Have you ever picked up a wool rug, checked its backside and seen tiny larvae squirming happily? Aside from saying “Ewwwww!” you may have wondered what they were and how they got there.
You also more than likely swore you’d never allow such pests to make camp on your rugs again!
To help you do just that, we’ve put together a short primer that can help you ban bugs forever from your valuable Persian and Oriental rugs.
- Know your enemy.
Two types of insects tend to make their home in your rug: carpet moths (really just your typical household moth) and carpet beetles.
Moths that you may find flying around your home don’t damage your rug; it’s their offspring. The adult female will lay her eggs on the underside of your piece (it’s nice and dark and safe there with plenty of wool fibers for her offspring to eat) and when her eggs hatch and the larvae emerge they will start eating the wool fibers.
Carpet beetles’ larvae (known as wooly bears) also love wool and will eat your fibers as soon as they emerge from their eggs.
- A good defense is the best offense.
To keep bugs from nesting in your rug, you need to keep it clean, so vacuum it regularly without the beater brush (or use the vacuum’s suction accessory). Vacuum it at least every two weeks or so and be sure to pick it up and check for signs of moth or carpet beetle eggs: they will look like lint.
You may want to vacuum the backside of your rug once a month, as well.
- A clean rug is unattractive to bugs.
Having the rug washed by a professional Persian rug cleaner will clear away eggs and larvae. Wash them professionally at least every few years. If the piece gets a lot of use (it’s in a high-traffic area and it’s trod upon many times a day), get it cleaned once a year.
If you find many bugs before you can get it cleaned, don’t use pesticides on the rug. Instead, ask the cleaner to wash it and then give it a vinegar rinse to help remove all eggs/larvae.
- Wash it before storage.
Never store a rug that hasn’t been professionally cleaned before putting it away. You’re just giving the pests carte blanche to breed, eat, breed, eat over several generations.
Normally, you shouldn’t spray the rug with bug repellent if you’re going to store it for just a few months. But if you’re going to place it in storage for a year or more, you may want to talk to the rug cleaner about using a repellent prior to storage. If you’re going to place the rug in a cedar chest, you may not need to use the repellent. Talk to the rug expert for his thoughts.
A cedar chest can be a great place to store a wool Persian/Oriental rug, but only if the rug will fit without bending.
- Store it properly.
When storing a rug, never fold it; roll it up and wrap it in a piece of cotton sheeting, making sure to secure the ends with ties and place the left-over material into the rug (helps keep bugs from crawling in). Never store the rug by laying it on the floor and never store it standing on one end: lay it on a table or shelf instead. Make sure the room in which you store it has some form of climate control: you don’t want the room to become too dry or too moist.
If you’ve noticed eggs/larvae on your rugs, you have plans to store it, or it’s time it should be washed, contact the Persian and Oriental rug cleaning experts at Persian Rug Cleaner of Dallas. Give us a call at 972-447-9600 for more information.
Image courtesy of Richard at Flickr.com