Cleaning Antique Rugs and Carpets

For the life of your handmade rugs it is important to keep them clean and in good repair. In many cases, years of neglect have let dirt and grit go deep, and this leads to breakdown of the fibers and the structure. Have your rugs professionally hand washed every few years. This is a service we provide at Eli Peer Oriental Rugs.

Sometimes the dirty condition is obvious, and the rug even smells unclean. Otherwise, to see if your rug needs cleaning, turn over a portion onto your upturned palm and slap it a few times on the back with your other hand. If you collect dust and dirt, it is time for a proper cleaning. Deal with stains quickly, especially pet stains, but avoid the grocery store products that are intended for synthetic carpets.

Old rugs and textiles, especially silks, may need special attention. Look for dry, brittle condition and area of rot or insect damage where the rug comes apart easily. Other signs of trouble are bleeding of colors or waviness, where the rug will not lay flat. Frayed sides and ends should be secured before the problems get worse. "A stitch in time saves nine."




The proper way to clean oriental rugs and carpets is to wash them by hand, something we do at Eli Peer Oriental Rugs. Here is what we do:

  1. Inspect for stains and damage.
  2. Gently beat on the back to loosen the dirt. Or it may be necessary to soak the rug for as much as 24 hours.
  3. Remove the stains. This takes knowledge and experience.
  4. Test for colorfastness.
  5. Place the rug, pile side up, on a large hard surface and shampoo in all directions. Use the right brushes and a shampoo that will dry to a powder.
  6. Dry flat (no hanging) using warm air current.
  7. Vacuum out any remaining dirt and shampoo residue.