Persian and Oriental rugs are truly a work of art for the floor. These rugs are often precious family heirlooms, passed on from mother to daughter, father to son as a lasting legacy, one which stores treasured memories of loved ones and happy times. A rug is the focal point of a room and as a result takes a lot of wear and tear. One of the benefits of a quality handmade rug is that it can last for generations even under constant use. There is a phrase in the rug-world:
“If you look after a rug, it will look after you.”
A well maintained rug can last for well over 100 years, but left uncared-for its lifespan will be much shorter.
A Persian rug is made up of interwoven warps (which are visible as fringes at the top and bottom of a rug) and wefts, which run horizontally between each row of knots (securing them in place). The knots of a rug are tied to this foundation of warps and wefts to make up the pile and pattern of the rug.
So why should you have a rug professionally cleaned rather than do it yourself or use a carpet cleaning company?
There are several reason: a carpet cleaning company will not dust your rug, nor will they use cleaning chemicals and materials best suited to valuable woollen or silk rugs. They will almost certainly not use an acidic rinse on your rug which can cause dye destabilisation and colour run (either immediately or the next time the rug is cleaned) and as they clean the rugs in your own home they will not be properly dried leaving fabrics brittle and foundations at risk of degradation. Surface washing your rug at home is fine, if your know what you’re doing, we offer guides to washing your rug at home for those who want to attempt it on this blog; but it is not something we would encourage, particularly for valuable rugs or rugs susceptible to colour run or dye-bleed. Also, any sort of rug cleaning at home does not allow for dusting to be properly undertaken. Which leads us to our next point…
Why should I be concerned about my rug being dusted if it is to be washed anyway, and why doesn’t everyone do it?
The most important aspect of cleaning any rug is dusting. I will repeat that for any rug or carpet cleaners reading this:
The most important aspect of cleaning any rug is dusting!
The importance of this when it comes to hand-knotted rugs is multiplied ten-fold. It is also the one step that carpet cleaners will skip, as will many so-called ‘rug experts’. The issue so many have with dusting is that it creates a lot of environmental dirt and dust (ruling out doing it in your home), it’s also a LOT of work and can easily double the time it takes to clean a rug. Not only is it time-consuming but it’s extremely physical, imagine hanging a rug up to then beat it with a bat or beater for half an hour or longer? Imagine repeating this step all day? Coupled with the fact that aesthetically dusting a rug doesn’t initially add anything to the end result and it’s no wonder so many people skip it
The reason dusting is so important? That comes back to the construction of a rug and how dirt and dust can effect it. Fine dirt and dust penetrate down the depth of a rugs’ pile over years of use. This layer of dust becomes trampled in and compacted leaving a layer of abrasive material on top of the rugs’ foundation. These tiny sand-like particles can then wear away at both the pile and, more importantly, the foundation every time the rug feels movement. Over years this abrasion can damage or even cause the foundation of a rug to tear. While almost any repair of a handmade rug is possible it is by no means a quick job and the cost of doing so can be significant. In addition to this, without properly removing as much fine dirt and dust from a rug as possible the rug will simply be clean on top and still host dirt and grime underneath. Worse still the layer of dust can become more mud-like causing potential damage to extrapolate and leading dirt to ‘wick up’ after just a few short weeks. Without dusting you might receive your rug back looking quite fresh, but after a short period of time it will look dirty again and may be damaged in the process.
How is Little-Persia different?
At Little-Persia we only deal in handmade rugs and are dedicated to the cleaning and restoration of Persian and Oriental carpets; they are our business, our lives and our obsession. We have been cleaning rugs for years, manually beating them to remove as much dirt and dust as we can before starting the washing process. More recently we have developed a built-for-purpose motorised rug beater which allows us to dust rugs more effectively in less time, and thankfully isn’t as physically demanding!
On top of this we use specialised cleaning products and chemicals to wash your rug. We pre-test every rug for dye-stability to prevent colour run and dye migration. Every rug is examined to establish a cleaning plan then thoroughly dusted, spot-tested, stain removed (as much as possible) before being shampooed using an Oriental rug wool-safe shampoo and thoroughly rinsed with an acidic rinse which neutralises the alkali cleaning chemicals, restoring the rug back to its natural and slightly acidic state which in turn stabilises dyes preventing colour run. The rugs are then groomed and dried using air movers before any touch-ups are applied.
As you can tell, cleaning is an intensive process which can take hours for one rug. We can easily spend the same time on a handmade rug that a carpet cleaner would use to rush through all the carpets in a small house or flat.
Surface cleaning your rug every now and again is fine if done carefully and the rug is well maintained but nothing is a substitute for professional rug cleaning.
For more information on our handmade Persian & Oriental rug cleaning service or for a free quote contact us on
0141 420 6989 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.