Oriental Rug Care: How to care for hand knotted area rugs

This article discusses long-term care and maintenance of hand-knotted (handmade) wool area rugs, including Oriental rugs and carpets. If you are dealing with an urgent rug accident, see Emergency Care for Oriental rugs.

People think that because Oriental rugs are valuable they must be pampered like fine China. But Oriental rugs have earned their reputation of being magical in part because of their sheer endurance. When they are dirty, they can be washed (unlike wall-to-wall carpeting, which can be surface cleaned only). And when they are injured they can be fixed. Their dyes resist fading and running, and their wool, full of natural oils, keeps many potential stains from penetrating and setting. We have seen that in the Middle East some new rugs are thrown into the streets for “aging,” where they are driven over by trucks and camels alike. They come through the ordeal looking much improved. Rugs are, as they say, forgiving.

Still, rugs need a congenial atmosphere and a little attention to help combat their several natural enemies: sunlight, moths, carpet beetles and moisture.

Rugs Fade in Sunlight. Be Careful!

A congenial atmosphere includes protection from too much sunlight. After inspecting rugs in many homes over the years, I have come to think that sunlight may be a rug’s principal nemesis—even to be feared, even, than moths. Sunlight streaming through a window directly onto a rug is virtually guaranteed to harm it, whether morning or afternoon, southern or western sunlight. Naturally dyed rugs and synthetically dyed rugs suffer equally. Colors fade unevenly and wool and cotton dry out and become brittle. A good rug can be spoiled in a month or less.

Of course there are situations where the risk to your rug is less clear, like when it is in a sunny room yet does not take direct sunlight. Be careful. Some rugs will take that much light and others will not—and there’s no way to know in advance which will and which won’t. It is possible and prudent to monitor your rug in this circumstance, which you may do by periodically comparing its colors on the front to those on the back of the rug. They should be the same. When colors are softer or lighter on the pile side of the rug than they are on the back, it’s time to take action.

You can eliminate or prevent the problem by keeping the curtains closed or by having your windows professionally coated with mylar (an invisible film which can be applied to your windows and which filters out harmful ultraviolet light). I must caution, however, that applying a mylar coating to certain windows may negate manufacturers’ warrantees. Mylar has the secondary effect of taking a couple of degrees of heat off hot summer sun and softening glare through a window.

Most damage is caused by light shining through a window, of course, but often rugs fade from sunlight streaming through a skylight. Sometimes people have no idea what’s happening because it occurs at a time of day when they’re not home. In my own house I once had to replace my Plexiglas skylight with Plexiglas that had been UV filtered. A special word of caution: don’t forget that if the sun is not coming directly through your window now, it may do so at a different time of the year when, for instance, the sun is lower in the southern sky.

If your rug has already suffered fading by the sun, there is still hope that it can be improved. If the fading is merely on the very tips of the pile (and you can determine that by looking closely at it), then washing the rug (professionally) may help the problem by simply abrading the faded tips of the wool. More severe fading can sometimes be improved by professional clipping of the entire pile. Occasionally a rug is so faded that neither of these methods will work, and then one must decide whether to accept the rug as it is, or to attempt to fade the entire rug evenly. This involves leaving the rug in the blistering sun, covering parts of the rug that are already faded and leaving exposed the previously unfaded portions of the rug. How long do you leave it in the sun? Until the job is done. That might be three days and it might be three weeks. It is obvious, though, that one must be cautious with this approach lest you cook your rug too long.


The second major enemy of Oriental rugs is moths. The moths you need to worry about are small and hardly noticeable. They are the same moths that raid food in the pantry and wool clothes in the closet. They do their damage in the larval stage when, as (horror of horrors) little maggot looking creatures, they eat tracks in wool rugs. In rugs with wool foundations they often eat right through the rug, leaving behind a web-like material. Moths can cause devastating damage to a rug in a matter of weeks. Here is some comforting news, though: moths rarely infest rugs and carpets that are in regular use. They prefer to be undisturbed, and they seek out rugs that are stored or are under furniture. They also appear to prefer dark places. So a rug that is walked on and vacuumed or swept is hardly at risk at all, except parts of it that may be under a never-disturbed bookcase or bed.

Rugs or portions of rugs covered by furniture must be disturbed from time to time to prevent moths from settling in. That means moving furniture off rugs every several months or so and vacuuming or sweeping. When inspecting rugs for moth activity, remember that most moth damage is to the back of a rug where moths are least likely to be disturbed. So examine the back of the rug along its perimeter and look for moths, moth larvae or the casing or webbing they leave behind.

You may elect to leave moth crystals in areas that are hard to get at, but remember that moth crystals lose their potency rather quickly. Rugs mounted on walls can attract moths because they typically are never disturbed. Check their backs in particular. I am now in the habit of handling rugs mounted on walls as I walk past them just to make them inhospitable hosts for moths.

If, after all your efforts to prevent moth damage, damage still occurs, don’t despair. Your rug can be repaired. The question will be whether the value of the rug warrants the cost of repair.

Storing Oriental Rugs Safely

Stored rugs are the most likely victims of moths, since in storage they usually are both undisturbed and in the dark. I would suggest that you store a rug in the following way. Moths seem to love dirty rugs, so start with a clean rug if possible. I would roll moth crystals into the rug, maybe a fistful into a 4 by 6 foot rug. Some people object to the smell and toxicity of moth crystals. An alternative is to leave a rug in the sunlight for a half-day on both sides, hoping thereby to kill any moth eggs in the rug. A third alternative is to spray the rug with a moth spray (Fuller Brush makes one) before you roll it. The smell from a spray seems to dissipate long before the smell of moth crystals does. Fold the rug, roll it up, and tie it. The next step is to place it in a heavy garbage bag, or a double or triple layer of bags and to seal it really well. If the carpet is too big to fit into a bag, use garbage bags on both ends and tape them together in the middle. An alternative is to wrap the rug in a heavy paper or plastic wrap, like Tyvac. In any case, the object is to seal them in some container unbreachable by moths (and, incidentally, by water). Finally, store the sealed rug where its wrap will not be pierced by something sharp and where the package will not be exposed to water or dampness.

An alternative to wrapping a rug for storage is storing it in a cedar closet or a cedar trunk. Natural resins in cedar wood repel moths. The advantages are clear: no chemicals are involved and no wrapping is required. There are two problems with cedar closets and chests, though. First, not everyone has them, and second, cedar eventually loses its anti-moth properties. My wife and I stored our collection of Oriental rugs in a cedar closet for many years without harm. Then suddenly the cedar lost its effectiveness and moths got in. I was told that sanding the cedar wood, which I did, might restore its aromatic quality. But I never again really trusted the closet. Cedar chips are sold which may be added to chests and closets. Perhaps they work, perhaps they don’t.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetle is not a great factor in the Western United States, but it is the scourge of East Coast rug owners. The adult is a small oval insect, dark with colored marks on the back, about a quarter of an inch long. Carpet beetles eat pollen and nectar, and often they are brought into the house on cut flowers. They lay eggs in dust and lint in dark, hard to access places. Both adults and larvae eat wool rugs (and sometimes silk rugs), but most damage is done by the larvae. While moths eat tracks through wool rugs, carpet beetles eat right through the rug, cotton foundation and all. They leave behind bristly “shells” of shed skin. The best control is prevention through fastidious housekeeping and proper storage (see Storing Oriental Rugs above). Carpet beetles may be killed by freezing (-20 degrees F for three days), or through use of pyrethrin or other sprays.

