Uncle Bobs Tips

A Guide to Persian Rugs

A Guide to Persian Rugs

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So, you did it.

You finally decided to buy that gorgeous Persian rug you always wanted.

Yes, it's true; there might very well be nothing that enhances and adds elegance to a room like a Persian rug, be it antique or modern.

There might also very well be nothing that makes a room drab and shabby like a carpet that looks like it's been walked on just a few too many times.

So what's the secret? How do you keep that dream rug looking - well, like a dream?

We'll let you in on a few tricks of the trade.

Buying Your Carpet

The first step in taking care of your carpet is to make sure that you buy a good quality one. Wool, cotton and silk last much longer than synthetics, so it's worth investing in a carpet made of natural materials - you'll get a lot more bang for your buck. Another indication of quality is how many knots per square inch the carpet has - the more knots, the better the quality of the rug. A sure sign that your handmade rug is really handmade is "abrash." This refers to variations in color and tone in large fields of color, and occurs because the nomads making the rug moved locations while still working on the rug, or because they had to make more dye in the middle and the color didn't come out exactly the same. Far from being a defect, abrash adds to the charm and luxury of a Persian rug. Still, you should always ask for a Certification of Authenticity; this will insure that you are buying a real, handmade Persian rug rather than a cheap, illegal imitation, and will add to the price of the rug should you one day decide to sell it.


The good news is that handmade rugs do not require a tremendous amount of maintenance in order to keep looking good. They are made to last. While walking on these rugs doesn't damage them, the grime and the dirt that get tracked in from the outside does. A new, handmade rug that sees moderate to heavy traffic should be vacuumed once a week. Use the suction extension only; avoid the rotor vacuum and beater bar. Vacuum in the same direction as the pile. In order to determine which way the pile goes, gently stroke it back and forth with your hand; when you see that the pile lays smooth, you know that that's the direction of the pile.

Sunlight will cause the colors to fade somewhat. While this in itself is not such a problem, it'll look pretty funny if half the rug is lighter than the other. In order to avoid this problem, turn the rug occasionally - when the clock changes, with the seasons, or whatever works for you. Moths and other insects are a much bigger problem than sunlight; spray the room in which the carpet is located with insect spray about once a month.

What happens when the baby (or the parents!) spill food or drink on the carpet? Speed is of the essence here; the faster you treat the stain, the easier it will be to remove it. Blot liquid stains quickly with paper towels, then dilute the remainder with cold water and blot again. Keep doing this until the stain is no longer visible. You can use a small amount of gentle wool detergent mixed with cold water if the stain is really stubborn. Whatever you do, though, DON'T rub. Just apply firm pressure and blot well. Drape the rug over a chair or a fence to dry; if that's not feasible, then at least elevate the wet area so that the dampness won't sit and cause mildew. You can use a hairdryer to speed up the process, just don't hold it too close to the carpet because it might cause a burn.

Every five or ten years, your carpet should be hand-washed by a professional cleaner. If your carpet has fringes, don't use them as guide for when your carpet needs to be cleaned, though, as they are the first to look dirty and can be cleaned easily with mild, soapy water and then laid out flat to dry. Never steam or chemically clean your carpet, and make sure that you check out professional cleaners thoroughly before you use them.

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