Southwest Looms: Retailers and Manufacturers of  Southwest Design Carpets and Navaho Reproduction Carpets

Care and Cleaning

Tips to Maintain Your Hand-woven Carpet

  1. Vacuum your carpet regularly. Sand and grit work down to the base of the pile where abrasive action damages the wool and results in loss of pile. Always vacuum your carpet with the suction attachment only (never use the beater brush) to remove surface dirt. Beater brushes remove a small amount of pile with each use and can destroy fringe in no time.
  2. If food or liquids spill onto a carpet clean the spill as soon as possible. Use club soda or water and a clean bath cloth or towel. Spills such as mustard, should be allowed to dry until hard and scraped off. Never use a cleaning agent as these may affect the dyes and produce permanent color changes. Be sure that the top, undersurface of the carpet, and the pad are completely dry before relaying the carpet. Failure to do so can result in mold, mildew, and dry rot with significant damage.
  3. Animal urine is very damaging to a hand-woven rug. It is not only unpleasant to smell but can result in dry rot and permanent staining or de-colorization of the dyes. Whenever accidents occur, use club soda and clean water to thoroughly flush the area. Make sure the carpet is completely dry before replacing it flat on the floor. Pets tend to go again repeatedly in the same places. When long-term use is discovered, consult a professional cleaner.
  4. When should you have your carpet professionally cleaned? This depends upon the location and traffic patterns in your home. Obviously, higher traffic exposes carpets to more dirt. When your carpet is noticeably soiled, it is time to have it cleaned.
  5. How should carpets be cleaned? Hand-woven carpets should never be "dry cleaned" using powders, as this simply polishes the surface and leaves a large quantity of gritty residue. Hand-woven carpets should never be "steam cleaned" as this will cause dyes to bleed. Hand-woven carpets should always be thoroughly dusted to remove dirt and grit prior to washing. This cannot be achieved by vacuum cleaning. If not properly done, the dirt residue hardens in the foundation of the rug and makes them stiff and brittle. Hand-woven carpets should always be thoroughly washed using an appropriately formulated detergent. They should be washed on both front and back surfaces. After washing, it is very important to thoroughly rinse the rug until all cleaner is removed. You should never simply surface shampoo your carpet. This will merely brighten the surface and leave the shampoo and dirt in the carpet.
  6. A pad designed for hand-woven carpets is important for the long life of your rug. Rug pads should be nonskid and promote air exchange between your carpet and the floor. The pad should be designed so that dirt can settle to the floor and not damage the back of the carpet.
  7. Moth damage can occur anywhere but usually in dark areas under furniture that are not regularly vacuumed. The only long term effective moth proofing is zinc fluorosilicate, which lasts until a rug is cleaned. Other moth treatments lose their effectiveness in a few months. Be sure that any of your carpets partially concealed by furniture are properly treated.
  8. Your carpets should be rotated 180 degrees periodically to minimize wear from traffic patterns and to even out any sun fading.
  9. Any carpet will fade if exposed to direct ultraviolet sunlight. Most modern windows are Low E and mostly eliminate this problem. Older windows may be coated with a UV blocking film to minimize this problem.

If you follow these suggestions, your carpet will look beautiful, retain its value, and wear well for many years.