Mildew and Dry Rot

When rugs stay wet too long, they become mildewed and, eventually, suffer dry rot. The classic example is dry rot caused by a potted plant placed on a rug. The typical result is a horribly rotted circular area in a carpet that is otherwise in good condition. Don’t even think about putting a potted plant on a rug. No matter how clever you are, no matter that you use a glazed pot and a glazed saucer and you put a vapor barrier between the saucer and the rug, the rug will get wet and will stay wet unbeknownst to you and will become a rotten mess in an area about one foot in diameter.

Another typical situation comes up when rugs are stored poorly, in a garage for instance, and they become wet without anyone realizing what has happened. Even though dry rot is not inevitable in such cases, a mildew smell is, and sometimes the smell of mildew simply cannot be removed. I have seen several occasions when moisture under a house has caused rugs on the floor above to mildew.

Another common situation is for rugs to be soaked by a leak in the roof or by a plumbing problem upstairs. In my first rug store, a stoppage in a main sewer line caused my toilet to back up, overflow and leave six inches of standing “water” throughout the showroom. (Isn’t it amazing that we somehow do get through life’s surprises? For the peace of mind of those who might have been my customers in those days, I had each rug washed thoroughly before they again became merchandise.)

Please do not worry needlessly, though. A little water on a rug, or even a lot of water, will not cause it to mildew unless the rug stays wet too long. For instance, rugs one steps onto from a shower or bathtub rarely are hurt by water because they have time to dry out between times. And don’t panic if you spill a glass of water on a rug. Just dry it as well as you can with towels, and if it dries in several days, it will be all right.

Unfortunately, besides causing mildew and dry rot, water sometimes causes dyes in rugs to bleed or run. All you can do in this situation is to get the rug dry as soon as possible, preferably with a water vacuum as outlined below.

If a rug is just a little wet, as from a spilled glass of water, do what I suggested above. Merely soak up as much water as possible with a towel or paper towel and everything will probably be just fine. If you are worried about the floor underneath, elevate the wet spot until it dries.

A rug that is thoroughly wet is another matter. The goal is to dry it before it mildews in about four or five days. If you have a Shopvac or other vacuum that will take in water, vacuum out as much water as you can. If not, lay the rug flat on its back outdoors and squeegee out as much water as you can. In a pinch, you can use the back of a garden rake as a squeegee. If you cannot do that (perhaps because it is raining heavily outside), then roll the rug tightly and stand it on end until water stops dripping out of the bottom end. If you have sunlight and a place to lay the rug, open it and let it finish drying outdoors. Or, if you know that the rug is dirty as well as wet, dry it enough so that you can get it to an Oriental rug cleaning specialist. If all else fails and the rug has been wet for four or five days and you have no prospects of drying it soon, spray it with Lysol. If you must dry a wet rug indoors, keep air circulating around it with a fan or hairdryer. Many a rug has come through seemingly hopeless situations and come out in good shape.

How to Keep Your Oriental Rugs Clean

Rugs gradually wear as they are walked on. That can’t be avoided, but you can lesson the problem by turning or rotating your rugs from time to time so they don’t always get walked on in the same places. Walking on a dirty rug shortens its life prematurely. Dirt and sand fragments act like sandpaper as you grind them into the surface of your rug. How often should you have your Oriental rugs washed? On the average of every four or five years, but the real answer is that you should wash them when they are dirty and not before or long after. You can tell whether your rug is dirty by testing it with a white, wet cloth. Rub the rug’s pile vigorously with the wet cloth and check to see how much dirt is transferred to the cloth. Don’t worry about a little discoloration; any rug has a little dust on its surface. A dirty rug will transfer a lot of dirt to a cloth, and the results of your testing will be unambiguous. Dirty rugs may not look especially dirty, but typically they look flat and lusterless.

Many Europeans are fearless about washing their own rugs and have developed methods so hallowed by time that they are unquestioned. People of German origin have told me about their mothers turning rugs upside down in the snow and beating them on the back. I have no doubt that the results can be quite dramatic when the rug is removed and an impressive amount of dirt is left behind on the snow. And the snow approach must do a good job of freshening the surface of an Oriental rug. But this approach can’t really compete with thoroughly wetting a rug and washing it with appropriate materials. I used to wash my own rugs, and it can be done, but these days I let the professionals wash my rugs. They do a better job than I do and they are better at dealing with color-run when that occurs.

Here is a summary of how rugs are (or should be) washed professionally. (I would like to thank David Walker of Talisman in Santa Cruz, California for some of the information herein about washing rugs.) First, as much dirt and dust as possible is loosened and separated from the rug before it is exposed to water. Some professionals use giant tumblers to accomplish this. Professionals test colors for fastness before they wet a rug to determine how they will approach the job. They may protect weak areas of the rug, perhaps by sewing gauze around them. If the rug’s dyes are stable and the rug can be washed, the rug is laid out flat and thoroughly wetted. Some experts filter chlorine out of the water. When the rug is wet, it is scrubbed by hand- that is, by brushes, usually on poles, operated by hand. Machines never should be used for the scrubbing. Rotary type machines often tangle the wool pile, and no machine can sense where scrubbing should be lighter or heavier depending on the condition of the rug.

The choice of a cleaning agent, of course, is critical. An unformulated (that is, neutral balanced) detergent is ideal, despite the old caveat that detergent should never be used on an Oriental rug. Conditioners may be added if wool is dry, and so may denatured white vinegar be added to stabilize the dyes. The rug or carpet is rinsed thoroughly and dried and then brushed down to soften and finish the rug’s surface.

Does that sound easy? How would you like to turn the hose on someone’s $30,000 antique Oriental rug? Good rug washers live with that kind of pressure every day and rarely have accidents. I have the greatest respect for the handful of specialists who are conscientious and who know what they are doing.

It is possible to freshen the surface of an Oriental rug without washing it. Simply sponging the pile with cold water will brighten it. You may also use the type of appliance made to clean carpeting at home, such as the Spray’n Vac. But do not use anything except water and a little denatured white vinegar (about a quarter of a cup in a gallon of water): no soap, no optical brighteners. You may clean a rug’s fringe with soap and water, but don’t bleach it.

Do not shake an Oriental rug to dust it. Do not beat an Oriental rug. You may use a vacuum cleaner, even a beater type vacuum, but be careful not to catch the fringe in the vacuum. You may also use a broom. Whatever you do to an Oriental rug should be appropriate to its condition. Don’t sweep a ninety-year-old, worn rug too vigorously.

Ends, Edges and Holes

Ends and edges are often the first parts of rugs that need attention as rugs age. It is critical to maintain them in good condition because problems with them soon lead to more expensive problems with the body of a rug. Typically, a rug’s fringe begins to wear away noticeably within 10 or 15 years from the time the rug was new and is nearly gone when the rug is 40-60 years old. Fringe can be replaced, though, often, new fringe on an old rug looks inappropriate. Many people who are accustomed to old rugs simply get used to seeing eroded fringes and they don’t worry about it. Fringe is not structural, and your rug will suffer no harm from its absence. On the other hand, worn fringe is a sign that the end finish of the rug may be threatened by wear. Rugs are bound on their ends in a number of different ways, but each is designed to keep the foundation threads intact. When the foundation is frayed, a rug begins to lose its pile, and that requires expensive work. So, typically, a rug needs “end stopping” to secure the end from raveling, usually after something like 30 years.

Likewise, the edges of a rug, called selvages, need to be maintained. Selvages are wrapped with wool or cotton to protect the edges of the rug, and eventually this wrapping wears out and has to be replaced. This is routine work and not terribly expensive. To maintain a rug’s value it is important that a new selvage looks just like the old selvage: the same color, material and so on. Resist the temptation to replace the original selvage with a cheap, machine binding.

