1)  Is it true that I should not vacuum or clean my rugs?

Almost 80 % of soil in rugs is dry particulate matter.  Wool has an amazing ability to hold and hide soil.  That is good as far as appearances are concerned, but if the soil is not removed, when you walk on your rugs, the fibers move around and this gritty soil acts like sandpaper grinding away at the rug.  Looking at what is in your sweeper bag confirms the loss of fiber. When vacuuming your rugs, certain care is needed.

If rugs are not vacuumed and properly cleaned when needed, this soil can become so imbedded in the rug that it becomes impossible to remove.Vacuuming is the best thing you can do to keep your rugs clean.  Think of all the dust that settles on your furniture and hard floors.  That same dust settles on your rugs and needs to be removed, otherwise it works its way deeply into the rug.

To avoid undue wear on the rug, it is best to use a vacuum cleaner without a roller brush.  Vacuum with the lay of the nap of the rug.  Occasional use of the upright vacuum with a beater bar or roll brush may be done.  Caution: Stay away from the fringe.  If it is pulled into the vacuum, damage can occur.

Moth damage is much more likely to occur on soiled rugs.

SPECIAL NOTE:  If a rug dealer advises that the rug he is selling you should not be cleaned, he may be selling you a rug with serious foundation weakness or improper foundation painting or dye problems..


2)  Are carpet & rugs bad for people with allergies and asthma?

“Concerns that carpeting (and rugs ) in schools is contributing to an increase in respiratory problems, allergies and asthma in schools  are unfounded.” says Alan Hedge, professor of design and environmental studies at Cornell University.

Carpeting, he reports can improve IAQ because it captures and holds dirt, contaminates and allergens that would  otherwise become airborne.  He points out that Sweden, which banned carpeting in schools in the late 1980”s has experienced skyrocketing childhood asthma rates ever since, contrary to expectations.

Cornell News

March 19, 2001

3)  What effect will cleaning my rugs have on the indoor environment and my family’s health?

As Professor Hedge indicates, your rugs serve as a large indoor filter, collecting and filtering almost every spilled material, airborne contaminant or tracked in soil that enters the home.  Within these indoor pollutants are much more than simple dirt.  There are disease causing bacteria and germs, dust mites, dead skin particles and other particulates that can be respiratory irritants.

It’s good that your rugs and carpets collect these contaminants otherwise they would continue to migrate throughout your home.  However, just as you regularly clean other surfaces to make your home healthier, you also need to have your rugs regularly cleaned.

Dr. Michael Berry, former Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency and author of the book “Protecting the Built Environment–Cleaning for Health writes’  “From a public health perspective, I would find it impossible to justify the installation of carpets indoors without the existence of effective cleaning methods using environmentally sound cleaning technology by individuals properly trained in the application of those methods.”

While wall to wall carpet can be effectively cleaned, there are limitations to the amount of soil that can be removed.  A key benefit to loose rugs is that they can be taken up, turned over, shaken and vibrated to remove dust and then flood washed and rinsed repeatedly, just like putting clothes in a washing machine.


4)  How often should my rugs be cleaned?

Cleaning hand made rugs every 2 to 4 years is recommended by The Oriental Rug Importers of America .  Presence of children, pets and family members with allergies should also be considered.

Here is a simple test. Place a white piece of paper on top of the rug near a corner. Fold the corner of the rug over the top of the paper. Then beat the back of the rug and see what comes out. If a good bit of soil falls out of the rug, it is time to have the rug professionally cleaned.

Remember, due to wools ability to hide soil, the vast majority of wool rugs need to be cleaned far more often.


5)  Do my rugs have to be taken out of the house to be cleaned?

 Unless the rug is simply to large to move or there is furniture that can’t be cleared, that makes removing the rug and taking it to a rug cleaning studio, rugs should never be cleaned in the home. In-home cleaning is much cheaper but:

•   Rugs can hold up to 1 pound of dirt per square foot.  Vacuuming cannot remove this soil from deep in the foundation of the rug..

•   It is impossible to adequate rinse on location.  As a result, detergent and dirt residue will be left in the rug that not only causes the rug to re-soil quickly, but also may cause damage to the dyes over time.

•   The fringe cannot be cleaned properly.

•   Proper drying is not possible.  If the rugs remains damp over 24 hours, mildew may occur.

•   Wood floors may be damaged due to moisture.


6)  Can my carpet cleaner do a good job cleaning my rugs?

If an on location carpet cleaner has a dedicated rug cleaning facility, with dusting equipment, a place to submersion wash and rinse, a centrifuge or wringer to remove the water, a controlled drying room and a good understanding of the different cleaning requirements for rugs, he may be a good choice.  Basically a company who offers true submersion rug washing can easily clean your wall to wall carpet, but the vast majority of carpet cleaners are simply unqualified and ill equipped to clean your valuable rugs.


