Making Your Oriental Rug Beautiful Again

Published: Jul 11, 2019
Category: Rug Repair
colorful oriental rug

Has your beautiful Oriental rug been damaged? Don’t despair: by hiring a rug repair professional, you can make your rug look as good as new.

It’s very normal for any area rug to show some wear and tear over time. After all, rugs get walked over, stained by wine and chocolate milk spills, and dented by heavy furniture. They also face the challenges of moths, carpet beetles, and other cloth-eating pests.

Even with regular oriental rug cleaning, you’ll need to hire a professional to repair and restore your rug every once in a while. With expert maintenance, you and your family members can appreciate the fabulous colors and intricate designs on your Oriental rug for years to come.

The most important thing to know is that it’s best to get your rug repaired as early as possible. The longer you wait, the more the rug will unravel, leading more extensive damage that can be incredibly expensive to fix.

Fixing Five Common Types of Damage on Oriental Rugs

Your Oriental rug probably won’t wear the same all over. The ends and sides of rugs tend to fray more quickly than other parts, necessitating semi-frequent spot-maintenance on these areas. In addition, rugs can get holes and other damage from moths.

Here’s how a rug repair expert can fix a few common problems:

1. Rug Ends Fraying

light color rug in the livingThe two fringed ends of the rug form the foundation. It may not seem like it at first glance, but the ends play a significant role in maintaining the rug’s integrity and must be treated with care. Since the fringe is entirely exposed and loose, it’s easy for it to become damaged.

If the damage isn’t stopped, the section of rug surrounding the end may unravel, leading to further damage. Extensive damage to the body of the rug can only be repaired by re-knotting, a time consuming and potentially costly process.

When the fringes become loose, the best way to fix the problem is to quickly get a rug repair expert to secure them. The expert may cut the fringe to an even length, use a stitching technique to stitch one long thread along the entire end of the rug, or even sew on a new fringe if the pile (density) is very thick.

2. Rug Sides Fraying

Most Oriental rugs have two sides without a fringe. Over time, these sides may become loose and begin opening up, which can result in more extensive damage to the body of the rug.

To fix a frayed side, the rug expert will typically wrap the side with wool. This is a labor-intensive process that requires great care. The type and color of wool used depends on the original rug. While a coarse wool edge is often applied to thicker rugs, a thin rug may necessitate a tight, narrow edge.

3. Moth Damaged Rugs

Moths can do a number on any Oriental rug. If some of the threads on your rug have disappeared, you can probably blame these pesky insects.

Luckily, this type of damage can be repaired. As with other forms of damage, the sooner it’s addressed, the less expensive the repair will be.

Depending on the material your rug is made from, you may need to watch for damage more carefully. Wool rugs are more vulnerable to moth damage than many other materials, including cotton.

4. Holes in the Rug

Holes happen. While this may seem like a difficult problem to fix, it’s definitely doable for a rug repair expert as long as the area surrounding the hole is in decent condition. A thicker pile can also help hide repair stitching.

There’s a two-step process for reweaving a rug with holes:

rug repair

  • The rug expert rebuilds the foundation. The foundation fiber is broken, and it has to be repaired and extended before anything else can be done. A good repair depends on having a good foundation.
  • The rug expert sews wool threads to cover the hole. These threads should match the density and pattern of the foundation as closely as possible. From there, the area is trimmed to match the surrounding pile height.

5. Rugs with Low Pile

Oriental rugs tend to develop areas of low pile (low density) over time. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, an extremely low pile may expose the foundation of the rug and cause severe damage. If the pile is so low that the foundation is visible, it’s definitely time to send the rug to a repair professional.

Some rug owners decide not to repair the rug in cases of lighter low pile. Low pile can simply be a way of showing age and character, and master weavers may not always be able to find an exact color match, though they will try to get as close of a match as possible.

Avoiding Area Rug Damage

While rug damage can generally be repaired, it’s best to avoid it in the first place. Here are four things you can do to keep your rug in good shape.

1. Keep Moisture Away from your Oriental Rug

Water is used to clean rugs, but too much exposure to water can rot the underlying fibers of your rug. Mold and mildew are also common, particularly in areas like the Pacific Northwest.

After cleaning your rug, make sure to let it air dry completely until no moisture is left. Don’t place flower pots directly on the rug, as moisture (and dirt) can drip down and damage the material without you even noticing.

Try to avoid keeping rugs close to running water sources like sinks, the washing machine, or bathtubs. If the rug is next to a window, make sure to keep the window closed when it rains.

2. Prevent Insects from Taking up Residence

It’s common for the larvae of moths, carpet beetles, and other pests to damage rugs. These insects often lay eggs on natural fibers and the hungry larvae that hatch can do quite a bit of damage.

Seek immediate rug treatment if you see active insects, webbing, crawling larvae, or small patches of missing rug pile that go all the way down the foundation. The damage is generally repairable but may become cost-prohibitive if left unattended until it’s extensive.

3. Blot Spills Immediately

Often the culprit behind an insect infestation is a wine or sugary juice spill that wasn’t properly wiped up. Also, spills can be absorbed into the fiber and become difficult to remove.

If you spill anything on your rug, even water, blot it immediately with a cloth or paper towel until it is lifted.For juice, wine, coffee, and other more damaging spills, sprinkle the rug with club soda or blot with a combination of warm water and a capful of white vinegar.

Oil spills should be treated by sprinkling with flour and then pressing a piece of brown paper bag against the stain until the paper has absorbed the oil. Make sure to vacuum or sweep away the flower and then blot with a clean towel.

4. Protect your Rug from Pets

We all love our pets, but our pets don’t necessarily love our rugs. Teething puppies and scratching cats can do extensive damage.

If your puppy is focused on your rug, try sprinkling moth flakes underneath the rug as a deterrence. Most dogs hate the smell of moth flakes. As for cats, try to curb scratching and clawing behavior to keep your rug and other furniture in shape. Ask your vet for tips.

Make sure to treat pet urine spots as soon as possible to avoid long-term damage. Sprinkle the rug with white vinegar and club soda solution, blot until dry, and repeat until the odor is gone.

Get Expert Help to Protect and Restore Your Rug

Most area rug damage can be repaired, even intricate Oriental rugs. With the right care, your rug can continue to add color and character to a room for generations.

Here at Alexander’s Rug Care, we have over 20 years of experience repairing, cleaning, and protecting rugs so they can last for many decades to come. As a family-owned business, we are dedicated to details and providing the best possible customer service.


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