A variety of other problems that need repair may beset a rug during its lifetime: holes, wrinkle lines, curling edges, visible wear, moth damage and so on. There is nothing that cannot be fixed. The question always will be whether the value of the rug warrants the cost of repair.

The Controversial Practice of “Painting” Oriental Rugs

When a rug in need of repair is judged not to have enough value to warrant repair, an alternative to consider is having it “painted.” Painting is neither repair nor maintenance but is simply a cosmetic quick-fix. Painting is an emotionally charged issue because it has most often been used as a device to hide wear in order to sell a rug. Painting is just what it sounds like: textile dyes of appropriate colors are painted onto a rug, usually with a stiff paint brush, in such a way as to cover worn areas. Ideally the process is inexpensive and remarkably effective, sometimes making a badly worn rug look really good for another ten years. Eventually the paint wears off, so painting is never a permanent solution- except with a rug so worn that it will not survive the paint. Many people are opposed to painting, usually, as I have said, because its practice is often associated with dishonest rug dealers. Furthermore, a bad paint job can be quite noticeable and off putting. And finally, if the wrong materials are used, the “paint” can run when exposed to water and bleed into the rest of the rug. Some object to the idea of something foreign to the rug being added to it, and a few people simply don’t mind wear in Oriental rugs and would rather see wear than know their rug has been painted. One further objection: the value of some very desirable, collectible rugs may be hurt by painting.

Having duly noted all these objections, I still submit that sometimes painting is a reasonable approach, especially when a rug lacks enough value to warrant repairing it properly. I say this knowing full well that by doing so I have just established myself as a butcher in the eyes of some

Should you use rug pads?

The people who live where Oriental rugs are made do not use rug pads under rugs, but it is customary there to remove street shoes upon entering a home. No one has ever methodically demonstrated that rug pads make rugs last longer, but clearly rug pads prevent many accidents by keeping rugs and people from slipping around on hardwood floors. For that reason I usually recommend them. There is no need to have thick rug pads unless you especially want a cushy feel underfoot. Most likely your Oriental rug will outlast its rug pad many times over. Pads tend to dry out and eventually they crumble. I have seen cases in which pads have discolored hardwood floors, especially when they have been used on newly finished floors that, presumably, have not had sufficient time to cure. Pads are now available that are designed to go between wall to wall carpeting and Oriental rugs. They are most effective if the carpeting underneath is not terribly long-piled. There are many products on the market, and you should ask your rug dealer for his or her recommendation.


  1. generic user icon
    Jen December 6, 2007

    My oriental rug bunches in the middle. Why?

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    Richard December 8, 2007

    Could be several reasons. Tension problems, creases, or simply out of shape. If you’d like to know for sure send me a photo of the problem area. Richard@internetrugs.com

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    Les January 6, 2008

    Thanks for the information.

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    Clay January 6, 2008

    My christmas tree was on my oriental and now I have mildew. I have vacuumed it and am seeking a professional cleaner in NYC (recommendation?) or anything I can do until help arrives??

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    Richard January 9, 2008

    Use a little liquid Lysol diluted with water. A capful to 1 gallon should do it. Use a spray bottle to apply.

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    Kay January 20, 2008

    There is an area on our oriental rug where a few of the threads appear to be sticking up or coming loose. It happens to be a high traffic area. What do we do?

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    Richard January 22, 2008


    The following comes from Emmett’s Book which you can access here on the blog. If this doesn’t answer your question please email me a photo of the area and I’ll take a look.

    “I am becoming aware of a problem that purchasers of rugs with handspun wool sometimes encounter. During the first months of using them, owners notice that loose ends of the pile are pulled up by vacuuming. Pieces of pile stick up a half-inch to an inch above the rest of the pile. All rugs have this problem when they are new, though it is clearly more pronounced in carpets with handspun pile. Though it can be scary to rug owners, the phenomenon is harmless. The loose ends of pile can be and should be clipped the same height as the rest of the pile. If proper care has not been taken by the rugmaker in the clipping, the situation can, on rare occasions, be annoying enough to be considered a real problem — though one that affects the appearance of a carpet, never its longevity.”

    -From the post Handspun vs. Machine-Spun Wool Pile.

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    Kathy February 12, 2008

    I recently purchased an 8 foot round new Oriental rug. I would like to remove the fringe, but I am unsure if this is a good idea. The fringe was added after the rug was made. The design on the back of the rug is almost as pretty as the design on the front. I read in one article that you can determine if a rug is true Oriental rug if the fringe is part of the original rug and if the design on the back is pronounced. This confuses me since the design on the back of my rug is very nice, but the fringe was definitely added later. Please give me your opinion about removing the fringe. The fringe is white, dirty, and not very thick. I purchased the rug at a nice Oriental rug store, but the rug had been reduced probably due to the fringe. Also can you tell me if all Oriental rugs have fringe that is part of the original rug?

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    Finley February 12, 2008

    We purchased a rug from Tienzing ? China when we were stationed in Guam in the 70s. We would like to have it cleaned but I am afraid to send it anywhere in our area. There is small moth damage around the edges, very small areas and the rug is still very thick and wonderful. Any suggestions about whether I should go ahead and find a cleaner or is there something I can use on it (like amonia and water) with a spray to ward off the moth?? Thanks! Finley

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    Richard February 13, 2008

    Without seeing a picture of the piece it is hard for me to advise you. If you would like to send me a picture of the piece I’d be happy to take a look. E-mail me at richard @internetrugs.com. To answer your last question, I’ve not seen a hand made carpet that didn’t have fringe that was part of the rug. The fringe is part of the warp and usually extends from one end to the other. Machine made carpets almost always have fringe that is added later.

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    Richard February 13, 2008

    Washing is always good when you have moth activity. Our Carpet cleaner, Talisman Restoration (831-425-7847), might know someone in your area that they can recommend. We use an insecticide made by the Fuller Brush Company. You can find it here: http://sneakykitchen.com/fullerbrush/products/743.htm

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    Maureen February 20, 2008

    We just received our rug today (it is synthetic…olephin
    I think it said). This rug was wrapped up like an Oriental
    woman’s feet (too tight and for a long time). When we
    took off the outer clear wrapping, we had to also cut off
    three areas of tight clear tape that was binding it closed.
    Then we unrolled it and it is unbelievable how ‘hilly’
    this rug is, not to mention that in the opposite
    direction, there are deep indentations where those areas
    of tight clear tape were. This is the second rug of the
    same material we purchased from this place, and the first
    one was fine…only needed some minor ‘uncurling’ at the
    innermost end of the roll. The only thing I’ve done so
    far, is roll it up in the opposite direction. Now I
    have been scouring the internet for solutions and I’m
    amazed at how many there are! I have no idea which to
    try…there is putting ice on the areas and letting it
    melt, putting some material on the rug first and then
    ironing with steam, wetting it down and blowing it dry,
    taping it to the floor (our floor is wood-looking vinyl).
    I’ve read quite a few more, but would like some answers
    from someone with experience. This thing looks like I
    will need to rent a steam roller!

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    Richard February 22, 2008

    I should first say that I don’t have a lot of experience with machine made carpets. If the piece were mine I would use the towel/steam method. We use this method for our handmade wool carpets. You might give our rug washers a call. They may have some ideas. Talisman Restoration Inc. 831-425-7847

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    Rita March 18, 2008

    Ihave a vegetable dye rug that has been getting direct sunlight each morning (while I haven’t been home). The part that has been getting the sunlight is very faded. The rugs original colors were beautiful and I am very unhappy with the fading. Is this the type of rug that could be “professionally clipped” or do you have any other ideas (I’ve already had it cleaned and that didn’t help much. Thanks for any help you can provide.

