How to Clean Valuable Rugs and Carpets
It’s easy to say that antique rugs and carpets should be properly maintained and cared for, but unless you’re keeping your rugs behind glass doors or a sealed container to preserve it, antique rugs and carpets around the house will still be subject to the usual grind of daily wear and tear. They will collect dirt and dust, and occasionally, suffer a spill or a stain. That rug may have lasted years, even decades before it found its way into your home, and the responsibility of maintaining it now rests on your shoulders. Hopefully, you’ll be able to pass that torch on to your descendants, too. But to do that, you have to take proper care of that precious rug while it’s still in your possession. And central to that responsibility is the regular and proper cleaning of your very own vintage piece.
As with any regular rug, you will want to hire a professional cleaner to clean your rug every few months or so, or at least once to twice a year. Make sure to look for those who specialize in cleaning and restoration of antique rugs, and not just carpet cleaners per se, as older rugs that are made of materials far different than today’s modern carpets do require specialized cleaning. In between these months of professional cleaning, however, you will want to provide what regular maintenance you can to your rugs, which includes regular vacuuming, and spot cleaning in case there are any stains.
Most antique rugs are sturdy enough to handle regular vacuuming, and doing this can keep your rug as free and clear as possible from the usual dirt and dust. Professionals do recommend adjusting your vacuum settings to “bare floor” to go as gentle as possible on your valuable rug.
As with most regular carpets, spills should be handled as soon as possible, by using an absorbent, clean, undyed cloth to blot the excess liquid. With any luck, blotting immediately may completely resolve the issue, with no stain to show for it. If you need something a little stronger, try some dish soap with cool water, though you may want to test this out first on a small and inconspicuous corner of your rug first. Spray the cleaning solution on the rug, let it sit for a few moments, and then begin blotting again. Never use hot water for cleaning because this can cause the carpet or rug fibers to shrink or warp. Obviously, this leaves steam cleaning out as an option for overall rug cleaning.
When you’re done, and the stain has been completely removed, let the rug dry, preferably naturally, or by air-drying. The application of heat is not recommended, so steer clear of dryers or heaters. Make sure that your rug is completely dry before you return it to its usual place on the wall or on the floor, though. You don’t want molds or rot to set in because of the remaining moisture, particularly on the backside of the rug.
Sometimes, however, you may find yourself dealing with a more stubborn type of stain that just won’t go away. In this case, don’t be tempted to turn to a much stronger cleaning solution, whether commercially bought or homemade. Go to a professional antique carpet or rug cleaner instead.