How Do I Care for Antique Rugs?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Antique rugs can be a big investment, so it is important to care for them properly. There are various ways to help keep your heirloom rugs and carpets in fine condition. If you display your rugs, make sure they are protected from furniture and heavy foot traffic, or consider hanging them on the wall. Take care to properly clean your antique rugs by avoiding harsh detergents or modern vacuum cleaners. If you store your rugs, be sure they are carefully wrapped to avoid insect infestation and other damage.

When caring for antique rugs, carefully consider where you place them. Direct sunlight can harm your antique rugs and cause them to fade. Also, avoid placing extremely heavy items and furniture on your rugs. If you must, use protective furniture guards under heavy chairs and sofas to avoid damage to the rug fibers. Another rule to remember is never to use hot water to clean or blot a stain, as this too can damage the fiber of the rug.


If you have young children or heavy traffic areas in areas of your home, you might want to consider displaying your antique rugs on the wall, rather than placing them on the floor. This may preserve your rugs, but you must also remember to periodically take them down to dust off or sweep them. The experts advise against using any type of electric vacuum with suction power, as this can damage your antique carpets and devalue your collectible rugs. Using a carpet sweeper or broom on antique hooked rugs is a safe alternative to an electric vacuum cleaner.

Avoid using commercial carpet cleaners and powders, and do not steam clean your oriental rugs and antique carpets. Also, never saturate your antique rugs with water. A good way to care for your antique or oriental rugs is to have a professional do it for you on a yearly basis if needed. A process known as tumbling can safely and effectively remove dust, grime, and dirt.

To safeguard your heirloom rugs, everyone entering the area should walk barefoot or without shoes. If you should get a stain on your antique rug, clean spills immediately. Do this by gently blotting with a clean white towel, and never rub the carpet as this can cause damage and set the stain deeper.

Avoid placing a collectible rug in a room that your pets have access to. You should also rotate rugs regularly to ensure even wear. You can do this annually or semi annually. You should also use some type of padding that can provide protection underneath your antique rugs.

Storing antique rugs for an extended period of time must be done with care. The rugs or carpet should be wrapped carefully to avoid insect infestation, as moths are often attracted to the wool fibers. A professional can safely wrap your carpet after treating it with a protective solution.


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