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How to Look After an Antique Rug

Posted on 01 February 2014

Antique rugs are fantastic works of art, and they should be looked after to prolong their lifespan. Not only can they have sentimental value, as many rugs are passed down through families, they often have monetary value as well. If you have an antique rug, whether you’ve had it for years or have just bought or inherited it, it is important that you know how to best look after it while it is in your care.

1. Keeping your antique rug clean is a must, and it should be vacuumed weekly. Make sure to do this gently and avoid using rollerbrush attachments at all costs as these could ruin your rug. Vacuum both sides of your rug, the underside is where moth larvae is most likely to be found, or for eggs to be laid. This regular vacuuming should slow down the build-up of dust, dirt and grit that can get embedded in the foundation.

2. Keep your rug out of bright sunlight (although in this country it is unlikely that we will ever have enough sunshine to damage the rug). Vegetable dyes do not fade, but bright light can weaken the fibres as the wool is oxidised.

3. In the unfortunate event that something get spilled on the antique rug, the first thing you should do is try to blot any liquid out of it. Do not scrub it as this could cause the dyes to run or the fibres to untwist and break, but use a clean cloth or kitchen towel to remove as much of the liquid as possible.

4. If the dyes are running into the cloth or kitchen towel, stop what you are doing as any further blotting will make the situation worse. However if the dyes are staying put, continue blotting as much as you can. Put a towel underneath the affected area so that any moisture can be absorbed from the underside.

5. If it is very wet it will need to be air dried to avoid mildew and eventually dry rot. Try propping the rug up or hanging it over something to let it dry naturally.

6. Never use household cleaning products on an antique rug, restoration of colour run or colour fading can be very expensive and is usually an avoidable cost if you know how to handle the spill.

7. If there is a stain on an antique rug after a spill, it is advisable to get it cleaned as soon as possible; the longer it is left the more difficult it can be to get out depending on what it was that was spilled on it. Carpet cleaners will also damage the rug, so please do not try to use one to remove a stain.

We recommend that rugs are cleaned every 2 -3 years by professionals to keep it in top condition. If the rug is in a very high-traffic area then it may be necessary to clean it more regularly. Stains, whether they are caused by an accidental spill, muddy feet, our beloved pets or anything else are removable if you know the right combination of chemicals to use to lift the stain; fortunately this knowledge is possessed by those in our fantastic workshop for cleaning and restoration. Antique rugs can last for hundreds of years with correct care and maintenance, so if there is an accident do not hesitate to phone us straight away, or if you have a rug that has not been cleaned for a while, get in touch to arrange an appointment today.

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