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Care and Maintenance for Antique and Distressed Rugs


All bales and folded rugs should be handled gently and with care. Avoid stacking folded rugs and avoid folding rugs which resist fold. When opening bales do so with caution, avoiding the use of sharp objects.

Always handle rugs with a wide, broad, space between both hands and a deep grasp so as to carry the burden of the carpet’s own weight. Avoid handling by the fringe or using strong holds on the perimeter.

Centering rugs on a rug pad is ideally lined up as close as doable during initial placement. Further centering should entail two or more individuals raising diagonal or opposing corners by simultaneously wafting air underneath the rug so as to assist in a gentle slide. No tugging or pulling is needed. Detail centering can also be performed by lining up one edge and end, then pushing slack out to the opposing corners or sides.

Storing of hand knotted rugs for extended periods of time is recommended only after they have been professionally cleaned.

Stains & Cleaning:

All stains or staining agents should be scraped as best as doable off the surface of a rug working toward the center of the stain. Once most all the staining agent has been removed, blot any excess with clean towels, rotating the surface of the towel to fresh clean areas until virtually no moisture residue is absorbed.

Do not use blanket all in one spot or stain cleaners / cleaning agents, steam machines, or any mechanical scrubbers or washers.

If a strong staining agent has spilled, only flush using cold distilled water after successful scraping and blotting, flushing the area thoroughly, and repeating the blotting instructions. Avoid applying any treatments other than household found items, and only after having consulted with us. Cleaning must be trusted only to professionals familiar with antique, vintage, and distressed hand knotted rugs.

Contact us for details and emergency tips. We do offer repair and cleaning services to our customers -- e-mail us for more information: md@oldnewhouse.com

Short Term Care:

Carpets exhibiting distress and or low pile with thin character are generally best swept once a week or as needed. Should vacuuming be a preference, a mechanical broom (or non-electric) push driven sweeper will prove less abrasive. Suction vacuum is not recommended except infrequent annual basis or as needed. Moderately distressed rugs, or rugs with little wear may have light suction vacuum with an aerated bristle extension on an as-needed basis. This will reduce strong suction while also extracting any problematic debris from the surface of the rug or carpet. Roller brush vacuuming may be okay in less or infrequent intervals. As with all carpets, especially those small and thin in character, avoid using a roller brush vacuum along edges, corners, and never on the fringe.

Long Term Care:

For moderate to heavy traffic areas, repositioning/turning the carpet 180 degrees every 12 months will help distribute potential wear and/or isolated ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. This is especially helpful to perform when carpets are partially under furniture or in close proximity to windows/skylights.

Tatter and or loss through use and time should be identified early so as to avoid incurring significantly larger repairs or restorations.

Any stray material strands or loose ends should be brought to the attention of a professional. Often, pulls are best clipped at the originating source to prevent snaring. Most stray material will be inconsequential and infrequent, although it’s best for a professional to see and consider it before a potential issue compounds. Often, small professional mends or darning are all a rug may need after many years or more of active use. This is rather affordable preventative maintenance from larger aesthetic and condition issues that can arise from a carpet that is neglected over time.

Depending on how much traffic your carpet is subject to, we recommend professional hand-cleaning every 2-5 years. Generally, the cost of this is inexpensive. The process entails slight dusting on a smooth surface (vacuuming from the back of the carpet to vibrate out dirt or grit with a roller brush) and hand washing with cold to lukewarm water and a mild detergent.

Hand knotted rugs are extremely durable, even those exhibiting distressed aesthetic. Under average conditions, your carpet may need few, if any, repairs over many years. To add to the longevity of your carpet, pad is highly recommended. Some carpets may be sensitive to the hard pressure of high heel shoes or the traction of tennis shoe type rubber soles. Contact us if you have concerns.


OLD NEW HOUSE® LLC, 914.401.9099

33 Katonah Avenue, Katonah, NY 10536 United States

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