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    Susan April 15, 2008

    I have a rug that is experiencing the loose threads/pile problem that you mentioned above. Can I clip the loose ends myself and if so, with what tool? Thanks, Susan

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    Dave April 15, 2008

    Susan, you certainly can clip the long ends down to size yourself. A normal pair of scissors should do the trick, although a small pair would give you more control.

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    Sherri June 5, 2008

    I have an rug that I purchased in China. It is 48 inches by 24 inches. I want to hang it on the wall. I am concerned about moths, so I am wondering if mounting it on linen covered foam board and framed under plexiglass is the way to go to best protect it, vs. my original thought of sewing a casing with velcro to the back of it. Which method would you recommend?

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    Richard June 7, 2008

    If you seal the piece beneath glass you can be pretty sure that it will keep the moths out. You should be aware however, that moths are tenacious and will find the smallest opening to lay their eggs. We use Fuller moth spray in the store and find it works well in keeping moths off stored or hung rugs. Good Luck!

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    Carl June 26, 2008

    We have wall-to-wall nylon carpeting. We put a heavy rug pad between the carpeting and our room-size Turkish rug. Still, the Turkish rug “creeps.” How can we make it stay in place?

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    admin June 26, 2008

    @Carl – We sell a very thin sticky pad for use on wall-to-wall carpeting.

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    Anne July 17, 2008

    We have been hauling an old family rug around the country for 20 years and finally have moved into a home where we can lay it out and use it. I think it is wool and the back is almost as pretty as the front. Previously it was layed out in an attic room and it has also been in the basement. It did get wet once or twice but we always dried it out pretty quickly. Anyway, after vacuuming the top, we turned it over and vacuumed the under side. When we picked up the carpet to turn it over again, we were shocked to see how much fine ?I don’t know what? was all over the floor. It appears to be disintegrated carpet fibers? Should we use it or is it no good now? Any suggestions?

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    Richard July 19, 2008

    No worries Anne. What it sounds like to me, is that you have in essence beat all the sand, dirt, and broken ends of the wool pile out of the foundation of the carpet. I actually recommend that people once a year vacuum the back of their Oriental rugs to get just this stuff out. It acts as an abrasive on the foundation of the carpet. In days gone by people used to beat the carpet to achieve these results.

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    Karen August 13, 2008

    I just brought my handmade Indian rug (6×9) to a Oriental rug cleaner to get cleaned. Their rate for cleaning (after calling several stores around here – the Silcon Valley area) seems high $2.50) – several other stores are the same so I’m resigned to that. BUT, they say the rug needs “binding” one area is very loose (white threads showing) to do this 1 foot they are asking for $50. But they recommend doing the entire rug “both sides” for $475. They said it’s not unusual for a rug to need rebinding every 10-20 years.
    What is “binding” and does this sound like reasonable pricing? I was not aware of this needed regular care.

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    Sandra September 7, 2008

    I just received a rug made in Afghanistan. It is absolutely beautiful, however it has a really pronounced odor. I have tried to air it out but the odor is still there. The rug is a wool/silk blend. Any suggestions?

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    lesley October 29, 2008

    i have a 3m x 2m new chinese rug – its a blend of wool and silk and is a pale cream colour. My naughty dog peed on it and although i soaked it with club soda to rinse it out there is still a yellow stain that i dont know how to remove. Help ??

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    Bonnie October 31, 2008

    My Persian semi-antique 5 x 8 foyer rug is beginning to lose its fringe. It has been in the front hall for 18 years and is tread on constantly. Also, my house cleaner and the vacuum have fought with the fringe over the years. Any way I can repair the fringe edges myself (I remember seeing a friend bind the edges of older Orientals by overcasting with wool yarn) or is this going to need professional restoration? I don’t want the threads unraveling into the pattern of the rug. Any advice?

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    elizabeth November 11, 2008

    Help! About 6 antique oriental rugs stored in my garage were damaged by
    moths ( I think that’s what happened). Several appear to be all right, but about
    3 of them are totally eaten. Should I vacuum them, spray some insecticide (what?)
    How do I treat the ones that are left?

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    Barbara December 27, 2008

    My cats used my silk Turkish prayer rug to sharpen their claws and pulled about 25 3/8 inch tall tufts of a few fibers each from the body of the rug. I have tried using a crochet hook, but fear I will damage the rug more than the cats. The easiest would be to cut them, but I do not want to do this if it will result in permanent damage. Thanks for any advice!

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    Richard December 27, 2008

    I think at this point cutting is your only choice. Do so at the base of the strand where it meets the pile of the carpet. Good luck!

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    jack January 15, 2009

    We bought a very large hand knotted oriental rug made in pakistan. It seems to pass all the tests that it is real. But I have one concerne the fringe on the rug is very short only 3/4″. The rug dealer said that its because of the size , it is 9’11” x 15. We paid close to 10,000$ and hope it is authentic. Also the pile is very short almost berber like. Is this common?

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    admin January 16, 2009


    Short fringe is quite common to see on new oriental rugs, and in no way affects the value of the carpet.

    Also, many weavers are cutting the pile rather low these days to give the rugs an antique look and feel. Short pile also gives the design more definition and makes it “pop”.

    You may want to refer to our article on how new oriental rugs are antiqued for more information.

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    Liz January 24, 2009

    We have a wool rug that is shedding a white material out of the back and has been since we bought it. I thought it was just dust/dirt at first but we’ve had the rug for over a year now and it is getting worse. We have dark hard wood floors and the white powder covers the entire surface under the rug. We have vacuumed the front and back SO many time to try to eliminate the powder but with no success! It seems like something is eating the rug but there are no holes anywhere or other visible damage??? We don’t know what to do, should we clean it or spray something on it? Thank you!

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    Heidi March 2, 2009

    Recently bought a new wool & silk NW Persian “Tourkaman” rug; the label on the back, attached w/staples, reads (among other things): SNO: 35 (underlined) – what does this refer to?

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    Dale March 6, 2009

    We just bought an 8×10 silk oriental rug. We do not have a place for it in our current house and plan on using it in another house. In the mean time we have layed under another area rug. Is this OK or should we store it differently? Thanks

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    Richard March 7, 2009

    The only problem I see with doing this is that silk can get matted pretty easily. Think of it like hat hair on your carpet. It’s possible that a good vacuum would bring it back but not assured.

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    Richard March 7, 2009

    I have no idea. if you’d like to send me a picture maybe I can figure it out.

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    Kim March 17, 2009

    I have the same “powder” problem as Liz….stuff is very slippery too if any residue is left behind after cleaning. What is this stuff?

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    Richard March 20, 2009

    Liz sent me a photo of her rug which turned out to be machine made. The rubber or latex backing I think was degrading. If your piece is hand made you can send me a photo of the front and back of the carpet and the “dust” and I’d be happy to take a look. Richard@internetrugs.com

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    Barbara May 7, 2009

    I have an Oriental rug with a 10 inch fringe. Do I leave it alone or braid it?

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    Fran May 7, 2009

    I have something eating my handmade oriental carpets. They are not beetles or moths but a black insect that looks the shape and size of an ant which it looks like until you get closer. There is also a larva, some skinny worm-like and some rather fat light colored. I am treating my rugs as if they had moths and will take a few to our local farm adviser. Help!! Do you know what these are? Thanks.

