Top 10 Tips About Antique Rugs

Precious cargo.

Precious cargo.

1. Antique rugs were designed to last for centuries.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about antique rugs is that they’re fragile or difficult to care for. Nothing could be further from the truth! Many of the rugs we sell are over 200 years old. They’ve lived more life than any of us can hope for, traveled across continents and oceans, hosted generations of families and celebrations. And yet, their vivid colors, tight weaves, and beautiful patterns still enchant us today (unlike mass produced synthetic rugs which only last for 5-10 years). Their history testifies to the durability of their materials and the skill of their makers. With basic care, you can be sure your rug will be a family treasure for generations to come.

2. Only buy from a reputable dealer.

Of course, we’re talking about authentic, vegetable-dyed, hand-woven wool and silk rugs. Synthetic yarns and artificial dyes are not nearly as durable as the real thing, and unfortunately, there are lots of less than authentic “antique” rugs floating around out there. Shopping for the right rug dealer is a better approach to securing an authentic antique than shopping for a specific rug to match your space. A reputable dealer should have experience, knowledge, and a reputation for quality. That’s why we pride ourselves on being responsive and transparent about the materials, history, and price of every piece we sell. And we’re always available for help, repairs, and questions that come up long after your purchase.

3. Treat stains quickly.

Spills happen, but don’t worry! The most common stains are easily treated with cool water and a towel. Dab the stain with a damp towel until it’s no longer visible, and then make sure to let the yarns dry naturally and completely before resuming foot traffic.

4. Be careful around fire.

Sounds like good advice in general, right? It’s great to sit on a rug in front of the fireplace—we do it all the time! Just take care to keep the rug at a safe distance and keep your fireplace screen closed. Keep candles away from high traffic areas where they can tip over. Basic fire prevention will keep your antique rug intact and keep you safe to boot.

5. Avoid water.

One of the most common causes of rug damage that requires professional repair is water damage. This can happen due to prolonged wetness or to plant pots causing “dry rot”, and the repairs in these cases can be costly. To avoid both, wipe up any big spills quickly, and do not keep potted plants on your rug. Plant pots can collect moisture and harbor damp or mold that can eat away at wool and silk yarns over time.

6. Use it or lose it.

As with all natural wool and silk fibers, the best way to prolong the life of your rug is to let it breathe. In other words, use it! Keeping a rug rolled tight in a dark closet invites mold and moths. Protect your antique rug from both: keep it on your floor.

7. Keep it clean.

Vacuum or sweep your antique rug regularly to prevent dust, hair, and dirt buildup. Avoid vacuums or brooms with very rough bristles. Basic cleaning is essential to an antique rug’s structure because without it dirt collects between the fibers and actually pushes the yarns away from one another making the weave weaker and more prone to breaking over time.

8. Keep it even.

The sun ages everything, from our furniture to our faces. The natural vegetables dyes used in the antique rugs we sell are extremely long-lasting and age beautifully over time with even sun exposure. If you keep your rug in a space that receives uneven sun exposure, like in a room with windows on only one side, rotate it every year or so. This will keep the color even over time and protect it from showing foot traffic patterns.

9. Go pro every 3-5 years.

We professionally clean each rug before sale, and we provide professional cleaning and restoration services to you whether you bought your antique rug from us or not. Professional cleaning is a careful, skilled process that protects the natural oils present in wool and silk yarns. To maintain the natural luster and vivid color of your antique rug and extend its life, we recommend professionally cleaning your rug once every three to five years.

10. With repairs, the sooner the better.

If your rug becomes damaged, don’t put off repair or restoration. With continued exposure to foot traffic, a worn or frayed area can quickly spread through the rug. The larger the area of damage, obviously, the more costly and time consuming the repair. If your rug needs restoration or repairs, make sure to call us or another professional, experienced antique rug specialist right away. Like our grandmothers said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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