Oriental Rug Washing: Does Rug ID Matter
Recently on a message board one rug washer commented “Unless it is a cheap olefin rug”. It made me realize that when you say “Rug” I picture a hand-woven wool rug and base my answers on that. So unless you say tufted or machine made or silk or something I base my assumptions on that.
The problem is that I may recommend cleaning a rug very differently depending on what it is and how it is made. Olefin you can clean pretty much like wall to wall carpet. Tufted, gun tufted, machine tufted whatever you call it is fairly simple as long as the latex backing is good. You need to check that. With hand-woven rugs, is it going to bleed, is the foundation cotton, wool or silk. Is the pile wool, silk, silk highlights, viscose, or cotton? I was with Paul Iskyan at Rug Renovating last Sunday and he showed me a sample rug made with all the different fibers that one manufacturer (could have been Stark) uses in their rugs. I am not kidding they are making rugs from bananas, jute, hemp, silk, soy silk, aloe and many other fibers. I never even knew you could make rugs from bananas or aloe and I had to ask what soy silk was.
My point is that the more you know the easier it gets. Time spent on Rug ID can steer you away from costly mistakes and it can also help you get more business. If you want to cash in on the rug boom you at least want to know the basics. If you took your car to the garage for a tune-up and the mechanic didn’t know if your car was gas or diesel would you trust him. Heck, would you even leave your car there?
I will be teaching a course on Rug ID for the Great DC Rug Tour next February. We will be using the Herat Oriental Rug warehouse in Alexandria Va for the rug ID session. It will include all the main types of new older and Antique Oriental rugs plus examples of everything else we see on the market. We may not see banana rugs but will have over 10,000 examples to learn from. This course was held February of 2012