Congratulations on your purchase of a genuine, handmade Oriental rug.
An Oriental rug is a purchase that is meant to last a lifetime. The art of the handmade rug is a treasure and should be cared for as such to ensure life-long enjoyment.
What is a genuine Oriental rug?
Oriental rugs today are made in various locations throughout the Middle East, Far East and Eastern Europe. The beauty in the handmade rug comes from the skill and devotion of trained weavers tying each knot by hand.
Most rugs are made with wool pile on cotton foundations (although other natural materials could be used such as silk or hemp). Wool is an ideal material to use for rugs because of its superior characteristics. Wool is an extremely strong fiber, durable and resilient under the pressures of footsteps. It has a natural stain resistance and the lanolin serves as a water repellent. Wool can be easily cleaned and stays clean longer than most other materials.
The first step in making an Oriental rug is to collect and treat the wool. Wool is shorn from sheep annually, then cleaned, combed, carded and spun by hand. The wool is then dyed by master dyers, who often use natural ingredients to create beautiful vivid colors. The wool is then dyed by hand. Once the wool is ready, cotton warps are strung on a loom to create the foundation on which to tie the knots. Each knot is tied individually, by hand, in a straight row across the loom. After a row of knots is tied, weft threads are woven across and between the warp threads and beat down on the row of knots to secure the knots in place. This simple, yet skilled method is repeated throughout the entire rug until completion. For an average size rug, this could take 4-6 months. The rug is then cut off the loom and sheared to create an even pile. A thorough cleaning and close inspection by a master craftsman finishes off the rug and prepares it for the consumer.
The Care and Cleaning
of Your Rug
The beauty and quality of your Oriental rug can be maintained for decades to come with proper care and cleaning. This information will assure you years of luxuriant service from your Oriental rug.
Despite the natural durability and longevity of handmade rugs, there are steps you must take to ensure a long life.
General wear and tear can occur on any floor covering, yet simple steps can be taken to minimize damage from general traffic. Keep the rug clean and free of excess debris by either shaking or vacuuming regularly. Keeping dirt from getting ground into the pile will help keep the pile from getting matted down. Rotating your rug 180° every 6-12 months will equalize the effects of wear on your rug. Finally, a good quality pad under your rug is recommended for rug preservation. Padding stabilizes the rug, minimizes friction between the floor and rug and has an added benefit of absorbing sound.
Heavy furniture can cause the pile to be crushed. The pile can easily be restored by spraying the matted area lightly with water (or letting an ice cube melt over the spot) and brushing the area with a soft brush. Be careful not to soak the area or use a coarse or wire-bristle brush as these will damage the wool.
Sunlight can also be detrimental to your rug. Continual exposure to sunlight will eventually cause color fading and increase the rug’s brittleness. Try to limit exposure to sunlight when possible. Rotating the rug 180° will also help equalize the effects of sunlight.
Although wool has a natural, water-repellent quality, excessive dampness can cause long-term effects leading to mildew and dry rot which makes the fibers break down and eventually deteriorate. Spills should not be cleaned by soaking the rug and planters should not be placed on a rug without circulation between the container and the rug itself.
Moths can cause great damage to wool rugs. Moths lay eggs in the pile of wool rugs. When these eggs become larvae, they feast on the wool, oftentimes to the point of creating holes completely through the pile of the rug. Although moths are attracted to wool, they will not survive in areas that are well trafficked or exposed to air and light. Keep your rug vacuumed, especially if it lies underneath furniture. Rugs in storage should be cleaned professionally, treated with a moth-repellent and wrapped in heavy paper and/or a sheet. Plastic wrap is not recommended as it does not allow air flow and may result in unwanted accumulation of moisture.
A rug may be hung as an effective decorative accessory. There are a variety of ways to do so and a professional rug dealer should be consulted for the best method. Rugs that are hung still need to be vacuumed or shaken out periodically to keep moths from developing and to keep dust from accumulating in the pile.
Vacuum, sweep or simply shake your rug regularly to remove any loose dirt. Turning the rug over and vacuuming or sweeping the underside is also recommended to remove the dirt ground into the foundation of the rug. Keep the fringe neat by combing it with a fringe rake or shaking it from the corner. Flip up the ends of the rug and sweep or vacuum under the fringe to be sure dirt does not get imbedded in the fringe.
Handmade rugs should be professionally cleaned every 2-5 years. Rugs in high traffic areas, like the kitchen or bathroom, may need more frequent cleaning. It is best to take your rug to a professional cleaner specializing in Oriental rugs. Avoid using dry-cleaners or in-house carpet cleaners as these methods typically use high heat and/or chemicals, both of which can be damaging to the rug. NEVER put your handmade rug in a washing machine!
Pet accidents can often leave behind stains and odors that require a more intense form of cleaning – an enzyme wash. The enzyme wash will return the rug to its natural suppleness and eliminate the odor. Consult your local Oriental rug dealer to see if your rug could benefit from this type of cleaning. (Please note, the acidity in pet urine can cause an irreversible, chemical reaction to the dye on the wool. This is a permanent stain that no cleaning can remove).
If something spills on your rug, deal with it immediately. Before it penetrates the foundation, use a spoon to scoop up the spill. Dilute the spill with water and blot (do not rub) the liquid up until all the moisture is removed. Blot from the outer edge to the center to prevent the spill from spreading. Always use a white cloth or paper towel to absorb the stain – not a colored napkin!
If a spill has dried on the rug and left a stain, there are various ways to handle this. Many stains can be treated with mild detergents and simple solutions like water and vinegar. Some stains, however, should not be treated with water-based solutions. It is a good idea to contact a professional experienced in Oriental rug care before tackling a stain.
Even with the most diligent care of your rug, incidents may occur that will require a repair. Consult an expert Oriental rug dealer to assess the needed repair.
Mousaian Oriental Rugs is a family-owned business in its fourth generation.
The business began in 1922 by Simon Kirkjian who also managed the rug department at Rike’s Department Store in Dayton, OH. Simon taught the trade to his nephew, Joseph Mousaian, who with his wife, Helen, opened Mousaian Oriental Rugs in north Dayton. Joe and Helen cleaned, repaired and sold handmade Oriental rugs for 35 years until they passed the business on to their daughter, Susanne. While she and her husband, Paul Weaver, continue to work in the business, a fourth generation has been added. In 2008 their daughter-in-law, Jennifer, joined them. With a showroom in Oakwood and expert cleaning and repair services, Mousaian Oriental Rugs continues to provide the highest quality of service to clients throughout Southwest Ohio.