1. Vacuum your carpet regularly. Sand and grit work down to the base of the pile where abrasive action damages the wool and wears away 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, swab it up as soon as possible. Use club soda or water and a clean wash cloth or towel. Mustard spills should be allowed to dry until hard and scraped off. Never use a cleaning agent, as it may affect the dyes and produce permanent color changes. Be sure that the top, undersurface, and pad are completely dry before relaying the carpet. Otherwise, the result may be mold, mildew, and dry rot, which can cause significant damage.
3. Animal urine is very damaging to a handwoven rug. Not only is it unpleasant to smell, but it can result in dry rot, 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 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? Handwoven carpets should never be dry-cleaned using powders, as this simply polishes the surface and leaves a large quantity of gritty residue. Handwoven carpets should never be steam-cleaned either, as this will cause dyes to bleed. First, handwoven 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 it stiff and brittle. Next, handwoven carpets should always be thoroughly washed, front and back, using an appropriately formulated detergent. After washing, it is very important to thoroughly rinse the rug until all cleaner is removed. 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 handwoven carpets is important for the long life of your rug. Rug pads should be non-skid 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 it’s 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 efficacy in a few months. Be sure to properly treat any carpets partially concealed by furniture.
8. 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 usually eliminate this problem. Older windows may be coated with a UV blocking film to minimize the issue.
If you follow these suggestions, your carpet will look beautiful, retain its value, and wear well for many years.