Rug Care Tips
What are those white knots
White knots (called such, though they may be a different color depending on the color of your rug’s foundation yarns) are hidden in the pile of virtually every hand knotted rug. They are breakages in the foundation yarns that occur when the weaver is stringing their loom. The broken ends are simply tied together, forming the white knot, and weaving continues. As the rug pile wears down over time, these knots become more visible as they work their way to the surface.
These knots are often overlooked by the rug owner until after washing, when they are clean and bright white. Normal tracked-on soil helps to camouflage them. They are an indication of wear.
White knots should never be cut! Once cut, they create a hole in the foundation of your rug. If they are unsightly to you, consider having them re-piled with wool (can be expensive, but is a permanent repair), or we can professionally touch them up with dye (less expensive, but not a permanent fix).
Having a top quality rug cushion will reduce largely the wear and tear. Rug cushion prevent wear by reducing the impact of foot traffic on the rug.
Traffic Lanes, Wear Patterns and Pile Distortion
It is highly recommended that rugs placed in your home where there is heavy traffic to rotate it every three months.
TRAFFIC LANES are dark, discolored areas on a rug in the pathways we walk on around our furniture. They are the result of heavy foot traffic combined with too infrequent
vacuuming. Low performing rug fibers, such as faux silk (sometimes called viscose, banana silk or rayon), don’t hold up to normal traffic and show traffic lanes earlier than expected. Over time, the traffic lanes will become soiled and gray, while the areas under the furniture still look new.
WEAR PATTERNS are large visible aras of worn down, abraded rug fibers caused by heavy use, such as in a hallway or entry. Traffic lanes that do not receive attention will eventually become wear patterns, and low performing fibers, such as faux silk, will literally break down under heavy foot traffic causing wear patterns. Different than normal traffic lanes that may wash out, wear patterns are permanent damage that will not improve with cleaning. If left underchecked long enough, these areas will eventually become thread-bare.
PILE DISTORTION is a texture disturbance and discoloration that occurs when wear of use causes rug pile fibers to untwist. Light is now absorbed in these areas while the unworn areas around it still reflect light. In some case, foot traffic, may actually be “training” your rug pile to lean in the wrong direction. Improper spot cleaning at home can also be resetting the pile lay, and low performing fibers, such as faux silk, don’t hold their twist and will not lay in the right direction, even if light use. These distorted, dark patches of rug pile are permanent and simply cannot be groomed to lay in the same direction as the rest of the rug pile, although some degree of improvement may be achieved. This phenomenon is more obvious in open patterned rugs than in busy patterned rugs.
What you can do: place a good rug pad under your rugs to help absorb the worst of the wear. Our premium rug cushion will do the work. Also regular vacuuming, rug rotation and annual professional rug cleaning will go a long way toward keeping your rugs looking newer longer.
What is ABRASH means?
Abrash is a horizontal, naturally occuring color variance or hue change. These color changes usually are due to the weaver using wool dyed in different dye batches. It may appear to be the same color upon weaving, but over time, the dyes oxidize or fade differently. This is a far more common occurrence in village and tribal rugs, where wool is dyed in small batches. These color variance are not a contributing factor to loss of value in a rug.
This phenomenon is so common in hand knotted rugs that abrash is often purposely woven into machine-made rugs to make them appear more authentic.
Sometimes the abrash is subtle enough that normal tracked-on soil may camouflage it. If left long enough, rug owners often forget it’s there, only to rediscover it after cleaning.
There is nothing a rug cleaner can or should “do” about abrash. It is a unique coloration anomaly that should be enjoyed by the rug owner.
What is your favorite kind of Oriental Rug? Persian Kashan? 260-knot Chinese silk and wool? Kilim? Indian Dhurrie?
At Four Seasons Rug Cleaning Studio we want to help our clients and the general public to get good information. There is a lot of misinformation out there that people find on the internet and elsewhere. People unknowingly buy low-quality rugs, some of which smell terrible in the home because of the chemicals they are glued together with.
It is so important to find a local dealer, and a local cleaner who probably won’t be tour dealer, who you can really count on for helping you with putting his or her knowledge at your disposal, becoming an asset to you as you beautify your home.
For any rug which sits on the floor, make sure to have professional cleaning at least every 24 months for well-trafficked rugs, and every 36 months for less trafficked rugs.
Is a Tufted Rug the Right Choice for Your Home?
Tufted rugs are made differently than knotted rugs. First, a primary backing, similar to muslin, is stretched onto a frame and has the rug design pattern drawn onto it. Second, the colored yarns are poked into place through the material with a hand held tufting gun, and cut to create the pile. Third, a layer of latex adhesive is rolled onto the back of the rug to hold the tufts in place, as they are not knotted onto the primary backing. Last, a secondary backing and finishing hems are glued to the back to complete the rug. Many modern rugs are constructed in this way to make them more affordable to a larger market.
If you have pets, a tufted rug might not be the right choice. Removing pet urine from tufted rugs is an especially tricky task, as the urine cannot be thoroughly flushed out through the layer of adhesive.
Your new hand-tufted rug may give off a noxious petroleum-type odor. Unfortunately, most of the time we will be unable to do much abut this common tufted rug issue. The latex used inside the piece may be off-gassing, and those with chemical sensitivities might be adversely affected by this odor. Cleaning and deodorizing the rug does not fix the problem.
Over extended time and use, the latex will begin to break down and decay causing an off-white silty powder to fall from the back of the rug through the backing material. The secondary backing may even become loose from the rug. At this point you must you must decide whether to dispose of the rug to accept the appearance of the rug. Replacing the latex inside and apply a new backing is possible. However, it should be noted that the cost of performing this procedure may exceed the cost of replacement.
Some More Tips
- Specialty, silk other delicate rugs should not be used in foyer or high-traffic areas.
- Always provide a high-quality rug pad between the rug and the flooring (our company specializes in custom-cut premium rug pad. This will make the rug last much longer and prevent slipping.
- For spills, blot immediately if possible, and NEVER use carpet spotter products or other products unless they are intended for natural fibers.
- When edges, fringe or surface become frayed or torn, have repairs done as soon as possible.
- Vacuum at least once a week, but never use a vacuum cleaner with a beater bar unless it is manually adjustable for height settings.
- If you see clothes moths near the rug or on the rug, inspect it and look for small white worms. They can eat your rug. Also moths love to nest in dirty rugs so get them cleaned by us periodically- no less than every two to three years.
If you have any questions about your rug, do not hesitate to contact us at 805-642-4784.
Real silk & not-so-real silk
Silk, faux-silk, art-silk, faux-soie, bamboo silk, coconut silk, banana silk, flax silk,hemp silk, raw silk, rayon, viscose, mercerized cotton… These are all words used to describe silk fibers in textiles on the market these days. A real silk rug has approximately 900 knots per square inch and a faux-silk rug has approximately 300 knots per square inch. Buyer beware! Most rugs labeled as “silk” being sold today are not actually silk spun from silk worms. Instead, they are a more inexpensive cellulosic mish-mash of fibers meat to confuse and trick the consumer. These chemically treated, cellulosic fibers have a very short life-span and do not stand up well to every-day normal use and wear.
Whether your rug is real silk or a less expensive faux-silk fiber, the maintenance will be the same. Over-the-counter spotting agents should NEVER be used on silk or faux-silk fibers. The effects of these harsh chemicals are too damaging to the delicate fibers. If used, you will have permanent damage on your rug.