Rug Maintenance

General Rug Maintenance

So you’ve just bought a beautiful hand-made rug and, naturally, you’d like to keep it in good order.  Here I will deal with some of the do’s and don’t‘s of maintaining your rug so you can maximise it’s lifespan.  The great thing about a good hand-made rug is that, given the right care, they keep their looks brilliantly – often actually improving with age.

This article is for wool rugs – I will deal with silks in a separate post.

Should I vacuum my rug?

Yes.  If it’s a particularly old carpet and the pile is extremely low, you may want to use a suction-only vacuum (i.e. without a brush or beater bar).  But in most cases, a good brushing is exactly what the rug requires.  Brushing out the grit that may otherwise sink low into the pile and cause abrasion (see Part 2) is key to maintaining a rug.

My only tip is avoid the fringes with the brush – just use an attachment for these as they can quickly weaken.  The fringe is the Achilles’ heel of most rugs – the point from which most knotted rugs are most likely to start losing pile from the edge.

Mud (or worse):

It happens.  People walk in from the outside and deposit mud (or worse) on a rug.  LET IT DRY! However much you’re just dying to get down and start scrubbing with a wet cloth, please try to contain yourself.  Once the mud (or worse) has dried, scrape at it with a knife or razor blade, and it should break up allowing you to vacuum up the remains.

Liquid Spills:

This also happens.  Whether it’s a cuppa with mum, a glass of wine with dinner guests, or beer from that party the kids never had, there are ample opportunities for liquid spillages on our lovely rugs.  Here is some simple, universal advice for spills:

  • Blot (don’t rub!) with a kitchen towel.
  • Repeat until no more liquid comes up.
  • If you can still see the stain, pour cold water on it.
  • Blot again (don’t rub!).
  • Water again.
  • Blot again (don’t rub!).
  • You get the picture…

This is the first port of call and I would say 90% of spills come up.  Be sure to do it quickly after the event; don’t wait until the morning after.  If you’re reading this because you’re parents are back tomorrow and your party got a bit out of hand, best to deal with it now – that way you might still get away with denying everything.

If it’s still not out, I would recommend Vanish carpet mousse in moderation once the stain is dry.  The worse thing that you can do is to panic and get all the sprays out from under the kitchen sink.  If you stick to the advice here, it also gives us the best chance to remove a really tough stain if you ask us to.

Tufts sticking up:

Occasionally, as a rug gets used, the odd tuft of wool will poke up and stand tall over the others.  This is more common where hand-spun yarn is used, but also in Persian Gebbeh rugs where the pile is so think.  The tuft is almost certainly still knotted at the base, but missed the cut in the finishing process.  Do not pull it out!  Just pull it gently enough to straighten it out and snip it off at the height of the rest of the pile.

Hopefully this will give you the confidence to treat your rug properly.  When it comes to a periodical, professional clean, see Part 2 – Cleaning a Rug Properly.

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