How to Care For a Precious Persian Rug

A Persian rug like this selection of green Persian rugs is so much more than soft pile underfoot. For some it’s an heirloom, inherited from a parent or grandparent, with many precious memories virtually woven into its intricate design. For others it is a statement piece, acquired at substantial expense, that gets pride of place in the house. In either case, it’s worth remembering that a beautiful Persian rug is a valuable possession that deserves some tender loving care.

Caught up in daily routine, it’s easy to forget to give your cherished rug a little extra attention. Time, nature and accidents can quietly take their toll, robbing Persian rugs of their colour, sheen, softness and thickness. The rugs will, inevitably, age, but there’s a lot one can do to slow down the degrading process.

One way to prolong your Persian rug’s life is to protect it from direct sunlight. Either place the rug in an area that doesn’t bear the brunt of the sun’s harmful rays or ensure that drapes/shades are used when the sunshine is at its harshest. This simple precaution goes a long way in protecting the rug from fading prematurely. If that isn’t possible, rotate the rug once a month to even out sun exposure and make the fading uniform. This isn’t the ideal approach, but at least the rug won’t look drastically different on either end.

Rotating the rug periodically has another advantage. It reduces wear and tear from foot traffic and furniture placement. Or you could change the furniture layout so the flow it creates through the room varies, thereby protecting the rug from wearing down in overused patches. Placing the rug over a carpet pad can also help limit wear.

Vacuuming regularly is a great way to keep a Persian rug clean and extend its life. Vacuum cleaning gets rid of dust and insect larvae. It also keeps the rug’s natural fibres from getting packed down. But if the rug is old and fine, it is perhaps best to avoid using the vacuum’s power brush (also called the beater bar), at least on its highest setting. This powerful tool can grab hold of fine, loose fibres and cause a tear or run. Likewise, don’t use the beater brush on the rug’s delicate tasselled fringes.

Persian rugs also need to be protected from pet damage. Teething puppies have been known to chew on them. Cats that are not de-clawed can also pose a threat. If you have pets in your home, keep them away from the prized rug.

Spills are perhaps the most heart-wrenching mishap for a Persian rug. Use a clean paper or cloth towel to immediately absorb excess liquid. Continue daubing from the edges of the spill to the centre to keep the moisture from spreading. Place paper towels beneath the spill as well. Do not use harsh chemical products to remove stains as they could discolour the rug. If stains persist, call a professional rug cleaner to address the problem.

With a little bit of care and attention, a Persian rug will keep adding richness and warmth to your home for many years. Who knows? Some day you might even pass it on to your children or grandchildren.