If long storage of such rugs is desired, we must prevent damage from moths, carpet bugs, mice, water and mold. While each situation and climate is different and different methods might be needed the following will be useful in majority of the cases.
- Have the carpet thoroughly dusted and washed (immersed in water in most cases) before storing it. This will eliminate the undesirable active deposits which could deteriorate the foundation threads. You may use our most professional services by clicking on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (212) 888-1111. We are specialists of very old rugs. Please call for estimates and instructions for shipping.
- Most rugs are better to be rolled over a plastic tube which is at least as long as the width of the carpet. Two or more cotton tapes should be used to tie it up. The roll preferably should be stored horizontally.
- Insects may be kept away by wrapping the rug completely in cotton sheets. Moths don’t east through the cotton. Silk and cotton rugs are not attacked by moths. The use of insecticides is generally not healthy to humans, so the cotton sheet is preferred. It is best to tie up the sheet with more cotton tapes to keep it secured from opening up and exposing the rug. Use of plastic sheet is not advised in most cases as it could allow molds to form. Moth balls don’t kill moths, only deter them, but they evaporate and disappear.
- Mold is a problem in damp areas. Therefore, make sure that the carpet is dry before you store it. If the climate where the rug is stored is damp, it is advisable to periodically open the rug to check it and air it out.
- Water getting into the carpet from rain, radiator, or other sources will cause lots of problems. Such water is many cases is not pure and the impurities could cause destabilization of colors, rotting of the foundation threads, and mold if the affected carpet is not dried quickly. It is best that the carpet be placed over 2X4 inch wood with good spacing in between for the water to flow under the carpet. A plastic sheet should be draped over the carpet for any water that rains down to run off.
- Mice and other rodents are hard to keep off. Exterminators should be used if you know you have them. You may put pepper corns in the carpet before and in the sheet for more protection.
- Make sure that your insurance properly covers the rug and that you have a recent appraisal for it. We do appraisals in the New York Metropolitan Area.
The above is a general guide for storage in average conditions and for moderate duration. Please consult a professional for your own specific situation, especially if you have a valuable or delicate oriental rug and you wish to store it for a long period of time.
While most experts do not recommend vacuuming and I certainly agree with them for the very old and delicate carpets, I would say on newer and stronger carpets vacuum cleaner may be used with some discretion in the following way:
- Use a gentle vacuum cleaner without a roller brush. Avoid feeding the fringes and selvedges to the vacuum cleaner. Do not over do it, only vacuum if a corn broom cannot do the job.
To remove dust from inside the pile which the vacuuming will not accomplish, you may turn the carpet face down and use an upright vacuum cleaner several times. In this day and age when beating carpets is not practical this method is a good replacement.
Over wall to wall carpeting
We have not seen a successful placement of an oriental rug over a wall to wall carpet. The problems are that not only is it a walking hazard but it moves and crumbles as well. Some mats are said to do the job, but there are many problems. At this point we recommend to use orientals only over wood and stone floors.
This is a major concern to every owner. Moths live outside and come in when a door or a window is open. They multiply very fast and it is hard to get rid of them. They could also come from other carpets while carpets are sent to commercial cleaners because people who get moths in there carpets send them to be cleaned. At times these carpets are piled with over carpets where moth eggs are picked up which don’t necessarily die in washing.
Serious steps have to be taken when storing oriental rugs. Please read my article “Storage of Oriental Rugs”. For the carpets in use the danger is really minimal. You just, however, broom or vacuum (see above) the carpet from time to time. The underside should be done once or twice a year. If you are going away over an extended time you may want to wrap your oriental rug in a cotton sheet.
CLEANING OF ORIENTAL RUGS
Cleaning of oriental rugs depends largely on the fastness of the dyes and the conditions of the carpet. A major step in the cleaning is the removal of the dust or dirt which gets deposited into the pile and gets more packed as the carpet is stepped on and as it gets dirtier. Nowadays the dust or loose dirt get removed by various vibration methods. Beating the carpets has become less feasible due to the environmental concerns.
Generally rugs made in the 19th century and earlier, as well as some made in the early 20th century, have natural dyes which are stable in water. Such rugs benefit from immersion in the water as all of water soluble and detergent/soap soluble foreign materials and some loose dirt will be removed. For a great majority of these rugs and carpets the soap and water wash is adequate. There is usually no damage to these carpets in the old style soap and water wash provided it is not done by machine and it is not dried in a heated room. Our system involves no machines or heated rooms. It is done the old fashioned way.
SEMI ANTIQUE RUGS
Semi antique rugs are definitely the carpets’ which require an expert’s decision about how to be washed. It is best to ask a professional dealer who has experience with washing a lot of carpets as some carpets have synthetic dyes while others were made with natural dyes. Those with natural dyes are safe to wash with soap and water as the colors are fast and do no easily destabilize with urine, liquor, juice or other foodstuffs. Those with synthetic dyes at times could require special treatment as the dyes could destabilize due to any of the above-mentioned accidents. Red colors have proven to be more of a problem. For candle wax removal see the section on contemporary rugs.
They mostly behave like the semi antiques with synthetic dyes. A negligible minority is made with natural dyes, and it is suggested that they be handled also by the experts in washing. If they are stained with urine, juice, liquor, foodstuffs, or damaged by floods, we should assume that such stains are not removable by washing. Candle wax could be removed by using a warm iron over blotting paper or another plain colorless absorbent paper.