top of page

Old Myths and Old Wives' Tales, About Oriental Rugs

Updated: Mar 1

Oriental rugs, with their intricate designs or bold tribal patterns, are often expensive and frequently surrounded by myths, nomenclature, and inaccuracies; this follows through to care, cleaning, and maintenance.

The internet is full of advice, and while well-meaning, much of the advice is inaccurate, including poor advice from old wives' tales. These off-the-cuff opinions can damage your rug's fiber colors, devalue, and even destroy your Persian rugs.

Persian Oriental rug runner in a kitchen
Oriental rug in a high traffic kitchen

Rug Cleaning Methods

Beat Rugs To Clean Them
One of the oldest and most persistent myths is that a Persian rug can be cleaned by hanging them up and beating them with a broom or specialized rug beater rod. While this method removes particulate spoil, such as sand and clay dust, it can also cause damage. The beating can be too aggressive and, in some cases, create a hole in your fine rug. If you choose to beat your rug, do so carefully and gently; thin and worn rugs can be damaged by beating the back too aggressively. One alternative is to vacuum the back of your rug with a roller brush/beater bar so the vibration generated loosens and vibrates it to the face of the rug.

Comercal rug cleaners use specalized rug dusting equipemnt to remove dry soils

Dry soil build up in an oriental rug
Dry soil in the base of a Persian rug

Regular Vacuuming Harms You Oriental Rug

While it's true that Vacuumes can be too aggressive, harm rugs, and cause damage. Regular vacuuming removes soils, loose rug fibers and keeps them from building up in your Persian rugs. Removing dirt, dust, and allergens from building up in the base of your rugs & carpets is essential to your health and your rug's longevity. However, it's advisable not to use a vacuum with a beater bar on thin rugs or kilims as it can be too aggressive. Avoid the fringe ends when vacuuming and use a gentle or higher pile height setting. So, while vacuuming can be harmful if done haphazardly or too aggressively, it's also essential for keeping your area carpets looking great and extending cleaning intervals.

Deeply embedded soils removal during in-plant rug washing
Oriental Rug soil removal during washing (this can be done in -home)
Home Cleanings Are Just As Effective As Professional Cleanings

While spot cleaning and careful maintenance at home can keep your rug looking good, professional cleanings are necessary every few years to remove deeply embedded dirt, odors, and potential pests. From heavy foot traffic to air pollution, wool rugs love to hold soils and impurities. The same static electric charge you get for your favorite wool sweater pulls air pollutants from the air to your wool rugs, keeping your home cleaner; your rug is dirtier than you realize. Professional oriental rug cleaning drop-off rug cleaning uses specialized equipment washes the whole rug for a deep clean that cannot be done in your home.

Home spot cleaning, Baking soda, and vinegar: Every rug will need spot cleaning at home. Baking soda is alkaline and can harm wool and dyes, driving color run and loss. Using baking soda as a deodorizer is no substitute for removing the odor source from the rug, such as pet urine. Vinegar is safe for wool however used in combination with some stans can set stains permanently. When spot cleaning your oriental carpets we recommend a professional spotting cleaning guide or a rug cleaners advice

Using Common Carpet Shampoos Won't Harm Rug Fibers

Many commercial carpet shampoos are too harsh for wool and silk found rugs and can damage their natural fibers, fade the dyes, or leave a residue that attract soil faster. Shampoos are low-moisture cleaners and only clean the top of the carpet and rug fibers, not the whole rug. Always opt for cleaners designed explicitly for oriental or wool rugs, or better yet, rely on professional services.

Water Alone Can Clean Rugs

Water is sufficient for cleaning some spills; in most cases, more is needed. While water is essential in the cleaning process, solely using it can sometimes spread a stainand limit soil removal for textiles. Detergency is needed and specalized cleaning solutions formulated for wool and silk and to keep soils suspended in water to flush away from your rug.

Did you know that different types of spills require different formulations and cleaning solutions for successful removal?

If It Looks Clean, It Doesn't Need Cleaning

The charm of rug with bold colors and designs is they don't look as dirty as they really are. Unlike synthetic rugs or carpets, area rugs can hide dirt and grime well due to their weave dense pile and rich colors. Waiting until the rug looks visibly dirty can mean it's already heavily soiled deep within its fibers. It's generally recommended to have oriental rugs professionally cleaned every 1-3 years, depending on foot traffic and use.

Antique Oriental Rugs Need Less Frequent Cleaning

The myth suggests that older rugs have withstood the test of time and are less vulnerable to dirt and debris. However, the opposite is true: life on the floor is hard, and older rugs can be more fragile and may have accumulated years of dirt deep within their fibers and neglect. Like any other rug, cleaning intervals should be based on the type of use and soil accumulation, not age. Antique rugs need, regular cleaning to help preserve an older rug's lifespan. However, because of their age old carpets need special care so seek out antique rug cleaning experts, those knowledgeable about antique carpets

Rug Pads Are or Aren't Necessary

Rug Pads provide five benefits for area rugs. Rug pads prevent slippage, offer cushioning underfoot, reduce wear in rugs by cushioning food traffic, absorb & reduce sound transmission, protect hardwood floors, and add insulative value. While there will always be situations that don't require rug pads, area rug pads provide benefits to your rug and home. make sure the rug pads you buy is specific for area rugs and rated for wood floors

Red Wine Stains are Permanent

Spilling red wine on an oriental rug is a nightmare, but it's an impossible myth to remove. You need to act quickly by blotting (not rubbing) the spill, removing as much wine as first, then using one drop of liquid hand dish detergent to a cup of water and applying it to the wine spill and blot. Harder to remove is old wine spills that need a professional rug cleaner's touch and experience and appropriate cleaning solution.

High traffic oriental rug on stairs
oriental rugs on stairs need more frequent care

Clean oriental rugs when they need it not simply many rugs can go years between cleaning. Most Persian or oriental rugs don't need to be cleaned every year if cared for properly.

When it's time to clean seek out professional rug cleaner with experince rug fibers and wool rugs.

It's important to dispel myths and understand the right way to care for oriental & area rug ensure its longevity and beauty for years to come.

24 views0 comments


bottom of page