To Clean Or Not to Clean?

Persian and Oriental rugs come in all shapes and sizes, some are treasures worth their weight in gold, while others are fairly standard. It may not be nice to hear but many Persian and Oriental rugs will not make your investment portfolio swell. It is true that most handmade rugs will hold their value, and with rising material and labor costs throughout the world, it would be impossible to buy a rug today at the same price as ten or even five years ago.

The rugs most likely to increase in value are those of the highest quality, those which due to today’s prices no longer justify being knotted as the market for them barely exists. Other investment-worthy pieces are likely to be older rugs found in top condition, these are likely to be unique and will continue to rise in value with age.

Before anyone panics, as long as your rug was bought at a fair price the chances are it has held its value, of course, the difficulty is selling it on as drug dealers only sell at a profit so would never consider paying retail value.
All of this is important when it comes to Rug Cleaning or repairing your rug. You really need to know where you stand when it comes to your rug before deciding how best to clean and maintain it. How much it is worth and more importantly, how much it is worth to you is what is important when choosing the best option.
Most wool rugs can be surface washed at home, there are many guides on the internet dealing with this process, the main points being tested for colorfastness, do not overly wet the rug or use abrasive chemicals and dry it as quickly as possible. This option is recommended for a rug which you are happy to keep and use on a daily basis until (hopefully many years down the line) it becomes threadbare and can be replaced. Minor repairs such as securing the fringes or the sides of the rug can normally be carried out by reputable drug dealers.
Higher quality pieces or those which may be fragile due to age or material are best left to the professionals, this, of course, can be expensive but can prolong the life of your rug significantly. Whatever option you choose it is important that the rug is washed a few times over the course of its life, too much-ingrained dust and dirt can stiffen the foundation of a rug, putting it at risk of cracking or tearing.

A rug specialist may recommend the rug be sent back to its place of origin to be worked on. This could be because the rug is too fragile to deal with at their own premises or perhaps if the rug is a special piece or of considerable age. The weavers if the rugs can carry out any repairs needed without changing the appearance of the rug or showing major signs of repair – maintaining or even increasing the value of the rug. This option is only advisable for rugs of considerable worth or sentimental value as the costs of transporting the rugs back to the middle-east are considerable. If you plan to sell the rug on and are treating it as an investment this is the best option.

In short, if your rug is an average piece and you are confident that washing it at home will not damage it then, by all means, attempt to clean it at home. If however, you have your concerns, your rug is quite valuable or has silk in it then it is normally best to speak to a rug specialist for advice. They will either recommend a specialist hand-knotted rug cleaner deal with the rug or, in special cases, the rug may be sent back to Iran for cleaning and repair.