of a rolled rug as they may create creases in the rug and can even break the backing. Should the fringe of a hand-tufted rug become detached, it often can be simply sewn back on to the rug.


Power-loomed and machine made rugs are woven on machines often controlled by computers.

There are varying qualities of power-loomed rugs. Density, fiber content and number of colors used are all considered in determining the rug's quality. Because machine made rugs can be produced in a matter of minutes, these pieces are often much more fashion–oriented toward the trends of the day. The resources and time invested in creating a machine made rug are generally much less than those required for hand-knotted or even hand-tufted product. That investment is reflected in the cost of each rug.

Some machine made rugs have fringe while others do not. When present fringe is sewn on, and care should be taken when vacuuming as it may easily come apart from the rug. Fringe can be sewn back on, provided no damage has been done to the rug's foundation. Serging at the edges of a machine made rug also can unravel when cleaned or vacuumed incorrectly. Always disable the vacuum cleaner's beater bars prior to cleaning the rug. Machine made rugs should be stored rolled rather than folded as the rug's foundation could be adversely affected by folding, and creases may appear if the rug is folded. Just as with a tufted rug, you should not place objects on top of a rolled power-loomed rug as creasing is likely to occur.




All synthetic and wool pile rugs characteristically lose short fibers. This “shedding" process is often created when the pile is cut to required height during production and fibers fall onto the surface as “fluff." Shedding is not considered a defect. The amount of shedding will vary based on material type and quality, pile height, age of the rug and knot density.


Certain types of yarns used in rug making are “over-twisted" in order to give the rug the desired texture, and often a yarn tuft will rise above the surface (commonly called “sprouting"). Sprouting is one of the easiest issues to remedy by merely cutting the sprout (the yarn sticking up above the surface) with a pair of scissors so that it is flush with the rug's surface. DO NOT PULL THE SPROUT AS IT CAN DAMAGE THE RUG. Also be aware that high heels can cause sprouting as well, even in flat-weave rugs.


The term “curling" can be used to describe a couple of situations. Rugs are often shipped rolled tightly into a cylindrical shape. Sometimes, when the rugs are initially unpacked, the edges will curl under, refusing to lay flat. The rug's foundation or backing must be given time to relax after being unpacked. Often times, reverse rolling the rug will speed the relaxing process. Curling can also be a sign in hand-knotted rugs of a very finely and tightly woven piece. Sewing strips of leather along the edges in cases such as these will prevent curling. Such work should be undertaken only by a professional rug repair workshop.

The term “curling" is also used to describe the stretching/wrinkling that occurs when a rug is placed on top of wall–to–wall carpet, usually with heavy furniture placed on the rug's surface. This is not a defect of the rug, although in such cases the rug will never lay flat again. It is simply due to the fact that the rug's foundation has been stretched.



Insect Damage.

Rugs should be checked periodically for evidence of insect infestation, which can be introduced in many ways, including pets, flowers or food. Your rug's worst enemy is the moth. While adult moths will not eat wool, their larvae feed on it in dark, quiet, warm places, such as areas hidden under furniture. Therefore, regular cleaning is necessary to avoid moth infestation. Moving your rug into the hot sun for a few hours every now and then is a good precaution. Moths are most active during the summer months, so exercise special care during this time. While many anti-moth sprays are available on the market, be sure that they will not harm your rug's fibers or colors before applying them. Camphor powder also has been used for many years to deter moths. Dusting the back of your rug with camphor powder and lightly shaking it can be an effective preventative measure.


Heavy furniture may damage your rug. If the feet of your furniture are sharp or are made of metal, you must use some sort of protector prior to setting such furniture on top of your rug. There are many types of protectors available. Furniture floaters, which have a smooth surface and adhere directly to the legs of your furniture, leave minimal indentations on the surface of your rug. If the pile of your rug has become crushed and you wish to attempt to restore it to its normal height, try brushing the affected area gently with a soft brush.


Excessive fading can occur if a rug is exposed to long periods of strong sunlight. Reduce the effects of fading by either repositioning the rug or drawing blinds or draperies. Over the years, however, any light will eventually mellow the colors, and sometimes this subdued coloration can be an advantage. Faded, mellow colors are often very appealing to many rug connoisseurs.

Cleaning Products.

Take care that all cleaning products you choose to apply directly to your rug are safe and will not damage your rug. Also be aware that some cleaning agents used in close proximity to your rug can have harmful effects, even though they might not be applied directly to the rug itself. Perform a thorough check of all cleaning agents to be used on underlying surfaces and in surrounding areas, such as baseboards, windows, etc., to ensure that they are safe to use around your rug.

Plant Lovers, Beware.

Over-watering, spilled flower pots and placing planters directly on your rug will create continuous dampness and can lead to mildew rot — an irreparable type of damage. Color transfer may also occur if a rug is placed on top of existing carpeting.

Rug Storage.

If you need to store your rug for any lengthy amount of time, first make sure that it is clean and dry. It is advisable to treat it with a moth repellent (see “Insect Damage"), then roll the rug into a tight cylinder against the nap and wrap in a breathable fabric, such as a sheet. Plastic wrapping will prevent the rug from breathing. The rug should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area. Some larger hand-knotted rugs can be stored folded if not too tightly woven; however, these too should be treated for moths and stored in breathable fabric. Never store heavy objects on your rolled or folded rugs as doing so could cause permanent damage by creasing the rug and, in some cases, breaking the foundation or backing of a tufted rug.