Buying and Maintaining Antique Rugs
Rugs are some of the most valued, diverse, and ancient forms of home décor. Perhaps the appeal lies in their unique niche as functional art, or as one of the oldest forms of crafting. Many rugs are also known for their value, rarity, and unique characteristics. The art of making a rug – especially by hand – is one of patience, delicacy and skill.
Naturally, such objects deserve to be carefully maintained. Today, we’ll talk about how to maintain rugs of many kinds!
Choosing a Rug
The first thing to know is how your selected rug was made. Tufted rugs are cheap and more common, easily identifiable by the white or canvas backing. Woven rugs have the same design on the front and back, and according to “Rug Chick” Lisa Wagner can last for “centuries.”
You should also know the material. Wool is the most durable. Be wary of a bargain silk rug, as genuine silk is extremely expensive; most new room-sized silk rugs don’t go for under $1,000.
Speaking of money, it can often be more expensive to restore certain kinds of rugs, especially cheaply made tufted rugs. Synthetic rugs actually dirty more easily because of their backing material, a plastic called jute. Jute is sticky and holds dust, and pet odors cling to it like a magnet. If you come into possession of one in truly dire condition, just buy a different one.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Truly restoring a rug can be a very difficult process that requires special training. This means that the ol’ Rug Doctor is not an acceptable solution: it leaves many of the powerful chemicals and water in the rug after drying. Without proper drying equipment, you’ll have a mildew garden instead of a nice new floor decoration.
For a sturdy wool rug, dust regularly with a broom, including the back. It’s best to not use an upright vacuum, especially one with a brush. Instead, use an upholstery attachment. Figure out the grain of the pile, or the many woven loops in the rug. You can determine this direction by running your hand across it. Like shaving, you want to go with the grain of the pile to avoid any damage.
Also, under absolutely no circumstances – even on white fringes – should you use bleach! Bleach weakens the fabric permanently.
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