7)   Should rugs be placed on a pad?

Pads that are designed to use under rugs laid on carpet are specifically designed to prevent the rug from moving.  Rug padding designed to use on hard floor provides a proper amount of cushion for your rug. It serves as a “shock absorber” taking some of the stress from traffic on the rug.  It also adds good protection from slipping.  High quality pads for hardwood floors have a layer of cushion material on the top with an expanded vinyl layer underneath.  These pads can even be cleaned.  Rubber backed padding dries out over time and are not intended to be cleaned.


8)   What should I expect to pay to have my rugs cleaned?

Having a rug cleaned in your home by a carpet cleaning service will generally cost around $1.00 per square foot.  If a carpet cleaner takes the rug back to his shop and cleans it with his carpet cleaning equipment he will generally charge more.  There can be a cost disparity among rug cleaning companies.  Some do not have dusting equipment.  Some do not have a wringer or a centrifuge and just hang the rugs for them to drip dry.  Many use bleach to clean the fringe which does unseen but lasting damage to the very foundation of the rug.  As with most services, cost is generally related to quality performed. You get what you pay for.

Synthetic Rugs

There are many high quality synthetic fiber custom rugs on the market.  These can also best be cleaned in a rug shop.  Due to a difference in construction and stability, these can often be cleaned at a reduced charge.


9)   How much are my rugs worth?

The only way to get a real answer to that question is to have a qualified appraisal done.  The following information will provide some general guidelines.

To establish value, a rug’s origin will need to be determined.  The rug’s design, type of construction (style of knot, type of side cord, fringe construction etc.) quality of wool, type of dye used and color palette all indicate its origin and age.

Most rugs made in the last 50 years do not appreciate in value.  Just because a rug is old also does not mean it has great value.  Like any antique or piece of art, a rug’s value is determined by how collectable it is based on artistic merit and the supply and demand for that particular rug.

Many of these older rugs are from Persia (Iran). An embargo was imposed on Iran in 1987.  Since then many rugs have been imported form other Middle Eastern countries  The quality of these rugs, in many instances, has steadily improved.  Conversely, some of the rugs being imported now from Iran are of poor quality.

Knot count may or may not be a good indicator of value.  A few traditional Persian rug’s value are affected by knot count.  are  The value of only a few traditional Persian rugs is partially determined by knot count.

The value of silk rugs is also partially determined by knot count.  Another indicator of the value of a silk rug is pile height.  The shorter the pile height the more valuable the silk rug.

There are a large number of mass produced rugs imported from China, India and Pakistan.  Some of these rugs are hand knotted.  The size and number of knots per square inch does affect the price that should be paid for these rugs.  There are many of these mass produced rugs from these countries that are tufted rugs.  These rugs are held together by a latex adhesive and canvas type backing.  This latex will over time deteriorate, causing the rug to lose its stability.  The latex and backing can be re-applied.  However, some of the latex used in these rugs can develop a “rotten” odor that cannot be removed.


10)   How should rugs be prepared for storage?

Rugs should be professionally cleaned prior to storage.  Moth damage is best prevented by having clean rugs.  Odorless moth proofing can also be applied for additional protection.  Pet urine or feces or harmful spotting agents can cause dye migration or fading during storage.

Rugs should never be stored in plastic wrap.  The best wrap is acid free Tyvek.  It protects the rug yet allows it to breath as heat and humidity levels vary.  Rugs should be stored flat without other items stacked on top.  Cardboard tubes are available to store rugs in.


Emergency Rug Care Guide

It is important to test your rugs for colorfastness before accidents happen.  If the dyes were not set by the weaver, a simple water spill can cause dye migration.

1.  Dampen (not wet) a portion of a white towel with hot water.

2.  Bend open some yarns and press the damp towel inside the fibers.

3.  Hold for 15- 20 seconds.  Do not rub.

4.  Remove the towel and see if any color has transferred to the towel.

5.  Repeat for each color in the rug.

6.  If there is any color transfer fold up a dry white towel and place it on the damp spot. Put a weight on the towel and let it dry overnight.  Call us for service.

Food & Drink Spills

1.  Using a spoon, gently break up and remove solids if possible.

2.  If stain remains, apply some Club Soda to a white towel.

3.  Blot (not rub) with a white cotton towel.

4.  Repeat if needed until the spot disappears or stops transferring to the towel,

5.  Place a folded towel under and on top of the area.

6.  Stand on the towels to absorb moisture.

7.  Dry with a hair dryer on its cool setting while gently brushing in the direction of the nap.

Pet accidents can do permanent damage to a wool rug.  Professional care is needed.

 Rotating your rugs will help soften the effects of sun fading and traffic wear.  In rooms with direct sunlight or heavy traffic, rotate the rugs twice a year.