Category Archives: Rug Care and Cleaning - Page 2

Oriental Rug E.R. – Burst Pipes

With the onset of Mother Nature’s frigid wrath, we have seen a record number of rugs coming into our cleaning service with water damage.  The amazingly low temps have caught many homeowners off guard and an unfortunate number have experienced water damage from burst pipes.  Here is some quick information that may help you if you are in this situation.

First, your rug will need to be professionally cleaned, sooner rather than later.  Many people think that getting the rug dry should fix their problems, but that may actually be one of the root causes of their problems later down the road.  While the water from a burst pipe may look clean, by the time it reaches your rug, it is filled with contaminants.  Improper drying and storage of your rug will likely cause mold and mildew to set into the foundation of your rug.  Once this happens, the damage may be irreversible.

We know that you will have many problems to think about if this happens to you, but keeping your oriental rug investment safe involves acting as quickly as you can.  Contact your local, professional oriental rug cleaner as soon as possible.  If you do not have one in your area, contact your rug dealer.  They will have a cleaning service they can recommend for you.

Don’t wait for your rug to dry before getting help.  Drying may cause more damage, or cause existing damage to become permanent.  Try to get as much water as possible out of your rug to lower the weight of the piece.  Leave the rug damp (this may keep some stains from setting and becoming permanent.)  A soaking wet room size piece will be too heavy to move.  Some rug cleaning services have pickup services.  If not, you will need the rug to be as light as possible in order for you to transport it.  Use a shop vacuum to suction out as much water as possible.  If this is not available, a squeegee may also be substituted for decent results.

If possible, check your rug for any specifically damaged areas, such as rips, tears, or color bleed.  Be sure to let your rug cleaning professional know if you find any specific damages.

Assuming that your rug is cleaned quickly and does not have any major damage such as tears or color bleed, professional cleaning will likely restore your rug to it’s original condition.  Other damage success rate is dependent upon the type of damage, type of rug, and how quickly the rug was treated.  Hand-knotted wool rugs have our highest cleaning success rate.  Some hand-tufted rugs may experience delamination- a condition where the latex or glue in the rug degrades.  In most cases this will result in a powder coming off of the back of the rug and in extreme cases can cause the rug to fall apart.

Keep all documentation regarding the purchase of your rug and receipts for cleaning and repair.  Most homeowner insurance policies will help covering these expenses.  If you have further questions regarding water damage, contact our store or your local, reputable rug dealer.

 

 

 

Thanksgivapocolypse

Some are big. Some are small. Fast or slow, they just keep coming. They travel in hoards. They are relentless is their pursuit. They are driven by hunger. And they will stop at nothing to feed… Zombie apocalypse? NO. THANKSGIVING. In one week the mass of hungry family members will converge on your home and much like being ready for zombies… you must be prepared!

While we can’t help you with cooking masses of food, we can help you with a few tips for rug “mishaps.” Keeping your oriental rug investment in tiptop shape isn’t difficult if you remember these few rules.

First, give your rug a “tune-up” before family arrives. This will ensure that it is looking good and will make any cleaning easier afterwards in case of mishaps. Simply vacuuming thoroughly will usually be all your rug needs. Try to avoid the fringe while vacuuming side to side, parallel to the fringe, not against the nap. If you notice any spots or stains, try cleaning them by blotting the area with water or club soda and a clean cloth.

Spills of almost any nature may be removed without permanent stain if taken care of right away. The sooner you clean the spill, the less likely it will become a stain. Most spills will sit on top of the pile momentarily, allowing you to clean up before the spill can work into the pile of the carpet. Blot or scrape away any excess spill or stain immediately. If necessary, dilute the spill with a moderate amount of water, and then blot the wet area until all of the stain is removed. Repeat as necessary. Begin at the outer edge of the stain and blot towards the center. Do not rub the spill. This will allow the spill to sit on top of the pile, and will not allow the spill to leave a ring where the stain would be. The best way to blot any kind of solid spill is to take a spoon and scoop it up, making sure not to rub the stain into the carpet.

