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How to Keep Your Handmade Rugs Clean
Keeping your Persian and oriental rugs clean is kind of like a dance. If you clean a handmade rug too aggressively you could damage it or inadvertently accelerate the wear and tear of the rug. Of course not cleaning your rug at all leads to a similar outcome. So that's why we like to review with our customer's ways to keep your rugs clean over time.
Gentle and consistent, but not too often. Put simply, vacuum your rug on a weekly basis. This will keep the majority of dirt and dust from settling into the fibers of your rug. Every few weeks or so, depending on the use of the rug, consider vacuuming the back of the rug too.
A quick and easy test for dirt and dust
Simply fold over the corner of your rug. Beat the back of your rug with your hand. Do dust and dirt fall out? (Make sure the lights are on or the sun is shining so you can see!) If yes, then it's time to clean the rug. You might also consider vacuuming the rug first. If you see dust and dirt after vacuuming and beating, then it's really time to clean your rug!
Give special attention to spills before they can set. If you tend to spill immediately, then most times lukewarm water is sufficient to dilute and remove any debris, whether liquid or otherwise. If you feel a stronger cleaning agent is required, then use a combination of mild dish soap and lukewarm water. A cleaning agent stronger than this goes into professional cleaner territory.
When you should get your rugs professionally cleaned
Generally, experts recommend getting your oriental and Persian rugs cleaned annually. This allows for deep cleaning of your rug, without harming the fibers or causing the colors to bleed. However, if you experience a significant spill that results in a stain then you may consider seeking professional help sooner. The same goes for a rug that receives significant wear and tears.
Our recommendation is to choose a holiday that is meaningful to you or your family. Plan to have your rugs professionally cleaned each year, in preparation for that holiday.
If you want to deep clean but don't want to hire a professional cleaner
We get questions about this all the time, and we understand. The key here is too deep clean your rug without using a harsh cleaning agent. Persian and oriental rugs date back thousands of years. Obviously, folks back then did not have access to commercially designed professional cleaning agents. So how did they do it? Water and elbow grease!
If you choose this route, you'll want to vacuum the front and back of the rug three times each. Then choose a sunny day and a flat open space to lay out your rug. Use a hose or a bucket and soak your rug with water. Gently use a flat broom and groom the nap downward. Be sure you don't groom the nap against the fibers, as this will stress the fibers and potentially cause them to fray. Allow your rug to dry completely. If your sunshine disappears, use fans to dry the rug completely. Any leftover moisture could result in mold, so be sure to give proper attention to this last step.
Why we recommend seeking a professional oriental rug cleaner anyway
This will result in the best possible outcome for your investment. Professional carpet cleaners take precautions against color migration (color bleed). And it gets pretty technical, too. Professionals pay close attention to the pH balance of the cleaner that best suits the materials in your rug. They may choose to mist or immerse. They might use a rinse or shampoo. They will pay attention to the direction of the nap and ensure the integrity of the fibers in both the rug and the fringe. If you want to know more, here is a great article by Jon Don about how professionals think about pH balance and additives in various detergents.
And if you want a moment of zen
Check out the team at Advanced Cleaning Systems videos on YouTube. Their videos get more than a million views for a reason! And we seriously love their Rug Spa Episodes. Enjoy!