I thought it may be helpful to show you some professional cleaning and repair case studies, so that you can get a better idea of what can be done to restore worn/ damaged handmade oriental rugs. You really will be amazed at what our skilled repairers can do to fix almost any stain or damage. Rug restoration is a real skill and can bring rugs back to their natural beauty.
1. Holes & Unravelling of Ends & Side Cords
Let's start with the unravelling of ends, also known as the fringe. Pretty much every handmade oriental rug has a fringe or a Kilim weaved end. It is an essential piece of the rug that essentially holds everything together. The fringe is made up of the warp threads that are hand-knotted together with the warp yarn. The warp is then knotted at either end, making up the rugs fringe. Over time, sometimes these ends start to loosen & fray. See below, the image on the left. This is exactly what happened with this wonderful old Persian Heriz rug.
The side cords are the ends of the rug that are not the fringe ends: the sides of the rug. Just like the fringe holds the knots in place from the ends, the side cords hold the knots in place from the sides. The weft (left to right) threads are wrapped around a 'side cord' that runs the whole length of the rug. The same issue as above can occur here: the cords can loosen and begin to unravel.
If these loose ends and side cords are not repaired, it will only travel further up the rug with time, so it is worth getting fixed. A skilled weaver will weave these loose ends back together, all by hand. Sometimes a little bit of the design at the end of the rug needs to be un-woven, in order to create enough material to extend the fringe. Each rug is different. In this case, you can see the incredible skill that has gone into the repair, it looks good as new!
Next up, holes! Now it must be said that if you look after your rugs, it will take a very very very long time to produce a hole. They will usually only occur in very old rugs that have been subject to a lot of wear and do not have a thick pile in the first instance. That said, they can also occur due to furniture friction (rolling chairs), excessive foot traffic and water damage (dry rot). Much like the unravelling of ends, if left, the holes and tears will worsen and so should be given attention in order to reduce further loss of knots.
Before (Left) & After (Right)
2. Bad Stains
This is the one we see the most unfortunate of accidents, that simply can't be avoided. When you think of staining clothing or upholstery, you can usually fix it with some kind of chemical treatment. However, if you try to use chemicals on handmade rugs, you'll only be making matters worse. Many handmade rugs use vegetable and other natural dyes. As you can imagine, the minute a chemical comes into contact with a natural element, it will strip the colour away - effectively bleaching the area. So, tip number one: if you have a spill or stain, the first thing you should try - mix a little dash of washing up liquid in luke warm water, and let the foam rise to the top. With a soft, uncoloured cloth, scoop up some of the foam and dab (never rub) the affected area. This should lift minor spills and stains from the pile of the rug and reduce any odours lingering.
For anything slightly larger or caused by something strong, you will need expert help. The below case was caused by a dog's urine. This really is one of the worst ways to stain a rug, as urine is so acidic it essentially burns the fibres. The longer it is left, the worse it gets, so it really is key to get it in as quickly as possible. The good news is, even the worst of stains like this one, are repairable! The section is re-dyed by professionals, and you'll never know it was there.
3. Bad Past Repairs
The final issue: repairs that have been done poorly. If you look closely at the picture on the left, below, you'll notice very obvious green stitching. This is of course better than nothing, as it will, to an extent, prevent further unravelling. However, it isn't the most aesthetically pleasing fix.
Fixing previous repairs is pretty straightforward. Our expert repairers simply un-do the first repair and then re-weave the areas, restoring the rug to it's original beauty!
The point of a professional repair is that they go un-noticed. We like to think of it as a restoration, not a repair. Repairs can be visible, restoration is almost always 90% perfect.
Here is a little care guide to help you with the day-to-day cleaning and the advisable professional cleaning that should be done to reduce the changes of damage. Of course we are all human and accidents do happen! If you think you've got a stain that really is bad, the key is to bring it in as soon as possible. The faster we can treat it, the better the result. Read more about our services here, and feel free to get in touch with any questions you may have.