To up-right any pile that has been indented or crushed by the legs of heavy furniture, first moisten the indented area, and then brush it against the nap. This will bring the nap away from the foundation of the rug. Once you have pulled all of the nap upright, use a soft brush to brush the nap uniform with the nap direction of the pile. Use a towel to remove any excess moisture, and make sure that the area is completely dry before use.

After the family has gone home and you are working hard to finish off any leftovers you can give your rug a quick look over to make sure it doesn’t need any further attention. You can learn more about a thorough cleaning you can do yourself by ready our post on a rug “tune-up” here: http://lexingtonorientalrugs.com/blog/2012/04/06/oriental-rug-tune-up/. If your rug has specific stains that won’t come out with water, or if your rug has experienced physical damage, you probably want to give your local reputable oriental rug dealer a call. One of the best times to get your rugs cleaned is immediately after the holidays. This ensures a full year of rug cleanliness before the hoard once again descends on your home to feed their hunger…

Can I clean my oriental rug myself?

We get the following question often.  “Can I clean my oriental rug myself without taking it to a professional cleaner?”  The answer is yes.  But it also begs a bigger question- should you do it yourself?

Before attempting to clean your rug, you need to know a few things.

First- Does your rug need to be cleaned at all?  While the standard industry answer is that wool rugs should be professionally cleaned every 3-4 years, there are many rugs that simply do not warrant professional cleaning at that point.  Put simply, if it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it.  The test for deciding if your rug needs cleaning is easy.  Is it visually dirty?  If your rug looks dingy, the colors are muted, or if there are noticeable spots or stains… it needs to be cleaned.  You can also grab a corner of the rug and shake if vigorously.  If you see lots of dirt and dust coming out of the pile, it’s time to clean the rug.  Have your pets used your rug as a potty too many time?  Definitely time to clean your rug!

Second- Does your rug need an intensive, professional cleaning, or does it just need a little “tune-up?”  Regular maintenance of your rug will keep it looking great for decades, and tuning up your rug every now and then is really easy.  First, give you rug a quick look-over.  You need to be looking for any bald spots from wear and tear, spots and stains, and fringe damage.  Be sure to check the bound edges of the rug (selvedge) for any breaks or fraying.  Also, be sure that you check any areas that may be hidden under furniture (this is where bugs like to hide.)  If you find any areas that need to be repaired- contact your rug professional immediately.  Taking care of small repairs early insure the long life of your investment and won’t turn into major repair expenses in the future.  Second, give your rug a thorough vacuuming.  Sounds easy, we know, but there is a distinct method that we use to get the maximum effectiveness out of vacuuming.  Start by moving any furniture off of the rug- you may need a little room to work here.  Next, vacuum that top (piled) side of the rug moving parallel to the fringe and perpendicular to the selvedges.  This makes sure that you are not moving against the nap of the rug which may actually push dirt and dust deeper into the pile.  Now (this is the hard part), flip your rug over and vacuum the back side (knotted) of the rug.  The beater bar will “massage” out dirt and dust that may still be trapped in the pile.  When you are done, flip your rug back over, being careful to avoid any dirt and dust that may have collected on the floor.  Finally, vacuum the front of the rug again using the same method as before.  If you found any spots or stains during the initial look-over, try to remove them using water or club soda.  Saturate the spots with either water or clear club soda.  (Club soda sometimes work better than water because the bubbles help break up stains.)  Once saturated, use a clean towel to blot away as much of the moisture as possible.  Repeat until the stain is gone.  Allow the rug to dry; it can also be handy to place a clean paper towel underneath the rug between the rug and your floors to expedite drying time.  If you are unable to get the stain out using these methods, contact your rug professional, they will tell you what to do.  If you haven’t rotated your rug in the last year, now is the time.  By periodically rotating your rug, you ensure even wear and tear and traffic patterns.

If you have looked at your rug and decided it needs an intensive cleaning, there is also a list of actions not to do.  Do not steam clean your rug.  Do not dry clean it.  No shampoos, no chemical spot cleaners, no enzymes, no Oxyclean.  If you cannot remove the stain with water, call your rug professional first before trying anything else.  (These methods can cause damage to your rug or induce color bleed.) 

