Updated: Nov 22
Antique rugs are not just ordinary floor coverings. They are unique pieces of art crafted by skilled artisans using traditional techniques. Often, the cultures that made these antiques have lost their weaving traditions, tribal affiliation or simply no longer exist; such old rugs can be a cultural time capsule.
Cleaning and maintaining old textiles is more critical than many understand, and it often requires special care and attention, a gentle hand, and a learned, experienced understanding of how these textiles react to cleaning and cleaning limitations.
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of professional rug cleaning for antique rugs and why hiring an experienced rug cleaning company is crucial to take care of these valuable items.
Why Antique Rugs Need Special Care
Antique rugs can be made from various materials, mostly wool, cotton, silk, and sometimes precious metals like gold and silver. Use, age, time combined with environmental exposure, sunlight, humidity, soil, alter fibers and dyes. Color loss, brittle fibers, fiber loss, fraying and yellowing are easily observable signs of age-related deterioration.
Because of this, antique textiles require specialized rug cleaning techniques to ensure they are not damaged during the cleaning process. Often the cleaning process needs altering to compensate for their fragility. Specialized cleaning techniques, and screens to support worn or damaged areas, techniques are tailored to the specific type of rug and its materials.
In some cases, a thorough cleaning is ill-advised; completely removing dirt, dust, and other debris trapped in the rug's fibers may be too much to handle and would result in damage or accelerated deterioration. So, a compromise is made, imperfect cleaning somewhere between clean and dirty.
Preventive Rug Repair
Often overlooked, old rugs come to us with damage, and deterioration, and large holes start as little holes or fraying; addressing these holes before they get out of control preserves the rug and saves from much more costly repairs, in the case of oriental rugs, A stitch in time really does save nine.
However, not all cleaners understand the methods to repair rugs properly; the use of adhesives, machine sewing, and even improper hand-sewing techniques can be more destructive and devaluing to old rugs than leaving them alone.
The picture below is an antique Persian Sarouk rug, the ends cut and glued, serging by a machine, and machine fringe sewin over the top. Destroying the value esthetics and authenticity of the rug and causing more rapid deterioration.
Natural fiber rugs are not static; they swell and contract with heat and relative humidity in your home and in cleaning. Adhesives and synthetic yarns are static and don't swell with mosture and in combination, result in stress and quicker deterioration. There is no question that machine work carpet binding machines and adhesives are quicker and more economical they come at a price of longevity and esthetics.
Hiring an Experienced Rug Cleaning Company is Crucial
An experienced rug cleaning company will have the knowledge to address issues with antique carpets and textiles expertise needed to handle antique rugs safely and effectively.
Flashy equipment should take a back seat to an understanding of how to handle old weavings safely and preserve them. The ability to use specialized cleaning techniques and products tailored to the specific type of rug and its materials and a good understanding of cleaning limitations.
Hiring an experienced rug cleaning company is crucial to ensure that your antique rug is cleaned and restored to its original beauty and functionality and that it continues to be a cherished item in your home for many years to come.