How to Care for Your Oriental Rug

Your rug is a piece of high quality hand workmanship and should not be neglected. Maintaining your Oriental rug takes some easy care which will help it last many years for you.

Vacuuming an Oriental Rug

1. Periodic thorough vacuuming (don’t forget about the areas of the carpets that are hidden under skirted furniture) is recommended as is hand washing your carpet yearly or as needed every two years. The carpet should be vacuumed in a side to side sweep (from bound edge to bound edge). This motion agitates the pile just enough to loosen any dust or dirt that has penetrated the rug surface while keeping the design of the rug from becoming blurry. Fringe ends should not be vacuumed. You should simply shake the fringe ends out by flipping the end of the rug up and down and then sweeping the dirt that falls out from the fringe. Vacuum cleaners can get stuck on the fringes and tear them from the carpet.

2. You need to pay attention to your carpet’s condition. A carpet that gets foot traffic should be turned twice a year to give it even wear. It may also need to be turned if it is near a window causing direct sunlight to hit your rug. This can cause uneven fading in some Oriental rugs. From time to time, a vacuuming on the reverse side of the rug is advised. This will release any dirt or sand that has penetrated the pile and is caught near the foundation of the rug. If this dirt is left near the foundation of the rug it can cause premature thinning of the carpet’s pile by cutting into the foundation which eventually presents wear on your rug.


Worn Chinese Rug

3. You should have your carpets washed at least once a year with heavy traffic or every two years with lighter traffic. Many rug cleaners use bleach to whiten the fringe, but it is strongly NOT RECOMMENDED. The bleach weakens the cotton fibers which causes the fringe to wear down faster. Some Oriental carpets are antique and in a more fragile condition. These rugs need more delicate cleaning. If the antique carpet is scatter size, a gentle shake outdoors is all it needs. With an occasional hand wash, you won’t cause any damage to your rug, see our article on How To Hand Wash Your Oriental Rug.

Worn Fringe End

4. If the ends of your rug are unraveling where there was once fringe, you should take your rug to a professional Oriental rug repair person to have it overcasted to prevent the carpet from further damage.

Worn Persian Rug Edge

5. Keep an eye on the edges of your rug. Make sure that there is a sufficient amount of wool that is wrapped around the edge along the entire length of the rug. Edges that have broken away from the rug can be repaired, but it becomes an extensive job requiring reweaving if the damage is not caught early.

Notes on caring for your Oriental rug:

If you are not sure of the foundation material of the rug, you can look at the fringe. Cotton fringe equals cotton foundation, wool fringe equals woolen foundation. The foundation material has nothing to do with the pile of the rug which is almost always wool, with the exception of silk rugs.

Persian Rug Moth Damage

Please be aware of the areas under your furniture such as a skirted chair or sofa. This is where moths can hide undisturbed and lay their eggs. Moth larvae will chew on the wool at the base of the carpet and you will notice that tufts of wool are missing in areas that moths have laid their eggs.

Don’t forget to have your carpets washed at least once a year with heavy traffic or every two years with lighter traffic. Removing the grime from the surface of the wool and deep embedded sand will lessen the friction on the pile, thus lessening the wear and tear on your carpet.

Do not use bleach on your rug’s fringe when hand cleaning. The bleach weakens the cotton fibers and the fringe will break more easily with foot traffic.

All content provided above is for informational purposes only. Neither the author nor Jessie's Oriental Rugs LLC assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter. See Terms and Conditions for more information.