A GUIDE BY NARGIS
I believe, if there is a piece of home décor that brings character into space and gives it a touch of the eclectic sophistication, it is the Afghan rug.
Afghan rugs are rich in history, colors, and they carry deep symbolic and cultural values. They are considered prized possessions, and they are passed down from generation to generation, so proper care is vital in preserving their worth, beauty, and longevity.
Maintaining your Afghan rug is fairly simple — the rug's durability and organic qualities sets its apart from the cheaper variety, like machine-made rugs.
Here are three things you can do to clean and care for your new handmade Afghan rug.
1. Start a Routine
If there is one golden piece of advice that I can give you when it comes to caring for your rug, it is a routine. Here is a sample routine:
Vacuum your rug once every other week. Vacuum your rug going over every area from different directions. Because handmade rugs are so durable, you can use a low or high-power mode. If your rug has fringes, tuck fringes under the rug when vacuuming to prevent them from getting sucked into the vacuum. If some of the fringes get caught, turn the vacuum cleaner off, and carefully remove fringes manually.
- Rotate your rug 180 degrees once every six months. This ensures the pile wears and fades (if there is direct sunlight hitting the rug) beautifully over the life of the rug. Authentic handmade rugs, like my rugs, do not lose value over time, and in many cases, increase in value significantly (think of all the antique and vintage rugs that sell for tens of thousands of dollars at auctions). The better the wear, the better the rug's worth over time.
Your routine should fit your own schedule and lifestyle (e.g., on cleaning days), but the important part is some form consistency. The consistency in maintaining your rug will make all the difference.
2. Spot Clean Stains
Small or large stains caused by food and drinks (e.g., pasta dinner, coffee, and fruit juice stains) should be simple to clean.
Follow these steps:
- Grab a soft white cloth like a microfiber cloth.
- Pour lukewarm water into a cereal bowl.
- Grab a mild shampoo, like baby shampoo, or white vinegar.
- Pour a small amount of mild soap or white vinegar into the bowl (a small squirt) and mix it with two parts lukewarm water.
- Dip the cloth into the soapy water.
- Squeeze the water out of the cloth so your cloth isn't drenched with water.
- Dab, dab, dab. Apply the solution gently from the outside of the stain towards the center, just like you'd apply your favorite blush. Remember, a little goes a long way!
- Use a soft dry towel to pat dry the washed area.
- Air or sun dry the rug outside for about 24 hours (but bring it in the evening). Because your rug is almost entirely made of bona fide wool, sun-drying your rug will also help get rid of any wool smells that come with washing the rug.
3. Professionally Clean Tough Stains
Let's say you've tried to wash out the stain by following the steps above, but the stain on your rug is too stubborn to get out. For tougher stains, I recommend you call a professional cleaner.
Professional cleaners can skillfully wash tougher stains through proper techniques and equipment. To find a professional cleaner in your area, I suggest you use any search engine, enter your zip code, and search for "professional oriental rug cleaner." When you find potential cleaners, ask them whether they have experience washing handmade oriental rugs. If you need to vet them further, please contact me, and I would be happy to review their credentials.