Much like most fine things, a genuine handknotted Oriental rug will last for several generations if you look after it and protect it from premature wear and the most common kinds of damage.
Amongst the most common problems are water damage, moth damage, pet stains, vacuum cleaner damage, chemical damage, sun damage, and uneven wear.
Here are some answers to the most frequently-asked questions about caring/cleaning your Oriental rugs.
Most varieties of Oriental rugs have wool pile, but many have cotton warp and weft (the warp is the foundation upon which knots are tied to create the pile; the weft runs over and under warp strings between rows of knots to strengthen the rug from side to side). This cotton foundation can be weakened, and sometimes actually rotted, if the rug is wetted repeatedly and not properly dried.
Should you experience water damage, the rug must be removed quickly, properly cleaned, and allowed to dry completely.
Flying clothes moths do not eat your rugs, but the females do lay hundreds of eggs each, and the eggs hatch into larvae that consume wool, fur, feather, and silk fibers. Moths and their larvae thrive in dark, undisturbed areas where a rug gets little traffic and is not often vacuumed. A bad infestation leaves a cobweb-like veil in the area of the damage, along with fine, sand-like debris.
A rug damaged by moths is often repairable.
To prevent moth damage:
Vacuum the entire face of the rug weekly if possible. At least several times a year, vacuum the back side of the rug and the pad and floor underneath.
Vacuum Cleaner Damage
Regular vacuuming of an Oriental rug with an electric vacuum cleaner is good for the rug--a dirty rug wears prematurely, and regular vacuuming helps prevent dirt on the surface of the rug from filtering down into the pile where it can accumulate and cause increased wear.
Be careful with a cleaner equipped with a power brush or "beater bar"; these powered brushes in the vacuum head help the vacuum do a good job on machine-made carpeting, but they cause a raking effect on the top layer of an Oriental rug.
If your vacuum cleaner has a power brush, use it only occasionally and lightly.
Try not to run an upright vacuum or a power brush attachment over fringes. The brush shreds the fringes and causes rapid wear.
Most rug dyes are quite resistant to sun fading or bleaching. Still, ultraviolet rays are a powerful force of Nature, and a rug will likely fade over time if used for years in a very sunny area. Consider sheer drapes to block some of the direct sunlight, and try to turn the rug end-for-end once a year to even out possible color changes.
A rug should be turned end-for-end once every year or two to even out wear and color change. Try not to use a rug on a very uneven floor. An area of the floor that is raised (a loose floorboard, a transition strip from one flooring material to another, etc.) causes the part of the rug that covers it to wear much more rapidly than the rest of the rug.
You should vacuum your rug often--both front and back sides, and turn it end-for-end once in a while.
Although many kinds of damage can be repaired, prevention is much easier and more cost effective.
Inspect the entire rug periodically for signs of wear or damage. Have your rug cleaned only when it really is dirty. When you see something wrong with your rug that is beyond your ability to rectify, don't hesitate to call us or any reputable Carpet dealer for advice. With just a bit of care your Oriental rug will provide many years of enjoyment, lots of compliments and pride of ownership.