There are a few other warnings that we would like to make you aware of before you attempt to clean your rug by yourself.  First, once your rug is wet, it is going to be HEAVY.  You will need help moving the rug not only to protect yourself, but also to prevent damaging the rug with its added water weight.  Second, you will need to test your rug for colorfastness before getting it wet.  The last thing you will want is for the color to bleed and cause permanent damage.  Third, you MUST get any cleaning agent out of the rug completely before drying.  Any residual soap will actually cause dirt and dust to adhere to the wool fibers, changing the texture and causing the rug to discolor quickly.  Finally, assuming everything has been easy so far, the rug must be dried very quickly.  This does not mean leaving the rug in the sun hung over a fence.  This method would take days for your rug to dry.  If your rug is not dried completely within 24 hours, mold and mildew will begin to set into the pile.  Once the mold and mildew reaches the foundation of your rug, the damage cannot be undone.

We cannot stress how important it is that oriental rugs be cleaned using the correct method.  Any deviation could not only leave your rug looking and feeling strange, but it can cause permanent damage to your rug.  If you are not in Kentucky (that’s where we are) contact your local reputable rug dealer for cleaning.  Of course, if you are near Lexington, bring it to us! 

For more information on how to maintain and ensure the long life of your oriental rug investment, check out some of the great information on our website at www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com

Oriental Rug Repair

One of the best properties of oriental rugs is their lasting durability and ability to be repaired.   Some repairs are much more common than others, and most proficient rug dealers can complete a simple repair within a few days. 

The most common types of damage that we see involve the fringe and the selvedge of the rug.  The selvedge is the overcast edge of the rug.  It makes a clean division between your floor and the pile of the rug.  This selvedge is usually constructed of multiple heavy gauge cotton threads that are then overcast with dyed wool.  The base fiber may also be wool or silk, but in most cases cotton is used because of its tensile strength and relatively low cost.

Check out this old Serapi damaged after many years in a high-traffic entrance of a law office.  Repeated wear and tear over the years with no proper maintenance has caused the selvedge to completely separate from the pile of the rug.  Because of the basic construction of hand-knotted rugs, we were able to re-construct the damaged warp and weft that the selvedge attaches to and re-connected the selvedge to the pile.  A few extra stitches here and there, and a little extra wool yarn to fill in the gaps in the selvedge and… Voila!  Good as new for a few more years.

“Doctor” Dale is in…

Our furniture/rug store offers a furniture and rug repair service. Our furniture guru “Dr. Dale” can fix just about anything. Check out a recent project. You continue to amaze us Dale!

Do you need a rug pad?

Sometimes our clients look at us like we are crazy when we tell them that they may not need a rug pad.  Do we sell rug pads? Yes. Do you need one underneath your rug? Not always. Here is why.

Rug pad serves only two purposes. First, it keeps your rug from sliding around when you walk across it. This does protect your floor and extends the life of your rug, but more importantly, it keeps you from falling. The reality of your wool handmade rug damaging your floor or you wearing your rug out because you did not have a rug pad is not all that plausible. How else did rugs exist before rug pad anyway?

Second, rug pad adds a slight bit of cushioning. This serves a function of comfort, but does not extend the life of your floors or rugs in any way.  In some cases, this cushioning may also help keep the rug clean by allowing air to pass beneath the rug during vacuuming, but this is often not the case with solid pads.

The problem exists in that rug dealers have a bad habit of telling customers that they always need a rug pad. They will sometimes insist that a rug pad is necessary to protect your floor and that your rug will not last without a rug pad. This is simply not true. This is just an attempt to upgrade the sale by adding on a rug pad.

Now don’t get us wrong. Rug pad can be a great thing. It does protect your floor and will keep your rug from sliding. It’s just that it is not always necessary. Most room sized rugs are not going to slide anyway. And many people simply like the feel of cushioning under the rug. Just don’t let anyone scare you into buying one.

