Frequently Asked Questions
Oriental and other rugs should be vacuumed regularly, particularly in high traffic areas. Eighty percent of soil in rugs is dry particulate matter, which acts as sandpaper and accelerates wear if it is not removed. Thicker rugs that are not regularly vacuumed can become impacted with dry soil over time, making it difficult, if not impossible, to remove.
It is critical to immediately absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Apply a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar and blot – do not rub – the area with white tissue or white towels. Resist the temptation to use over-the-counter spot removers. Most are too aggressive and contain some type of bleach. Spotters applied directly to the rug can leave soap residue and cause rapid re-soiling.
Periodic cleaning by a qualified professional rug cleaner removes the soil that dulls the color and reduces the luster of wool. In addition, regular cleaning can prevent thorny problems such as moth infestations, which can seriously affect the beauty and value of a rug. Oriental and area rugs should be cleaned every one to five years, depending on their location and traffic, to maintain their appearance, condition, and value.
Rugs should never be cleaned at your home unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as size or weight, which prohibit them from being transported to a plant for cleaning. This is generally not an issue when doing business with qualified, professional rug cleaners, who pick up and deliver rugs as part of their service. In-home cleaning leaves soap and dirt residue in the rug that causes it to re-soil quickly, the fringe cannot be cleaned in-home, and inadequate drying may cause the rug to mildew.
The rug care industry is no different than other industries. The most qualified rug care specialists distinguish themselves by their experience, in-depth knowledge of rugs, technical excellence, and customer service. For example, the best rug care specialists will be able to identify your rugs based on rug type, where and when it was made, and how it was constructed. This information is necessary to determine the best cleaning method. Before having your rugs professionally cleaned, as a few questions. How long has the company been in business and how experienced is their staff? Are they active in industry associations, such as the Association of Rug Care Specialists? Do they have their own cleaning plant or do they subcontract the work? Investing a few minutes to ask these and other questions can pay significant dividends.
There are three types of soils found on rugs and carpet. The first is spots, which can be removed, and stains, which are often permanent. The second is unattached surface litter, such as gritty dirt tracked in by feet, pet hair, lint, and the like. Gritty soil scratches and dulls fibers and should be vacuumed at least once a week to reduce damage and extend the life of the carpet. The third type of soil is sticky oil and greases containing tiny pieces of soil material which adhere to the fibers in rugs and carpets. Professional cleaning can remove this type of soil, however the longer it is on the fibers the more difficult it is to remove.
When some rugs are washed during the cleaning process, the dyes may weaken and bleed. There are many causes of dye bleeding in rugs. Some of them, such as defective dyes and dying methods and after-market “painting” may not be apparent at the time of purchase. Other causes of bleeding dyes are pet urine, sunlight, certain fumes, and common chemicals and over-the-counter spot removers.
Fringes are the Achilles heel of rugs because they deteriorate with normal foot traffic, vacuuming, cleaning, and other conditions. Because of their tenuous nature, fringes need to be replaced periodically.
Oriental rugs have variations in color because they are made by hand. Variations in surface color, knot density, pile height, shape, and end finishes make hand-knotted rugs more interesting and spontaneous than those made by machine. One of the most common characteristics of oriental rugs is the color variation known as abrash. These variations may appear as bands or horizontal bars and can vary from very subtle shade differences to distinct or even bold variations in certain colors of the rug. These distinct color variations are not defects but are characteristics of the many variables and dye lot differences that went into knotting the rug.
All rugs, from family heirlooms to estate sale finds to new purchases, need a protective rug pad. Rug pads minimize slippage, increase the life of the rug, make rugs feel thicker and more luxurious, and absorb noise.
Design is one of many components used to identify oriental rugs. We identify rugs by technical analysis that includes the materials used to make the rug, method of construction, dyes, and design.
Most oriental rugs made after World War II, including those made today, will not appreciate in value. In fact, purchasers most likely paid more for some rugs in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s than the rugs are worth today.
A rug’s value depends on many things, including the type of rug, how and when it was made, its artistic merit, and its condition. An old rug in poor condition is just an old rug; however some old rugs are worth repairing to restore their beauty and usefulness.
Some older, traditional pre-World War II Persian rugs, such as Ferahan Sarouk, Motashem Kashan, Tabriz, Bijar and Heriz pieces, will always have a market. However, beginning in the 1960’s, the quality of Persian rugs has gradually deteriorated. Since the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979 and the embargo on Persian good in 1987, which was lifted in 1999, other countries have improved the quality of their rugs and increased their output. It is our opinion that the quality of Persian rugs will return slowly.
The value of only a few Persian rugs, such as Nain and Isfahan, and silk rugs, is partially determined by knot count. New, mass-produced rugs from China, India, and Pakistan, vary in quality and design. Generally speaking, when these rugs are new they have more knots per square inch and a higher price per square foot. Once they are on the secondary market their values are not based on knot count.
Latex is an adhesive that anchors tufts to the primary backing, adds dimensional stability, and attaches a secondary backing to the rug. Latex will commonly break down due to things like gases in the air, floor waxes, traffic and sunlight. This deterioration will appear as bubbles, powdery residue, or backing separation.
White knots are caused by breaks in a rug’s foundation when it is still on the loom. The breaks are spliced together by tying two knots at each end of the break. When the rug is new, the full length of the pile can obscure these white knots. Eventually, foot traffic, as well as a thorough cleaning, will reveal these knots. They should never be cut, which would create a weakness in the rug’s foundation.