How to clean a handwoven rug?

December 23, 2012 by
Filed under: Antiques Rugs 

Question by Kelly V: How to clean a handwoven rug?
I have a rug that is handwoven from India. I am finding it hard to keep free of debri. When I used a vaccum little fuzzy things came up on a few spots of the rug. Any other ideas?

Best answer:

Answer by mshonnie
Handwoven rugs are not meant to be vacuumed as they are very delicate, vacuuming only tears up the fibers and eventually they will break down and the rug will just fall apart it is always best just to shake out the rug outside this is the best way to clean Good Luck !

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One Comment on How to clean a handwoven rug?

  1. RugManRobert on Sun, 23rd Dec 2012 6:49 am

    The information the person above gave is not exactly true. Although many hand woven antique pieces of 100 plus years age can be very delicate, for a newer rug this would not necessarily be the case.

    Unless the carpet is extremely tattered, you don’t really have to be all that careful with vacuuming per se, unless of course you get the fringe stuck in the rug’s roller, which can and may damage the rug.

    Here is a quick answer: You either are experiencing a break in period of shedding, or, your carpet is made of an inferior wool. Test the pile: Take your hand and rub vigorously on the pile back and forth a dozen times in one isolated area. If you roll all the fibers which are released into a circular ball and it is equal to or greater than the pile of the rug, you probably have an inferior quality wool.

    Here is a longer answer:

    back to your main question, it is not uncommon for many rugs to have what you would call a “break in period” where over the first several months you may experience moderate shedding which is not entirely unusual. Use of a beater vacuum as opposed to an air suction vacuum will help the carpet come to a resting point where shedding dissipates and comes to a plateau.

    Alternatively, there are some poorly made carpets which use an inferior wool which in the industry is known as a “dead wool.” Some characteristics of such include a pile which is “coarse and dry” to the touch. The decision of what type of wool to use traditionally speaking, is primarily a function of knot density. What determines the quality of wool is the length of the “staple” which basically measures the length of each fiber to comprise one strand of yarn or “ply”. This dead wool often appears in low knot count rugs for high production carpets geared towards the masses where profit is the objective. The proper balance of wool quality and knot count takes a highly knowledgeable weaver/producer to ascertain, although many superstores have bastardized the industry and therefore are flooding the market with junk rugs.

    A note on high volume low quality rugs: superstores such as ikea, costco and other are just to name a few. Sometimes these pieces wind up at your local church auction or “government seized Persian rug sale” maybe even at that “going out of business sale” that’s been running for the past 2 years… They have collections which are called hamadans, and bokhara designs (and other) sometimes actually made in Iran and India, however are of much inferior quality not to be confused with traditional hamadan and bokhara rugs which generally are of higher quality. These superstores produce the lowest quality rugs possible, and often spend more money on importing the rugs to the states than they do on the cost of the whole container of merchandise combined.

    Important side note: Do not attribute quality to the country of origin.

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