One last thing… if you do buy a rug pad, make sure that it is specifically made for an area rug on top of hardwood or tile flooring. Some manufacturers even make specialty pads for rugs on top of wall to wall carpeting. The wrong pad will have an incorrect amount of petroleum in it and can harm the finish on your floors. Make sure that you have the right pad with a guarantee not to harm your floors. If you have questions, contact a reputable dealer for help. You can always call us at 859-254-4412.

Oriental Rug Tune-Up

When I was growing up, I can remember that this time of the year meant that my awesome Mother would be giving the entire home an intensive Spring Cleaning.  Trust me, it was not as fun as you might be imagining.  It usually ended up with me and my brothers cleaning the windows… not nearly as fun as soccer in the yard.

Luckily for you, giving your oriental rug a spring cleaning “tune-up.”  Requires much less effort and allows for much more time spent playing soccer in the yard.  Here are some steps that our professionals at Lexington Oriental Rugs suggest as a quick way to keep your rug structurally healthy and looking great:

First, give you rug a quick look-over.  You need to be looking for any bald spots from wear and tear, spots and stains, and fringe damage.  Be sure to check the bound edges of the rug (selvedge) for any breaks or fraying.  Also, be sure that you check any areas that may be hidden under furniture (this is where bugs like to hide.)  If you find any areas that need to be repaired- contact your rug professional immediately.  Taking care of small repairs early insure the long life of your investment and won’t turn into major repair expenses in the future.

Proper Vacuuming Pattern

Second, give your rug a thorough vacuuming.  Sounds easy, we know, but there is a distinct method that we use to get the maximum effectiveness out of vacuuming.  Start by moving any furniture off of the rug- you may need a little room to work here.  Next, vacuum that top (piled) side of the rug moving parallel to the fringe and perpendicular to the selvedges.  This makes sure that you are not moving against the nap of the rug which may actually push dirt and dust deeper into the pile.  Now (this is the hard part), flip your rug over and vacuum the back side (knotted) of the rug.  The beater bar will “massage” out dirt and dust that may still be trapped in the pile.  When you are done, flip your rug back over, being careful to avoid any dirt and dust that may have collected on the floor.  Finally, vacuum the front of the rug again using the same method as before.

If you found any spots or stains during the initial look-over, try to remove them using water or club soda.  Saturate the spots with either water or clear club soda.  (Club soda sometimes work better than water because the bubbles help break up stains.)  Once saturated, use a clean towel to blot away as much of the moisture as possible.  Repeat until the stain is gone.  Allow the rug to dry; it can also be handy to place a clean paper towel underneath the rug between the rug and your floors to expedite drying time.  If you are unable to get the stain out using these methods, contact your rug professional, they will tell you what to do.

There is also a list of actions not to do.  Do not steam clean your rug.  Do not dry clean it.  No shampoos, no chemical spot cleaners, no enzymes, no Oxyclean.  If you cannot remove the stain with water, call your rug professional first before trying anything else.  (These methods can cause damage to your rug or induce color bleed.)

If you haven’t rotated your rug in the last year, now is the time.  By periodically rotating your rug, you ensure even wear and tear and traffic patterns.

For more information on how to maintain and ensure the long life of your oriental rug investment, contact your local oriental rug professional.  Or if you like, check out some of the great information on our website at www.lexingtonorientalrugs.com

Folding Rugs for Storage and Shipping

Are you tired?  We are.  Why, you ask?  We’ve been packing and shipping a lot of rugs around the globe.  Sound crazy, we know, but this little thing called the internet has become pretty popular.

Transporting or storing large rugs is no easy task.  We have been folding, rolling, and packing rugs for almost 20 years now, so we have learned a few tricks along the way.  If they ever make rug rolling an olympic sport, we promise to bring home a gold medal.  So if you need to roll or fold rugs for transport or storage, here are some tips for making your rugs travel sized.

A few caveats before you begin.  Before folding or creasing your rug, make sure that doing so will not damage the rug.  Some tufted rugs or super dense hand-knotted rugs can be damaged if creased.  Some lower-grade machine made rugs can be creased permanently.  And if you ever hear any popping or cracking when you are folding your rugs- STOP.

