Caring for Oriental Rugs

We recommend the following practices in maintaining and cleaning your Safavieh rugs:

General care & cleaning

  • Use padding beneath your rug.
  • Vacuum regularly, and rotate the rug once a year for even wear.
  • Never place a plant or flower pot directly on your Oriental carpet.
  • When spills occur, blot them out immediately with a clean cloth. Repeat as many times as necessary to dry the area.
  • For difficult spots: Contact a professional rug cleaner in your area and make sure they follow the correct cleaning methods for your rug's material and construction.

Protecting against humidity

Humid weather is the worst enemy of the warp and weft threads of Oriental rugs. These threads are often made of cotton, and over time they can absorb humidity and rot. This problem is most often seen in older rugs, and is almost never detected by the untrained eye. Before threads rot, they tend to dry out, causing portions of the rug to stiffen. You can avoid humidity damage by having an expert periodically check your rug and replace any dry threads.

Preventing moth damage

Moths love wool — especially where there is a lack of air circulation. Before storing your rugs, protect against moth damage by using a few commercially available moth balls.

Avoiding uneven wear & fading

Over time, study the traffic patterns on your rug. If there is constant traffic on one portion of the rug, rotate the rug every year. This will ensure equal traffic and wear on all sides. The same rule applies to fading — over many years of exposure to the sun, most Oriental rugs will fade in color and brightness. This is not a problem, as long as the fading is even throughout the rug's pattern. As new rugs age, the bright colors will fade into beautiful soft tones. (This is one reason why older rugs are more desirable.) To prevent uneven fading, position your rugs so that each section receives equal amounts of sunlight.

Repairing color runs

Both vegetable dyes and chemical dyes may run if the rug is improperly washed, or if water is spilled on the carpet. Experts can clean the color run and restore the beauty of your Oriental rug.

Maintaining rug construction

  • Fringe:
    Contrary to what most people think, the fringe at the top and bottom of an Oriental rug is not added for decorative purposes. Fringes are actually the tied ends of the warp threads that run the vertical length of the rug, serving as the foundation. It’s important to maintain the fringe; if it becomes worn, the rug’s knots may start to unravel. If the fringes on your Oriental rug are worn close to the pile, it may be necessary to have an expert replace some of them. If you don’t like the look of fringes, don’t cut them — you can always just fold them under and tape them to the back of the rug.

  • Knots:
    A rug’s knots are crucial to its quality and appearance, as they make up the overall design and color scheme. If your rug has a hole in it, or a burn or small stain that can in no way be cleaned, an expert can replace the missing or ruined knots with new ones.

  • Weft Threads:
    These run in rows along the width of the rug, keeping the warp threads and knots in place. Often, the ends of these weft threads come out in the pile, appearing as white knots. You may begin to see these white knots as the pile of the rug begins to wear down. Do not attempt to cut these threads — this can result in an indentation or a small hole. These threads can easily be remedied by an expert without causing damage to the rug. This treatment should be part of the periodic maintenance of the rug.

  • Side Edges:
    The purpose of the stiff binding along the edges of an Oriental rug is to protect the knots. You should periodically check the side edges for signs of wear, and replace the worn parts as needed.