|How to Protect Your Persian Rug From It’s 3 Worst Enemies
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By Nick Gonnella
Natural wool and silk carpets are made using yarns which have been dyed and set using a mordant. A mordant is an acidic solution which stabilizes the dyes. There are situations where these dyes can become unstable and begin to migrate, causing unsightly damage to your rug. The most common of these is urine.
Once urine has left the body, the urea begins to feed on the bacteria. This process emits an ammonia-like waste material which changes the ph of the urine from acidic to alkaline. This alkalinity can cause color migration which may be impossible to reverse.
A fluoro-chemical protector treatment can give some protection against urine by preventing it from being absorbed too deeply into the rug and giving you time to blot it out. At this point the rug will need to be professionally treated for urine contamination by a specialist rug cleaning company. A urine de-contamination treatment involves using a specialist acidic solution to neutralize the urine, destroy the bacteria, and remove the odor.
Premature Wear & Sun Fading
The main cause of premature wear to a natural wool or silk rug is dry soil. If a rug is not regularly vacuumed and professionally dusted, grit and dry soil begins to build up in the foundation. This abrasive grit wears the fibers down as the rug is walked on. The absence of good quality underlay (Rug Padding) will speed up this wear effect as the natural fibers are compressed against abrasive dry soil and the floor with little cushioning. Even if your rug is regularly maintained, it will still experience a certain level of wear over time. To prevent uneven worn areas from appearing, the rug should be regularly rotated.
Rotating the rug will also prevent uneven sun fading. Rugs which are chemically washed when made such as Chinese Super-wash carpets will show color fading over time if exposed to sunlight. Any area of the rug which is constantly shaded will retain it’s original color and show a contrast against the sun faded areas giving an uneven appearance. If a valuable rug is laying in a room which is rarely used it is a good idea to keep the curtains closed to preserve the original colors and prevent long term sun fading.
Rugs left in dark, undisturbed places are at risk from moth damage. There are 5 visible signs that moths are present in your rug.
1. Moth Larvae- 3/8″ in length, white, worm-like
2. Cocoons-Slender, 1/2″ in length, fuzzy
3. Excrement- Brown, granular
4. Loose Fibers-May not be due to moths so check for larvae, cocoons and excrement in the pile.
5. Flying Moth- Grows to 3/8″ in length, soft silvery brown in color
A specialist insecticide can be applied to a moth infested rug once it has been professionally washed. The treatment works by making the fibers taste unpleasant to the moth larvae.
This article has been submitted by Nick Gonnella, the Director of The Persian Rug Cleaning Company based in London.