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    Richard May 9, 2009

    Not really sure what it could be. Sounds like moths. Sometimes the moth chrysalis can take on the color of the carpet it is eating and kind of looks like an ant. The larva definitely sounds like moths. If you really want to know you should contact the people at Insect Limited (www.insectslimited.com)who are the experts in creepy crawlies and have a website with great pictures. Please let me know if figure out what it is. Richard@InternetRugs.com

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    maria May 22, 2009

    my email address is mbramnick@bellsouth.net ask the experts.i have a 100% wool aubusson rug. i left in the garge for a 3 years. did get a little wet. it is dry now but has a smell and has black spots on the bottom of rug.should i wash it outside with a little vineger and soap on fringes with a broom or brush? should i take to professional dry cleaner? or can i take to coin laundry and wash in a washing machine? can it be put in a dryer? thank you.

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    Debbie June 16, 2009

    I have a hand-knotted rug that I purchased in 2005 in Greece. I just had it cleaned recently by a cleaners that said they knew how to clean rugs. When I got it back, besides some of the fringe being chewed away, the carpet very obviously had been scrubbed because the nap was running in multiple directions. It is a wool carpet interlaced with cotton as part of the design and cotton fringe. The cotton areas looked like they had been cleaned by a cat licking it and then left to dry. Is there anyway that I can restore this to get the nap running in the right direction? Also, need tips for future care.

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    Sara August 27, 2009

    We have two hand knotted rugs we bought in India about 8 -9 years ago. I would really like to shorten the fringe or remove it if possible. Does this affect the value of the rugs?
    We’ve also never washed them apart from vacuuming and spot cleaning with water or a steamer. They look and feel great but would it be a good idea to take them to a professional to have them cleaned? Thanks.

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    Richard September 12, 2009

    Shortening the fringe will not affect the value at all. I actually encourage it as it gives you less to vacuum up. Steam cleaners are not good for use on Oriental carpets. A professional clean is always best.

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    Stan September 17, 2009

    Same problem as Kim and Liz. No backing on our rug.
    Any ideas?

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    Richard September 17, 2009

    As always a picture is best. If you’d like me to take a look, send the pic to the address above.

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    BOB September 26, 2009

    Why do my rugs have a powdery white dust underneath them? The rugs are on my wood floor. Thank you.

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    Kirsty November 3, 2009

    I too have strange ‘dust’ under my rug. Its a wool IKEA white rug. I have owned it for about 4.5 years now. Everytime I clean the floor I lift up the rug and sweep the dust away.

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    Laura December 27, 2009

    We have the same white powder problem with IKEA wool rugs. They shed white powder from the back since the day we bought them. First we thought the problem will go away, but it’s actually got progressively worse. These are $300 rugs and we are very dissapointed in their quality.

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    Elizabeth January 7, 2010

    Hi Richard,
    I recently received a 10×13 Persian that unfortunately will not fit perfectly into the 8×12(ish) room I have for it. Will it permanently damage the rug if two of the edges are sort of going up the wall because of the extra foot or so on each end? Is there a better way to lay the rug so it does not get damaged – i.e., try to roll up the slack instead so it does not create a crease? There is no where else to put it and storing really isn’t an option. Thanks for your help!

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    TroubledRugOwner February 11, 2010

    Has anyone discovered the cause of the white powder under the rug? We have the same problem.

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    mj May 7, 2010

    We too just bought a wool pile rug and it has this white yellowish powder
    underneath. It is making my son sick how can we let rid of this. Help its very annoying.d vacuum and vacuum and still there when we lift our rug.

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    Terry May 18, 2010

    I too am having a problem with powder. My rug had leaked powder through the cloth backing since new. My guess is that the powder is something used during manufacturing that they did not remove. Just sew the backing cloth on and ship it. It reminds me of corn starch, but I really have no idea. I would like to know. It is 8ft by 10 ft, wool, made in China, and purchased from the Bon Marche (now Macys) 15 years ago. It is under the dining room table, covering a hardwood floor, and still looks like new.

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    Terry May 19, 2010

    POWDER EXPLAINED – I did more research on the web and discovered that the powder is dried glue from the back of the rug. Cheap rugs like mine can be made by a machine that inserts tufts of wool through a matrix from the back side. The machine can be run by hand, validating the claim the rug is hand made. The back side of the rug is covered in glue to retain the wool tufts. There are no knots like a higher quality rug would have. The glue dries and flakes off, creating the dust or powder that sifts through the backing. This does not indicate the rug is failing. I just had my rug surface cleaned, and it looks great. Now that I know how it is constructed, I am afraid to send it off for cleaning because that might really mess up the glue. I knew this was a cheap rug when I bought it, I have had 15 years of good service, and after yesterday’s cleaning, it really does look like new.

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    Exit 82 May 21, 2010

    Thanks for the explanation about the powder- I too have the power problem with my oriental carpet only it’s not white- it’s green- like the carpet- I find it odd that the “rug expert” couldn’t give a knowledgeable answer about what seems (according to this thread anyway) a very common problem.

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    Dave May 21, 2010

    I just wanted to point out that the powder problem seems to be an issue specific to machine-made rugs. This website’s focus is on hand-woven oriental rugs.

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    Sue Stellings June 25, 2010

    We purchased a brand new hand knotted area rug a few months ago. Just lately, since the weather has been more hot and humid we have been noticing a foul odor similar to a dead animal smell. It is very pronounced on these hot humid days to the point of being unbearable. Numerous people have smelled it so we know it is not just us. Any ideas as to what is causing this? Thanks, Sue

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    Richard June 25, 2010

    I’m sorry to say it could be a myriad of things. Could be the water used in the wash in India. Could be the wool. Could be from the sea if it was a sea shipment. Could be from the blow torching that is done to rugs after they are woven. When water is added after the fire it smells pretty bad. In the end the only thing to do is have it washed. I would have this done by a professional and only hand washed. Get references. If you have any other questions please let me know.

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    Tammy Dudley June 28, 2010

    Did I mess up by cutting the fringe off my hand knotted rug? Will it start to unravel if I don’t do anything?

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    katie Mccleery September 12, 2010

    I have an old 9×12 Oriental rug that had been in my mom’s house for the past 60+ years and was never cleaned. I put it upside down over a sheet of plastic and went over it with a percussion massage thing to vibrate the sand and dirt out of it. That’s working and so far I’ve gotten at least 5-6 lbs of sand and dirt out of it. Will I be able to get all the sand out eventually? Wat if I can’t? I’ve been over the thing at least 6 times. Next year I’ll take it outside and wash it but for now I just want to get the sand out of it. Can I take my leaf blower to it to blow sand out if I blow with the pile? Thanks, katie

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    katie Mccleery September 12, 2010

    PS: My email address is monkeyface4@earthlink.net

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    Richard September 12, 2010

    One of my guys said he talked to a woman today on the phone who was using some heavy machinery to get the sand out of her carpet. This must have been you. I love your tenacity and ingenuity and give you the “I’ve never heard that one before prize.” To show my admiration I’ve put your name in the raffle for the free carpet we are giving away at the end of the month. A leaf blower! Pure genius. I often tell people to turn the carpet over and vacuum from the back with the beater brush. The suction and roller together seem to work pretty well. It’s best to get the stuff out before washing as the sand and grit turn in to something like concrete when wet. Best of luck!

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    Tara October 3, 2010

    I just purchased a second-hand rug and was trying to determine if it was an authentic Oriental rug. The rug’s characteristics seem to fit with it being authentic EXCEPT the edges were machine bound. I would accept that the rug was machine made but the fringe is very unique & intricate and seems to come from the heart of the rug. At least 2 of the rug’s corners don’t match and it seems they tried to use part of the fringe to repair the rug on top of the edge. Could the rug be authentic but a cheaper route chosen for edge repair? Would a manufacturer make an intricate fringe with a cheap edge? I can send pix. Thanks ahead of time!

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    Richard October 4, 2010

    Please do send pics to the above address.

