Maintaining your Handmade Rug

Handmade Rug Care Tips

We always say that a good handmade rug will last for decades, not years. Therefore, it is important to take proper care of it. We’ve put together our top tips for maintaining your handmade rug.

1. Keep it clean

Vacuum your rug regularly to prevent dust and dirt from settling deep into the fibres. If you can, occasionally take the time to flip it over and vacuum the underside of the rug as well, as dust and dirt can accumulate there too.

When dust and dirt settles at the base of the knots it can rub against the fibres and cause wear in the pile.

Vacuuming helps to deter the settlement of moths. This is particularly important for parts of the rug covered by furniture, so make sure you pull it out and give it a good clean. 

2. Cleaning up spills and stains

Accidents happen, so it's important to act quickly if you spill something on your rug. Use some dry kitchen towel to blot the spill, drawing up as much of the liquid as possible, but take care not to rub the stain further into the rug.

After blotting, you can flush the area with cold water and blot again in order to remove staining.

If you still have a stain after repeating these blotting & flushing steps a few times, you can try using a very mild diluted detergent in the water. Don’t use harsh chemicals or cleaning products as they may cause discolouration, instead, use a very small amount of diluted washing detergent.

If you do have to wet your rug, make sure to dry it out fully and quickly. If water seeps through the pile, the warp and weft threads (the threads to which the knots are tied) may start to rot, causing further damage to the rug. The colours can also run into each other if the pile of a rug is left wet or damp for a prolonged period of time. Ideally in hot weather you could take a small rug outside and allow it to dry naturally. In other cases, you can use piles of books to allow air to circulate underneath the rug, and a fan heater/hair dryer can be used to speed up the drying.

Fortunately, lanolin (a wax found in sheep’s wool) is naturally stain resistant, hence the longevity we expect from our rugs. If you are unable to fully remove a stain from a spillage using the methods above, a professional wet clean should take care of the rest (see below) unless it’s a particularly stubborn substance such as grease, ink or blood.  

3. Rotation

Over time, any dyed material left exposed to sunlight can start to fade. Rugs left in high traffic areas can also become worn as the pile starts to flatten. Therefore, rotating your rug each year will minimise any uneven wear, and ensure your rug ages evenly.

4. Professional cleaning

We recommend having your rug professionally cleaned every few years. This removes accumulated dirt, stains and odours that are difficult to tackle at home. Make sure you choose a company that specialises in handmade rugs. Rugs of Petworth offers a rug cleaning service at £35 per square metre. Find more information here.  

5. Nip it in the bud

If you notice the fringes or selvedges (edges of your rug) starting to come loose, it’s important to nip it in the bud. Resecuring a rug is really cost effective, and can make such a difference to the overall appearance. Rebuilding, however, is much more costly. 

6. Underlay 

Underlay helps to keep your rug in position, and stops it from sliding on hard floors or getting rucked up. Not only does this keep your rug laying flat, but it also helps to prevent any trip hazards. Also, if the floor underneath is uneven, the underlay will help to protect the rug from wearing excessively on the high spots.  

7. Storage

If you need to store your rug for an extended period of time, make sure you roll it up, rather than fold it, and store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or anywhere that may be damp, as this can cause mould, discoloration, or damage to the fibres. We also recommend being extra diligent about moths and other wool-loving pests. If the rug is going to be stored for a good length of time, it’s best to ensure it is moth free beforehand (via a professional wash) and then wrapping it up in plastic for its time away.  

If you have any questions about caring for your handmade rug, please drop us a message, we’re happy to help! 

The Rugs of Petworth Team

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