How to Properly Store Antique Rugs and Carpets

The great thing about antique rugs and carpets is that they provide a sense of continuity for families from generation to generation. Heirloom rugs may be passed down from parents to children and to grandchildren ad infinitum. And even if that antique rug now adorning your living room was something you only just recently bought, you have the satisfaction that it dates back years, maybe even decades, to other families’ ancestors, and that you will likely be passing it down to your own descendants.

Provided, of course, that you adhere to proper rug maintenance and rug and carpet care and cleaning.

But the thing about precious rugs and heirlooms being passed down from one generation to another is that these precious items are likely to find themselves throughout their existence in storage, at one point or another, maybe for only a short time, but also possibly for years at a time. These antique rugs were built to last, but even the most durable rug won’t last long if you don’t practice correct storage practices. Otherwise, you are only making them vulnerable to gathering dust, dirt, mold, rot, and the possible scenario of serving as the home for insects galore, spiders and moths and ants and carpet beetles included.

So what is the proper way of storing valuable antique rugs and carpets? Professional rug and carpet cleaners give us a few pointers:

You don’t want to put an uncleaned rug into storage. The reason is simple: if you leave it uncleaned, you might just be storing it together with various bugs and pests that may have found its way into the carpet fibers. Moths and carpet beetles are particularly damaging to rugs and carpets, and your precious antique rug can lie in storage for years with you not even knowing that these pests are slowly making their way through its fibers and threads.

You would also want to remove any accumulated dust and dirt on the carpet or rug, or you might find yourself years down the line unrolling a very thick layer of dust and dirt from what has become an unrecognizable antique carpet.

Bringing your rug to a professional ensures three things: proper and thorough cleaning, the complete removal of cleaning residue, and that the rug has been completely dried afterward. This means that when you finally put your rug into storage, it is completely clean, absent any harmful chemicals and that there is no lingering dampness or moisture that may become breeding ground for bacteria and organisms while your rug is in storage.

Another added advantage is that if you express your desire to put the rug into storage, your rug and carpet cleaner may add a layer of insect spray to keep the bugs away while the carpet is in storage. If they don’t do this, you might want to do it yourself before rolling it up and taking it into the attic.

Finally, always remember that you should never fold rugs or carpets. They should always be rolled. And when putting your antique rug in storage, wrap it securely in thick paper. Never use plastic as this can be damaging to your rug, plus paper allows your rug to breathe. When storing, make sure to keep your rolled and wrapped rug off of the floor and in a spot that would keep it away from any potential water damage.