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    mark October 6, 2010

    This has been very informative. I didn’t see any complaints of odors coming from the white residue type backed wool faced rugs. these rugs typically have terrible odors as the adhesives break down over time. have your readers experienced this odor problem.

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    Richard October 7, 2010

    I think any carpet with a latex backing will off gas.

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    Ruth October 14, 2010

    Hi my cleaner has just washed our rug down as a favour….!… and the backing really smells and looks like it is coming away. It is white…a glue like substance. Is there anyway of getting this problem sorted? It is drying off in the sun, so I am hoping it at least dries ok, but worring it might smell in the house now!! Would really like some advice.

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    Mary O'Connell October 30, 2010

    I just recently bought a hand knotted 40 to 50 year old Persian carpet. When I use my Roomba there is red carpet fuzz in it. Could the fiber be rotton or could the rug if it was stored for a long time cause this shedding.

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    Richard October 30, 2010

    I had to look up what a Roomba was. Wow! Cool. Any vacuum with a beater brush is going to both create and pick up fuzz. When the brush moves across the pile it is breaking off ends of the threads. It will probably take 50 years before you notice any adverse effects.

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    Richard October 31, 2010

    Addendum to the above post. You should think of the wool in your carpet like you do the hair on your head. When your hair gets dry it becomes brittle and cracks and breaks easily. When it is properly washed and conditioned it is strong and soft to the touch. If you feel the pile on your carpet and it feels dry, it might be time for a wash. A proper carpet cleaner will not use chemicals as these further dry out the pile. A soap similar to hair shampoo should be used with a conditioning ingredient to add the natural Lanolin back to the piece. You should always be able to feel and see the difference after a proper cleaning. Much like hair!

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    Christine November 2, 2010

    I also have a hand tufted wool rug made in India and purchased at Pottery Barn with the same powder problem. I get actual piles of powder under the rug and have vacuumed both sides and it keeps filtering through the loose fabric covering the back. Thanks for the explanation re: dried glue etc. YUCK!

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    Mary O'Connell November 7, 2010

    Thanks for the response to my fuzz question..I feel a lot better. By the way, I love my Roomba who I call Bob he talks a bit too. Best appliance I ever bought.

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    Richard November 7, 2010

    I’m going to put this out there and the Powers be damned. DON’T BUY HAND TUFTED CARPETS WITH A LATEX BACKING. They Off Gas for years and when they deteriorate the powder you see is BAD for your health.

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    Richard November 7, 2010

    I told my wife about BOB and it seems the techno stork is bringing us a robotic vacuum. Thanks Mary!

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    rugfan November 29, 2010

    Richard, I’ve made a number of opinionated posts & expected to get banished from this website. THANK YOU for encouraging buyers to avoid tufted rugs, beause they are not worth the materials they’re made from, and IMO have no resale value. I’m not a rug dealer, just a really picky individual.

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    Richard December 3, 2010

    Your so called Opinionated posts are what makes this worth doing. This is an OPEN forum and I welcome all opinions. Keep it up!
    I agree with your feelings about tufted rugs. My main reason for this is the off-gassing one often experiences. A quick story;
    I recently delivered one of our carpets to couple I am very fond of. Upon entering their house I was hit with a chemical smell that made my head hurt. I noticed in their kitchen they had a tufted rug and the sun was shining on it. I asked if they could smell the odor and they said they couldn’t. My guess is that they had become used to the smell. I urged them to remove the thing from their house which they did. A week later the customer called to say that migraines she had been having for the past 3 years had disappeared. My advice is to stay away from Latex or Glue backed carpets.

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    Carole January 7, 2011

    hi I have a huge oriental rug which is generally much to heavy to man handle!! What is the best way to clean the tassels and is it possible to cut them off completely?
    The rug is about 15 years old and in good condition other than the tassels which look worn and dirty.

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    Richard January 10, 2011

    I think this video is a great how-to for the lay person to deal with dirty or ratty looking fringe. Good luck and maybe let me know if it works out for you.

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    Cindy January 16, 2011

    Is it ok to use foam spray carpet cleaner (like for car carpeting) to clean a wool rug. My rugs aren’t antiques, they are new and only worth about $700.00 each. They are 100% wool Aubusson rugs. I don’t want to use a steam cleaner or rug cleaner on them because I’m afraid the water will damage the new wood floors underneath.I figure it will cost quite a bit to have them professionally cleaned. Thanks

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    Richard January 17, 2011

    I would recommend against using spray cleaners as they often dry out and damage the wool. It is sometimes possible just to do a light surface wash with a damp towel.

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    Henry January 25, 2011

    Hello, would you recommend conditioning the foundation and/or the pile with a lanolin-based solution? Is there a spray on the market, along with a method of drying, so as to not attract soil? Thank you.

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    chrissy February 12, 2011

    I just bought a 5×7 persian rug that I adore. As I was vaccuming it today , I realized that the last one foot was sewn onto the six feet. The patterns do not line up and the width is slightly longer. should I reurn this or is this common?
    Thanks .

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    Richard February 12, 2011

    If it was not told to you prior to buying, I would return it. The piece has been repaired in some fashion and is therefore defective. If you would like to send a picture to the above address I’d be happy to take a look.

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    loretta March 4, 2011

    Richard, your article is excellent! I have two elderly hand-knotted rugs, approximately 14×10 feet. One was chewed on in spots by a dog. I do not live near a dealer, and as I am a fairly accomplished seamstress and needlecrafter, I wonder if it would be possible to repair them myself. Thoughts?

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    Richard March 4, 2011

    Sure why not. I think repairing hand woven textiles yourself gives you a better appreciation of the labor involved in their creation. My mom was a seamstress(self professed!) and always threw herself into whatever task came her way. Never saw her repair a carpet but I’m sure she would have broken down the technique involved in the creation of the textile, realized her inabilities if any, and ploughed ahead. I urge you to do the same. Get closer to you elderly carpets. Plumb their depths. If you’d like to send pics I’d be happy to offer advice.

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    Nancy March 5, 2011

    Hi! I hate to take this thread back to the powdery substance topic, but I have the same problem, I bought a secondhand wool oriental rug and tried to wash it on my driveway last summer. After I washed it and it dried, it was shedding the white powder like crazy!!! My question: it appears as if the linen backing has come separated from the wool rug due to my washing it. If I bought some more linen and removed the separated backing, could I repair the rug myself? Would I glue the linen to the back of the rug, and if so, what kind of adhesive would I use? Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!!

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    debbie April 15, 2011

    Hi – I have a (new) Aubusson rug which I’ve had stored folded for the past year or so. It is huge – approx 16′ x 12′ and has now become quite creased from being stoerd in this way (I realise now I probably should have rolled it). Is there any way I can iron or press it to get rid of the creases? Many thanks for your help.

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    dehlia May 1, 2011

    I had a flood in my house and my 7 ft chinese hand knotted wool run go wet and stayed that way for about 1 week before it was set to be cleaned to a place that cleanes oriental rugs. We got it back one month later wrapped in heavy plastic. When I unwrapped it I was nearly knocked over by the fumes coming form the rug. I closed the package immediately. They told me that there was some colors that ran. Is there any way to save this rug. They were supposed to be the experts. The rug is only 5 years old and cost $5,500.

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    Kim June 27, 2011

    I now understand about the powder residue under the rug. I thought that it was something to help deter carpet beetles and moths while in storage at the manufacturers. There seems to be enough of it to deter the little critters. Do you think it would? Or is it just best to get it vacuumed up?

