Rug maintenance is a crucial part of protecting your rug investment. Simple things like vacuuming regularly and having a professional clean your rug every few years are critical for ensuring your rug love will last for as long as you wish.
A big part of how best to care for your rug is going to depend on your rug type. Maintenance for a Beni Ourain rug will be different than caring for your overdyed rug. Knowing the construction type and fiber of your rug is critical for long term success.
Routine Rug Maintenance
In most cases, you will want to vacuum your rug regularly (1-3 times a week). Know your vacuum. I’ve seen it happen: a too powerful vacuum can destroy a beautiful rug. If you have a super high tech mega suction vacuum, maybe don't use it on your new rug.
Vacuuming is critical because dirt is not only gross but under a microscope dirt is actually made up of little jagged edges. Who knew?! These sharp little dirt particles press against the rug fiber when under pressure (think foot steps). Over time, when these dirt particles are left inside the rug, they wear away at the fibers causing the rug to eventually (sometimes over decades) become threadbare. A threadbare rug is a rug with visible loss of fiber from years of use. Regularly removing these dirt particles will greatly extend the lifetime of your rug.
You want to be careful when you vacuum. Be sure your vacuum isn't too abrasive for your rug. You can use handheld attachments or turn off the beater bar so you just have suction on your rug if you have a more delicate rug. If you are unsure about your vacuum, opt to use an electric sweeper.
For rugs with fringe avoid vacuuming near the fringe to ensure you don’t accidentally harm the rug. In most cases, the fringe is not purely ornamental. With hand knotted rugs the fringe runs the entire length of the rug. These are the warp yarns that are form the base of your beautiful rug. Weavers have tied knots onto the warp fibers to form the rug pile. So if your vacuum pulls out or cut these fibers down, you are endangering the entire rug—yikes!! Your rug might have ornamental fringe, this is the case with some power loomed rugs or with oriental rugs that have been repaired. But you still don’t want to damage this beautiful element of your rug even if it isn’t going to affect the rest of the rug. So it's best to avoid all fringe when vacuuming.
If you have a shag rug, like a beautiful Beni Ourain, you really want to avoid using a vacuum. Ideally you will want to periodically, lift the rug, take it outside and shake it off. That's really the best way to get the dirt out without harming the rug. An alternative option, would be to use the garment attachment without a beater bar so that it's just suction.
Every six months to a year, rotate your rug so that it wears evenly over time.
For hand knotted and powerloomed rugs, it’s a good idea to turn the rug upside down and vacuum the back ever couple of years. A trick for telling if your rug is hand knotted or powerloomed is to look on the back. If you can see the face pattern on the back of the rug you’ll know you either have a hand knotted or a power loomed rug. Vacuuming the rug back actually helps to shake loose embedded dirt that has worked it’s way down into the rug pile.
To extend the lifespan of your rug, have it professionally cleaned every 3 - 6 years.