The antique rugs market can be daunting at first. The quest to “know” rugs is a journey of gaining exposure, knowledge and discovering your personal taste. To guide our clients, many of whom are art and antique collectors, we created RenCollection to help them to determine which pieces possess an elevated level of beauty, originality and the level of quality appropriate for the sophisticated home as well as being precious tangible assets.
There are few factors of decor as consistently magnificent as vibrantly colored, intricately patterned antique rugs. But there’s something that feels a little scary about walking all over a rare, one-of-a-kind antique (especially one that often comes with a hefty price tag). These aged pieces were created to be durable and well-trod, and a little maintenance goes a long way. But many household practices that we’ve come to rely on — such as the use of cleaning solutions — are too harsh and aggressive for your prized antique rug.
How can you understand the quality of rugs?
It’s difficult and takes years of practice and experience to recognize an authentic, high-quality rug, there are a few things you can ask about when you’re eyeing a piece. The three main components that determine the quality of a piece are the dyes, the wool and the number of knots per square inch. Ultimately, however, if you want to be sure the rug you’re buying is truly an antique, it is best to consult an expert.
What materials are common for weaving antique rugs?
There are some common materials for making rugs. Antique rugs are generally woven with wool, while cotton is a close second. Other materials, including silk and goat hair, are less popular but still arise often in the antique market. As long as a rug is crafted from pure materials, such as untreated wool, silk or cotton, the care won’t vary greatly. There are, however, small differences. For example, heat should never be applied to silk rugs, which are more delicate and require separate care. Stains are more visible on cotton rugs, so take extra precautions to avoid spills. Wool is the easiest to clean and therefore a great choice for high volume areas in your home.
What are the best ways to? Can you use a vacuum?
It’s normal to feel as though you need to tiptoe around antique items, but some experts believe that “antique rugs that are in good condition have already withstood the test of time. There is no reason why, if taken care of properly, they will not continue to survive for years and years.” While you may worry that your vacuum is too harsh for your rug, frequent vacuuming is, in fact, necessary to remove everyday dirt that otherwise wears down the pile. It’s best to use an ordinary suction vacuum without bristles, as the bristles can damage the rug’s pile. We also suggest rotating the carpet every couple of years because of foot traffic.
How often should an antique rug be cleaned?
You should send out once every five years for cleaning. We recommend vacuuming and spot-cleaning regularly. A professional rug cleaner has the skills and equipment to do a full cleanse of your carpet and ensure that it dries thoroughly in a temperature-controlled setting.
How do you go about repairing a damaged rug? How do you know if the damage is beyond repair?
When it comes to tears, holes and frayed edges, don’t try and fix it yourself. Consult a reputable rug dealer to find out whether or not your rug can be fixed. If they think it can be saved, have your rug dealer recommend a restorer who can bring your carpet back to life. You should know that repairing can be costly so you have to consult experts and choose the best one.
How to use and care rugs?
There are common mistakes that people make when they are using antique rugs in their houses. Your home can be riddled with traps for your vintage carpet, many of which are easy to overlook. There are the obvious, like untrained pets, and the more subtle, such as too much sun exposure or placing the rug under heavy furniture.
One specific tip is to keep your eyes peeled for months. If you happen to find one on your rug or think there may be evidence of moth damage, take your carpet to a professional — moth damage can be pernicious, and it’s best to ensure the problem is fully dealt with to minimize harm to your piece.
Keep your rug away from moisture. If it gets wet, prop it up and let it dry out completely before laying it back on the floor. The best environment for a rug would be a place that is dry, without a lot of direct sunlight, not too hot, not too humid or damp and that does not get an excessive amount of daily traffic.
If you want to keep your antique rugs, wrapping them in breathable cotton fabric, not plastic. Every two months or so, air the rug out and check to make sure the storage area is still dry and not exposed to humidity.
If you spill coffee on your antique rug, do not panic. This can be fixed. First, immediately blot the area of the spill. Then, place a towel or cloth under the rug and pour warm water through it until the stain rinses out. To ensure the colors do not bleed, test a small area of the rug with a damp cloth. If the color does transfer over, it’s best to leave the job to a professional rug cleaner.
there is no doubt that antique rugs and carpets bring multiple benefits to any home, besides keeping feet warm and creating a soft and comfortable cushion. Mastering all the above will allow you not only use your antique rugs but also learn you how to care them!