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    cory donia July 2, 2011

    I have a 10 x 13 persian mahal that needs repair, looks like my cleaning people spilled something on it.
    it has areas of about 10 inch diameter without fibers and various other areas much smaller about 2″ diameter.
    my questions is if i do have these areas repaired, will it reduce the overall value of the rug if i want to sell it ? the rug is worth about 4500…(what we paid for it.) It is not an antique. Would it be better to just get a new rug? Thank you, cory

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    Richard July 3, 2011

    I think you should just have the piece cleaned by a professional.

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    Eulalie Wilson July 31, 2011

    I have a 5’6″ round silk Oriental rug I bought in Egypt five years ago. Is the cleaning process the same as for wool oriental rugs? Thanks.

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    Sara September 30, 2011

    hi. i noticed some dark dried stains on my new wool oriental rug (i now believe it’s urine- thanks to my 3 yr old). i had someone come in ASAP but the stains are still there but are just lighter. while most of the area cleaned is fine as far as colors are concerned, but there is obvious fading underneath the rug in some places. also, there is a 3″ strip where the outline deep blue has faded. there was no stain on this spot. what do you think could have happened? should i get it cleaned again elsewhere or just avoid it altogether? it has chrome dyes in it. also, if i were to consider selling it, who would be willing to buy a damaged/stained rug? Thank you.

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    Rachel November 15, 2011

    I just bought an antique hand woven wool rug from an estate sale. I have never owned a rug of this quality. I love it. My only problem is that it smells old and makes my house smell old. It isn’t a mildew smell (I’m quite familiar with that smell having grown up in SF). The only way I can describe it is like I’ve brought home the antique store smell. Is there anyway to get rid of this smell? I keep vaccuming hoping its just a dusty…I’m gonna try vaccuming the back but I’m not sure if this will help. If you have any suggestions I will gladly try them.

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    hp December 4, 2011

    We have the same white POWDER problem for 2 yrs. I doubt if it is a residue from dried glue. I collected some in my handle and put a few drops of water. I am not sure if it soluble…but more importantly, it didn’t become sticky. Ours is also a hand tufted wool rug from India…about 300 dollars in overstock. We are thinking of dumping it in trash and buy something that does not leave powders or odors.

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    Mary January 24, 2012

    I purchased a handmade wool carpet/mat with a colorful rooster motif. After washing it carefully in cold water, I noticed after it dried it is now leaving a white powdery residue underneath it. I’m constantly having to vacuum and wipe my hardwood floor below the mat. I’ve also noticed that the ‘cheesecloth’ type fabric that was stitched onto the underside of the mat has been released from the top portion of the mat. Please, if someone could tell me what the powder is and will it ever end? I’ve had the mat for almost 4 years and still looks good as new. Thank you.

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    admin January 24, 2012

    Hi Mary, Please see the above post by Terry entitled Powder Explained. Essentially the powder is from the glue used in the process of manufacturing carpets by machine.

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    sam January 27, 2012

    I’m still a bit confused. is there anyway to get the musty mildew smell out of my persian rug without wetting it. i had it rolled up under the foot of my bed of about a 1 yr. it’s 5’9” X 8’6″ not counting fringe, pile 1/2″ high. it didnt have the smell before. flooring is pier n beam.

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    Deb February 25, 2012

    I have a beautiful Oriental Rug that has been in storage for years. I now want to use it in my wine cellar but it is too large. Can I cut it down? Do I HAVE to have the edges surged? I don’t mind a worn look, actually prefer it. Thanks!

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    Richard February 27, 2012

    You probably should have the edges secured in some way. If you don’t the piece will likely unravel.

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    wyatt April 1, 2012

    Hi Richard – I have a Persian rug that has been cleaned with a Rug Doctor Machine and is slightly buckled and a couple of subtle wrinkles. I was thinking about taking it to a dry cleaners who sends it to a machine washer specifically for area rugs. Is this something that might be good for the rug? Is hand washing the only way? thanks!

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    Maria April 11, 2012

    I bought what was claimed to be a brand new wool area rug – it is a Pakistan made Persian copy. It certainly looked and smelled brand new, but after two years of being down in a living room (where people just mostly sit, on a laminate floor), it is absolutely threadbare in big patches – no pile left at all. I bought the rug on the understanding that they were tough, and find it hard to believe how short a time it has lasted. Is this because it has been poorly made? The wear is mostly where people’s feet are when they are sitting watching TV.
    Thank you

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    Amber July 24, 2012

    I have a huge rug that was purchased for us in Egypt. I don’t know all the details of it’s make but I love it anyway. It has some silk in it per my Mother who bought it. The red part of the rug seems to be coming off. It leaves a red powder on the floor in the areas where there is the most red and the vaccuum is red after being used too. I’m guessing we have a cheap rug? Any ideas?

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    butterscotch September 6, 2012

    I dropped some melted butter and have about 8 spots.
    I softened them with water, mixed with dish washing soap, and some white vinegar, and then damped them.
    They look larger today and are still visible, though maybe not as dark as before.

    Someone suggested baking soda.
    Any thoughts?
    The rug is an Aubusson, about 3 years old.
    It’s never been cleaned.
    The spots are on a plain area, with no design.
    How do I clean out the oil stain without spreading it or darkening it?

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    Richard September 9, 2012

    You did just the right thing. If the dyes aren’t bleeding, I would do the cold water and dish soap application again. I prefer dawn. The darkening could simply be due to wetness. Baking soda won’t help.

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    Barbara September 22, 2012

    I have been sick about an oriental rug inherited from a grandmother. It may be close to 75 years old now. It was laid on a cement basement floor for years, until we noticed the dry rotting crumbling fibers under almost all of it. I vaguely remember a comment someone made about acid in concrete being bad for the rug. Can it be repaired?

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    Phil Holcomb October 26, 2012

    Do your comments about caring and storing knotted rugs also apply to kilims? We have several old-ish pieces, mostly on the wall. Also, if the kilims are small enough, could they be freshened at low temperatures (or air fluffed) in a dryer? Thanks for an interesting article.

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    Richard November 16, 2012

    The do apply to Kilims as well. I wouldn’t recommend putting them in the dryer but between us it is probably something I would do at home.(even though I know better)

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    LisaW January 10, 2013

    We recently had a fairly new Peshawar rug we own cleaned for the the first time and it was returned to us with numerous tufts of wool sticking up above the pile. We contacted the cleaning company and they said this is common with Peshawar rugs and they could remedy the situation by shearing the tufted areas off. Is this occupancy truly something to be expected with this type of rug? And is shearing the areas off the correct method to use?

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    Nancy February 24, 2013


    I have a hand knotted large silk rug … approximately 112″ x 144″. I found two pee spots from our dog and not need to take it in to be cleaned. After this is done, I would really like to hang it on a wall. Unfortunately, we have no wall that is large enough. Would it be advisable to hang a large curtain rod and drape the rug over it? I’m not even sure this is possible as the rod would most likely need several brackets in the middle, but I’m at a loss as to how to hang this as it is larger than all the walls in our house. Do you have any recommendations for a problem like this? Thanks!

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    Lakita March 7, 2013

    I recently purchsed a 9×12 semi antique Tabriz rug and want to get it professionally cleaned. After placing it ony floor I noticed on one side the edges of the rug are unevem. Is this normal for a rug this age? Also the rug is very, veru heavy. Could it be a build up of dust mites over the years? Another reason I’m getting it cleaned.

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    Rafael June 25, 2013

    I´ve bought a sarouk rug, thought to be around 40 years old. It looks great, but when I rub my fingers at the wool, it looses some particles, even forming some sort of a small “furball”.
    How concearned should I be? Is there anything I can do to prevent this from hapenning?

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    Ben Tan July 26, 2013

    Great blog with many useful tips!

