A handmade Persian rug is a thing of rare beauty. Woven intricately with cotton, silk or wool, some rugs take roughly 8 months to a year to be spun. It’s no wonder that they cost a fortune since each piece is a unique work of art, thanks to exquisite craftsmanship. Unlike other precious collector’s items that can be kept under lock and key, Persian rugs, by their very nature demand to be used.
That said, don’t let your heart sink with every spill, and wear and tear. Just follow our quick-fix, cleaning tips to extend its life and preserve your Persian rug in mint condition for years to come.
1. Regular Maintenance
Rugs collect dirt over time and become a reservoir of dust, pollen, allergens, and even bugs. Always remember, like old wine, Persian rugs are worth more as the years roll by. And since you wouldn’t leave the cork open on a mature bottle of wine, it’s in your interest to employ a few preventive measures.
a. Avoid High Traffic Areas
It’s best to lay your rugs, especially those made of silk, in areas that see less traffic. Woolen rugs are hardier and can be placed in areas that see regular footfall. However, experts do suggest rotating your rug frequently to spread wear and tear evenly.
b. Be the Dirt Police
Ensure your family members and guests don’t walk over your rugs with their shoes on. Instead, encourage them to leave their footwear outside.
c. Vacuum Frequently
Vacuum your woolen rug, at least twice a week. Remember to work in the direction of the fibres, so as to not pull them out. Don’t be lazy and ignore the area under the rug. This way, the dirt doesn’t have time to settle in too deep.
Exercise more caution when cleaning a silk Persian rug. Brush it weekly using a soft bristle brush and shake firmly to get rid of grit.
2. The Horror of Spills
Clean up spills immediately by blotting it with a cloth. Work your way from outside towards the centre of the spill, thus controlling its spread. Never rub since that will only make the stain spread or make the dyes bleed.
If the stain is too deep, apply a solution of water and mild detergent. Blot with a cloth to get rid of any excess detergent.
Let the rug air-dry or use a hair dryer at a low heat setting. If the stain is dark, get it professionally cleaned.
Pro Tip: Be wary of hacks that swear by vinegar, baking soda, alcohol, etc for tough stains. It’s always best to do a patch test before you proceed.
3. Beat It Out
Beating rugs is a tried and tested way of getting rid of accumulated dirt.
Hang your rug over a clothesline and beat it until you are surrounded by a dust storm. But if you own a silk or antique rug, a couple of firm shakes should do the trick.
4. Pet Peeves
If you have pets, vacuum your rug daily or on alternate days . Make sure your Persian rug is far away from your pet’s feeding and litter areas. However, when your pet does lounge about on your treasured rug, clean dirt tracks immediately by lightly brushing off the dirt and wiping with a wet cloth.
If your pet urinates, defecates or regurgitates on the rug, don’t mope about it, just quickly mop it up and rinse that area in cold water. Follow it up by drying it thoroughly because moisture isn’t really your Persian rug’s friend. With excessive moisture exposure, the rug’s fibres tend to stiffen and even begin to rot.
However, with heavy damage, we suggest hiring a professional to save your soiled Persian rug.
(Disclaimer: The age of your Persian rug, fibre material, type of dye and knot-type may all play a part in how it reacts to different cleaning methods and solutions. Therefore, consult with a professional before you begin.)