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How to Store Rugs  

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Rugs are excellent durable floor coverings; when storing carpets and rugs too often, we see a family heirloom oriental rug stuffed in a storage facility or left rolled in the garage on a concrete floor during a remodel damaged or destroyed by mildew damage or moths.  

Cleaning Rugs Before Storing 

rug moth damage
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It's essential for rug owners to learn how to store rugs so they don't end up damaged; the very survival of your rugs may depend on how you store them. 

 

 

A visit to your local rug cleaner is a good idea if you plan to store rugs. Storing a dirty rug can lead to problems and irreversible damage.

A rug stored dirty is more attractive to pests and makes for a more favorable environment for insects such as moths, carpet beetles, and dust mites. The soil in your carpet acts as an additional food source for microbes such as mold, mildew, and even bacteria, and in severe cases, rot rugs or develop a musty smell. 

Additionally, some household soil and dirt build up in and on fibers. Some of these soils, over time, can react with carpet fibers and cause permanent staining and discolorations, making future cleaning of your rugs more challenging. 

Never use a non-breathable product like plastic to store rugs. Wool rugs need to breathe, wool holds up to 20% mosture when dry. Storing a wool rug in non-breathable plastic can cause a rug to rot and mildew over time. 

 

Wrap the rug in a breathable fabric like cotton or muslin or breathable material like Tyvek or brown craft paper.

 

 

Wrapping protects your rug from pests like wool moths, rodents, and soiling. Additionally, wrapping the rug can help to protect it from fading or discoloration caused by exposure to light. 

Wrapping the rug also helps to protect it from humidity and temperature fluctuations, which can cause damage to the fibers, mainly if the rug is made of wool, silk or other natural fibers.

 

 

 

Many types of area rugs, like Persian rugs, can be folded in bales to conserve storage space, but not all rugs. Fragile antique rugs and some machine-made carpets should be rolled, or they may develop permanent creases from being folded. When possible, it's always best practice to roll rugs from the end to eliminate creases and pile distortion. In some cases folding can crack or break the back of an oriental rug and cause permanent damage. 

 

 

 

Ideally, rugs are wrapped and stored in a climate-controlled storage unit or a cool, dry place. Avoid locations with high humidity and fluctuating temperatures, such as home garages. 

 

Avoid storing rugs and carpets on concrete or tiles floors; over time, concrete can pull natural ambient moisture in a rolled rug or carpet to the floor and rot the rug, or in mild cases, the rug develops a musty odor. Generally, it's best to keep rugs elevated off floors in case of leaks or floods. Most local rug cleaners can clean your rug and wrap it safely for storage; a rug cleaner will know what rugs can be folded or baled, and rugs should be rolled, not folded. 

 

This is also a good time to assess your rugs' value and ensure you have adequate insurance coverage on your carpets. You might be best served to get a written appraisal of expensive rugs and antique heirloom carpets. Take photos of your rugs before storing them as visual documentation in case of damage, loss, or theft. 

 

When removing rugs from storage for use, unroll rugs, vacuum, and fluff the pile back up. If you fold the rug, there might be a fold mark left on the rug. Often these fold marks will relax on their own in a day or two. If not, you can use a steam iron on the wool setting and steam the crease to get it to relay back out.

 

 

Ten Questions To Ponder When Storing Rugs

  1. Do your rugs need to be cleaned before storage? 

  2. Do your rugs need written appraisals? Consult your insurance agent. 

  3. Take photos of your rugs.

  4. At a minimum, vacuum rugs thoroughly before storage

  5. Roll or fold rugs, be mindful that some rugs should not be folded 

  6. Wrap the rug in a breathable fabric, such as cotton or muslin, Tyvek, or heavy Krst Paper, to protect it from dust and pests; never plastic.

  7. Store the rug in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight to prevent fading or discoloration off floors. 

  8. If the rug is made of wool, silk, or other natural fibers, consider storing it in a climate-controlled environment to prevent damage from humidity or temperature fluctuations.

  9. If you're storing the rug for a long time, check on it periodically to ensure it is still in good condition and to air it out if necessary.

  10. Is it worth the money to rent a storage space to store rugs.

Rug Storage Environment 
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