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    Ben Tan July 26, 2013

    I recently bought an 8’x11′ 9-laa Nain and I have noticed some lumps on the back of the carpet.
    They are just around the corner of one part of the carpet, not the whole carpet. It looks like some of the knots have been pulled up.
    They are all still very tight and the front of the carpet is unaffected.
    Is this any cause for concern?

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    Julie October 11, 2013

    I bought a hand knotted bamiyan afghan rug which is giving off an awful odour. Wondering if it could have been moth treatment. We thought something had died under the house. Any suggestions.

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    Sofia October 23, 2013

    Hello- I recently found a large ntique chinese deco rug rolled up in an alley. It was wet, smelly, and a little moldy. I had it professionally cleaned and it looks like it is in decent shape. The fibers are very dry, though, and I’m wondering if there is a wool conditioner on the market that I can apply at home.

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    Patty November 3, 2013

    We purchased a hand-knotted Pakistani rug from a reputable store just two days ago and it has turned from a light ivory to a darker taupe in that short a time. The back is still the ivory and the front and back matched when we purchased it. What can this be and is there anything we can do or we contact the store? Webought the specifically wanted the rug for its pale color.

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    Richard November 4, 2013

    I’d be interested in seeing a photo of the piece. I’ve never heard of this happening. If you care to, send a photo to the address above and I’ll take a look.

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    JADE SOLTANI November 4, 2013

    Just bought a new house and can’t afford to put down wood floors for a couple years. I have wall to wall carpet and persian rugs 8×10 on top. I have heavy furniture that I am afraid will damage the persian rugs. Is it a good idea to put a thick or thin pad under the persian rug on top of the wall to wall?

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    Anonymous November 9, 2013

    Am putting my rug away for now,I have an old dog who is having a few accidents. I am intending to clean, and mothball, but can I use something like a lavendar mall or deodoriser?

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    Matt February 24, 2014

    I live in Perth Australia and have a 6×9 knot rug from india that’s 16months old , I want to get it professionally cleaned but cant find anyone in Australia . Do you happen to know of any.
    my email address is busby_matt@hotmail.com

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    Anne May 26, 2014

    I have an oriental runner that was wrapped I plastics before storing. The area must not have been as dry as I thought. When I Unwrapped it, there was a foul odor and white powder. I vacuumed the front and back several times. The rug is outside because of the smell. .Can it be saved?

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    Anna Wilson July 6, 2014

    Thank you very much for such great information regarding Oriental Rugs. I just purchased one and your information will be valuable to me.

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    fran mcininch September 12, 2014

    I have a tajik caucasioan runner which I lay over the wall to wall carpet and the dye ran into the wall to wall carpet. Quite badly. The professional rug cleaner said he could not take the stains out. Could you give me tips on how I might try to get the stains out with more effort. Thank you. Fran McIninch fmc43@telus.net

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    johan September 15, 2014

    good luck

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    GCR October 19, 2014

    I am the new owner of a 13×15 Pakistani Wood Rug and am torn between a Natural Rubber pad and a Felt Jute type pad for the rug. The floor is tile. Any recommendation? I like the feel of the Felt Jute type product, but the web info seems to lean toward Natural Rubber?

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    Marilyn McLauchlan November 17, 2014

    I am taking my Persian rug to AZ where in the summer, when we are not there, the home is very hot; 84-90 F. Is this harmful to the rug? There is no direct sunlight

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    Angela December 29, 2014

    I would like your advise of how to take care of my tibetan and afghan carpets in a humid weather. We are currently living in the states but soon we move to East Timor and I am afraid the carpets will damage with the humitity of the place. Should I storage them in the US or should I take them with me? Thank you!

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    Catherine S. January 27, 2015

    I came across this blog when looking for a link in answer to a question about rug fibers pulled thru by kitty claws. The questions and answers are for the most part informative, but I am surprised at the number of queries involving tufted fabricbacked rugs since- as one blogger commented – this site is meant for handknotted or at least machine knotted rugs. Hope the blogging continues. I have bookmarked the site for future reference.

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    AnimeTube February 16, 2015


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    Diane de Kertanguy June 28, 2015


    I bought a 90 line 9×12 rug and took it to a reputable cleaner. I picked it up 2 weeks later, put it down over a new pad. It has a mildew smell. Will this fade?


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    Lemuel Bookmiller June 29, 2015

    I don’t commonly add comments to any kind of content online, but this article deserves my attention. For what it’s worth, you’ve done a fantastic job of getting across your points and I’m with you.

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    Pazyryk Rug August 19, 2015

    Very well said. These tips are really amazing. I appreciate it for sharing them.

    Oriental Rugs

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    Anonymous December 14, 2015

    i just bought a Pakistani vegetable dyed wool rug,am building coastal house will dye damage hardwood and should I use a jute or horsehair pad and avoid sunlight?thank you,

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    Anonymous December 14, 2015

    Received new rug Pakisstani Oriental,not ready to use building house should I keep in shipping plastic to avoid moths or issues until house complete?other than attic rafter not sure how to store other rugs. Leaving in packing pottery barn etc.

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    linc215@aol.com December 21, 2015

    I have an oriental rug purchased in Turkey. I want to have it cleaned and the owner of a 30 yr old business said he would wash it with a machine and then put it in a centrafuge to get the last bit of dirt and water out. I think I heard it is supposed to be hand washed only, is that correct? If so, how should it be dried??

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    Anonymous March 15, 2016

    Hi. I ha e nain rug that I purchased 10 years ago, I tried to wash a pet stain out and the area bled. I had a Persian rug specialist come and tell me the rug will ha e to be redyed. His is associated with a reputable store in NYC. The rug costs approx 80,000 and he says it will be close to 10000 to get it back to what it should be. I looked on line and could not find any,prices to guess if this price was right. Does this sound accurate.

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    Kelley Rottinghaus June 11, 2016

    I’m not sure exactly why but this weblog is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

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    Nancy Pollard November 19, 2016

    We bought a good size oriental in Morocco a couple years ago. The center is a rich deep red –it is a camel hair carpet. There are some white spots in the red yarn and i am wondering if this is a typical camel hair feature where the yarn is too oily to grab the dye.

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    Linda January 7, 2017

    I have had a hand made wool rug from India for 10 years and have a sandy fine substance on my hardwood floor under it. This has never happened before. Any ideas?

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    rishikhanna January 31, 2017

    I’m glad you posted this! i’m in that slump right now thanks for sharing tips for care and maintenance of Oriental rugs and carpets.

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    Trudy April 30, 2017

    I recently bought a hand woven Bedouin wool rug (sheep & camel) in Morocco. It is a bold geometric design in bright colors, which looks to me folk art-sy. My concern is the fringe and opposite end. The fringe is only on one end and is 5-6″ long and unknotted. The other end looks right off the loom with just a half in loop. The corners of that are coming apart as they were never secured. I feel that the eds are unfinished. Can/should I knot the fringe myself? Do I need to find a professional, or might I hand sew the corners of the loop end?
    Will appreciate ant advice.

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    Scott June 14, 2017

    Interested and good advice. I agree that “Oriental rugs and carpets. If you are dealing with an urgent rug accident, see Emergency Care for Oriental rugs.” Much appreciated, thanks for sharing!

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    Vanlie Muk June 16, 2017

    My sister gave me a rug for my bedroom last month, and I’m not sure to wash it. It seems dusty, I’m afraid if I clean it it will ruin the rugs. The rug is very soft and has the best quality, I like when I wake up I feel the softness of the rug at my feet. Thanks for sharing how to clean this rug, your article is very useful. Hey I have other interesting information, please check here firmatoele.nl to get interesting information about the rug. This is very useful.