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What You Should Know When You Buy Area Rugs

Posted by on in About Rugs
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What You Should Know When You Buy Area Rugs


Yes, there are a lot of choices. Colors, fibers, patterns, hand-made or machine-made, multi-level, woven, there are just so many decisions. 

Well, I just thought I would give you my perspective as a carpet cleaner. As far as color goes, some colors will have a tendency to fade quicker than others and the dye stability will vary from fiber to fiber, so if sunlight is an issue, you may want to dig in a little deeper as to the particulars with that color combination and the face fibers of the rug.

When it comes to buying a rug, there is a big difference between buying a machine-made or a hand-made rug. My view is the price you pay. There is little doubt that the hand-made rug will last longer and have a greater resale value. Really? Buying a rug for its resale value is like buying a car because it may be a collector’s item 50 years from now. Don’t get swept up by some fast-talking rug salesperson.

Buying an area rug that has multiple levels can also cause unforeseen problems. The higher pile gets all the wear and overtime if that higher pile has a different color or texture than the lower pile it will cause any traffic patterns to stand out and the rug will need replacing far quicker than you ever realized.

Speaking of different pile levels, another common blend with many higher-end custom rugs is they will use different fibers. Like wool and linen or wool and silk. Here again, wear can cause an issue you did not realize. Each different fiber will wear differently. Silk will wear much quicker than wool or linen. This uneven wear again will cause visual issues. Then we have facts like linen being the most absorbent natural fiber when it comes to rug fibers thus absorbing moisture and soil much quicker than adjacent fibers. 

The blend of different fibers also restricts the cleanability of a rug or the stains on a rug. Each type of fiber must be considered when cleaning and more delicate fibers may require a more neutral cleaner. One that is not too strong or harsh for that fiber. So if a rug is 10 % silk and 90% wool, it has to be cleaned just like a rug that was made of all silk, since that is the more delicate fiber. Other issues are in dealing with stains. Wool fiber is a protein fiber just as silk is. Yet a linen fiber is a cellulose fiber. This can present a problem when you have a protein stain, like blood milk or urine on a blend of both cellulose fibers and protein fibers. 

Other things to consider are items like the backing of a carpet. Is it synthetic, like a nylon fiber back or is it made of fiber like jute? Take a white wool carpet with a jute backing. Spill a glass of just plain water on it and you will find out the problems with a jute backing. Once the jute gets wet, it will bleed a reddish-brown substance into the white wool face fibers and it can very easily produce a permanent stain. One that is very difficult even for a professional carpet cleaner to remove.

Thinking of the backing materials of a rug. Many rugs have a cotton fiber in the backing that is very prone to shrinkage. Like a Wilton weave rug. With care and experience, this rug can be cleaned by an experienced professional without issues unless it has an accent border on the perimeter of the rug. This is commonly known as a border rug. If this rug is cleaned like any other rug, you will have all kinds of waves and bumps in it after. It has to be sent out to a plant where it can be blocked to prevent any shrinkage from happening while being cleaned. 

Feel free to e-mail me at Alec@Alecscarpetclening.com any time you are thinking of getting an area rug and I will be happy to give you my opinion of the pros and cons of your purchase before you buy it. Remember, I do not sell rugs. I only have to clean and maintain it from that day forward and understand what it will be exposed to. 



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Guest Tuesday, 27 February 2024