Your rug is down on your floor! If it is a better quality rug, knotted by hand using good wool and dyes and woven on a stable cotton base, it will last you many, many years, if not decades. Persian and Oriental rugs have gained a well-earned reputation for incredible longevity but they are not indestructible and can only benefit from being properly cared for, says Neils Larson a Persian rug expert, and owner of Persian and Modern Rugs.
You should always use a suitable underlay and these are available in many materials, thicknesses and functionalities. There are thin rubber waffle ones, heavy duty felt top with rubber underneath, thin sticky ones which work help stop rug slip and creep on all surfaces and regular carpet underlays which are a cheap and serviceable option. Ask your rug retailer for advice on the best one for you and bear in mind the expense- some are very costly and cheaper alternatives are always available through the internet. The underlay will serve multiple uses – as protection from underfloor heating, cold damp drafts through wood and stone, will allow dust and dirt to fall through the rug which helps reduce wear on the pile and serve as cushion for the knots against harsh compression.
Use your vacuum with regularity but do not overdo it! Once a week should be enough to remove the accumulation of dirt but do not use a rotation head attachment, suction only.
A high-speed rotation head strips the tip of the yarn and so accelerates the wear. Always avoid sucking the fringes into the vacuum so near the ends of the rug go across rather than lengthwise. Keep an eye out for loose edge binding (the selvedge) and have any loose areas restored immediately. Allowing your rug to degrade in any way can be costly if allowed to worsen. When possible- once every 6 months or a year – turn the rug over and vacuum the back. Vacuuming front and back removes the particles that gather at the base of the knots and which act as a sandpaper when agitated. If you have an underlay lift this up and remove the dirt that has fallen through.
Depending on the room traffic have your rug regularly and expertly cleaned- this will restore it to its new condition and allow it to age naturally and gracefully. Never allow spills to soak in and saturate the fibres when they dry. Team coffee, red wine and children’s drinks can be impossible to remove if allowed to age. If any of these occur gently blot with kitchen tissue and dilute with cold water in small amounts working from the outside to the centre of the spill. Call you local rug cleaning expert to arrange immediate cleaning and do not use off the shelf carpet stain remover or a generic carpet cleaner who has bolted on rug cleaning to gain extra business. If your rug is richly coloured you will not notice it getting dirty! However, household dirt and grease from skin, animals and shoes will coat the pile and dull and flatten it. In most households many tiny, and not so tiny, spillages occur without being attended to so many of these will disappear when cleaned.
If you are lucky enough to have bright sunshine entering the room directly you should put a transparent UV blocking film on your glass. All rugs fade in sunlight, no matter what the salesman tells you. Ideally you should turn a rug every year as this will even out any sun fading and traffic patterns. If any of your rug is underneath furniture, and therefore in the dark and undisturbed, you will often find moth and carpet beetle using it as food- particularly Afghan wool for some reason. Always have a moth trap in the room and ensure you vacuum these areas to disturb and remove the moth and their eggs.