How to Care for Your Vintage Area Rugs

Beautiful vintage area rugs are a prized possession for many homeowners and collectors of antiques. They don’t make rugs today like they used to which means you can’t care for a vintage rug the way you care for the other carpets in your home.

Vintage rug

Materials Used in Vintage Area Rugs

The most common materials used to make vintage rugs are wool, silk and goat hair. Today rugs are typically made from synthetic fibers which make them a lot easier to keep clean. The materials a rug is made from drastically effects the method of cleaning you can use. For example, you can never use heat on a silk rug because it will melt the fibers. Wool rugs are much easier to clean and are the most common of vintage rugs. Wool rugs are prized for their durability and resilience. The fibers hold their shape and tend to bounce back quickly.

Proper Cleaning for Antique Area Rugs

Just like anything else in your home needs to be cleaned regularly, so does your antique area rugs. Daily vacuuming is a must as it helps remove dirt which when left on the rug can wear down the pile. However, it is best to stick with an ordinary suction vacuum as the bristles from the rotating brush on modern vacuums will damage the fibers and shorten the life of your rug. You should never use any kind of cleaning chemicals on an antique rug. These rugs weren’t designed to encounter harsh chemicals meaning they will likely ruin your beautiful rug. When properly cared for, antique area rugs should only need a professional cleaning every five years or so. Spot cleaning immediately after a spill will help prevent damage and staining. If a spill happens, blot the area until all the liquid is absorbed, then place a towel under the rug directly under the stain and pour water on the spill until the stain has cleared.

Tips for Caring for Antique Rugs

There are other things you can do besides cleaning to properly care for your beautiful antique rug. 

  • Keep an eye out for the moths. These little pests can destroy your beautiful investment in no time, causing irreversible damage. 
  • Never place a vintage area rug in direct sunlight. This will cause irreparable damage to the rug as the sun will bleach the fibers and ruin the color. 
  • You also want to avoid water damage as this can also ruin the color and fibers of the rug. If you must place the rug in storage, do so in a dry, humidity-free storage unit. Roll the rug carefully and store it with mothballs or cedar shavings to prevent moth damage. 
  • Check on the rug every few months and replace the mothballs or shavings regularly to ensure those pesky critters aren’t damaging your prized possession.

Antique rugs are often passed down through generations in the family. If you are not lucky enough to inherit one of these beautiful treasures, second-hand stores, thrift stores, and antique dealers are great places to find antique rugs. Investing in one of these fine pieces of art, you need to research how to properly care for and maintain the rug or else you may just end up throwing money away.

Antique Rug

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