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Maintaining Antique Rugs

Posted on 24 December 2013

Rugs can last hundreds of years with correct care and maintenance, and it is important that these works of art are looked after. There are many different types of damage, from foot traffic wear that occurs over time, rough vacuuming, moth damage to burns or floods. Damage should be repaired as soon as you notice it to prevent it from getting worse and ruining your rug.

To prevent damage your rug you should check it regularly for moths (See our blog post here to find out more about Moth Damage). Always look at the underside of the rug for larvae. Moth balls, cedar shavings and moth spray can help to keep your rugs free from infestation.

You should vacuum rugs weekly if they are in a high-traffic area, and always make sure that you hoover as much of the underside as possible as well because this is where the moth larvae are most likely to be. Regular vacuuming should help to prevent the build up of dirt and grit that can cause damage to the foundation of the rug. However always avoid the rollerbrush attachments as these can do more harm than good to your rugs.

Rotate the rug at least once a year, although more often if it is subjected to heavy traffic, as this will spread the wear evenly and will stop the rug from having worn out patches. Although exposure to sunlight does not cause the vegetable dyes in your rugs to fade, prolonged exposure is not good for your rugs. Light can dry out and oxidise the wool, which will weaken the fibres. Only synthetic dyes are faded by sunlight.

You should never store your rug in a cupboard or attic as this is likely to result in a moth infestation. If your rug gets wet make sure it is hung up to dry – if it is left on a wet floor, or the wet rug is laid flat it can result in dry rot because water cannot escape from under the rug.

Finally, never use chemical cleaners or industrial carpet cleaners on your handmade rugs, stains will worsen and fibres will break. For any stains or general dirt get in touch with us so that we can professionally clean it for you. Although we can fix damage to antique rugs caused by moth, burns and water, it can be a costly job depending on the extent of the damage.

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