If you have enough room or manpower, or if your rug refuses to be folded, you can simply roll your rug.  Start by rolling from the short end of the rug so that the length of the roll is as short as possible.  If you need something to keep the roll ridged while you are moving it, try rolling the rug with a cardboard tube inside.

Assuming that your rug can be folded, it is often beneficial to fold your rug before rolling it.  This will save space and will also make the rug easier to move.  

For room size rugs such as 8x10s and 9x12s, the single fold method is easiest.  Start by folding the rug in half down the length of the rug.  Next, fold in one end of the rug.  (This will help to keep the rug straight while you are rolling it.  In some cases, you can fold in both ends of the rug to protect the fringe.)  Now from the folded end, begin rolling the rug, keeping the roll tight, but not so tight as to pop any warp or weft strings.  Once the rug is rolled, secure it with a couple of ropes tied with a slip knot.

For rugs larger that 9×12, it is sometime impractical to use a single fold method.  If you need to make the rug more compact, start by folding down the length of the rug into thirds.  Now fold in one end and then roll using the same method as before.  Again, use a couple of ropes to secure the roll and keep it tight.

Oriental Rug Sprouting (it’s not just for vegetables)

Does your rug appear to have loose threads or undone knots?  It could be what the rug industry calls “sprouting” and is usually not a major reason for concern.

Many hand-knotted rugs are constructed using hand-spun or hard-twisted wool.  Both of these methods of spinning wool produce a “nubby” texture that is very popular right now with the demand for antique reproduction rugs.

Hand-spun wool has an inconsistent number of twists among the strand in comparison to machine spun wool which has an exacting number of twists.  Just imagine spinning your own wool into yarn, which involves twisting wool fibers together with one hand and spinning it into yarn on a wheel with the other.  Getting it perfectly even and consistent is a real challenge.  Hard-twisted yarn involves a machine-spun process that is designed to mimic the nubby texture of hand-spun wool.

Regardless of the process, the relatively loose and inconsistent number of twists among the thread can produce sprouting.   Sprouting usually becomes more apparent after the rug has been cleaned, vacuumed, or has had regular use.  Basically, some of the loose fibers unravel and stand up out of the pile.  The knot is still intact, but the fibers that create the pile are longer than usual.

Fixing the problem is easy.  Just get a small pair of scissor and clip the excess pile material off even with the rest of the pile.  Do not attempt to pull the fiber out (this would remove the entire knot.)  Clipping the “sprout” is all you need to do.  The rug won’t unravel.  It is not damaged.  This is just a normal part of the “break-in” process for this type of rug.  Once you have clipped a few sprouts, (there will probably be more than one) sprouting usually stops.

There are some cases where sprouting symbolizes a problem with the construction of the rug.  Excess sprouting, or sprouting from a tufted or machine-made rug can be evidence of poor construction.  Consult with your local reputable rug dealer for more information in these situations.

Finding a dealer you can TRUST- part 2

Things to Avoid:

As with all retail businesses, there will be those who take part in unfair or deceptive practices.  Here is a list of things to avoid:

Bank Ordered Liquidations, Fire Sales, Going out of Business Sales, Emergency Liquidation– in most cases these involve raising the price of the rugs in order to offer a heavy discount.  We have found that in many cases the heavily discounted price is actually higher than the everyday retail prices of these stores.  

Make an Offer Sale– It’s hard to believe that anyone gets a good deal at these.  As long as you make an offer above the set selling price, you get to take home a rug- but you may end up paying more than fair value.  Stick with places that don’t make it a guessing game.

 
Hotel auctions, estate sales, etc.-  The main danger here is that all sales are final, and once the auction has ended you have no ability to find the dealer or auctioneer if you have problems.  Many states do not prosecute auctioneers or simply do not choose to, and descriptions of oriental rugs are not only deceptive, but are often completely wrong.

Hidden Prices- Any store that does not follow ORRA standards and will not display their selling price on their rugs is either pricing so high that sticker shock scares customers out the door, or is giving different prices to customer as they qualify their incomes.