Persian rugs are known to be extremely durable, but they are not indestructible. Proper care and maintenance will greatly enhance the beauty and life of your rug. In additional to normal wear and tear, other elements such as central heating, air conditioning and household chemical can have detrimental effect on the fabric of a rug. Still, wool is a marvellous rug-making material, provided simple precautions are taken, your Persian rug will last for many years.
Having an underlay is extremely important. Never place an oriental rug, particularly an expensive one, directly on an uncarpeted floor. The purpose of an underlay is to protect the rug from being squeezed between two hard surfaces, as well as provide anti-slipping qualities. Oriental rugs without underlay would suffer greater damage due to pressure on the fibres.
There are numerous types o underlays on the market, but the two best general types are made from solid sponge rubber, which should not be confused with foam rubber or ripple rubber as neither of which is suitable, and those made from a combination of animal hair and jute with a coating of rubber on both sides. We prefer the bio-degradable sponge rubber underlay here at Oriental Rug Gallery in Nottingham, as it is most environmentally friendly and highly durable. It will be the best companion for your oriental rug for years to come.
Cleaning should be undertaken regularly and slowly. Unless your rug is very old or in a poor state of repair, in which case you ought to consult a specialist cleaner or book a cleaning appointment with us, the best way to remove grit and dirt is to use a carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner with beater bars. First vacuum the back of the rug. The beaters will dislodge the grit to fall out of the pile, then turn it over and going lightly across the face. Vacuum cleaners with extremely violent beaters should be avoided because they may damage the foundation. If in any doubt, it is safer to use a carpet sweeper or a brush.
Shampooing is extremely important part of routine maintenance of oriental rugs. Not only will this remove more entrenched areas of dirt and grit, but it will also put a degree of essential moisture back into the fabric. If the rug becomes too dry and brittle, which can happen in centrally heated or air conditioned rooms, the fibres of the pile material becomes brittle and consequently more prone to damage and wear. On the opposite extreme, if the rug is allowed to remain damp over a protracted period, the colours may run and, more seriously still, mildew may form and cause permanent damage to the foundation of the pile.
Shampooing oriental rugs in the UK should be undertaken by specialists, which is a service we offer, but avoid more general carpet cleaning companies, as the techniques and chemicals used in synthetic wall-to-wall fitted carpets are most definitely not suitable. Shampooing at home is technically possible with a good quality wool detergent that is applied gently with a sponge or cloth. The rug should then be carefully and systematically fired in its entirety, making sure that there are no pockets of dampness in either the foundation or pile. However in the UK we rarely have sufficiently hot and consistent sunny days to dry the rugs out. Going back and forth with a hand held hair dyer is arduous and ineffective and not recommended.
Speaking of mildew, one of the main causes of mildew, which is a fungus that thrives on cotton, is the dampness caused by ordinary household plants placed directly on the floor adjacent to the rugs.