Area rugs can cost a pretty penny to purchase, especially if they’re authentic, hand-knotted Oriental rugs! These beauties can keep their value over the years, though, as long as they are properly cared for. Ensure your exquisite, prized rugs can be passed on for generations by following our expert guide on proper care. First, let’s determine whether your rug is an authentic, high-quality, hand-knotted rug, or a machine-made floor covering. Our very own Rug Plant Operations Manager and Master Rug Cleaner, Scott Ring, has a 26 -year history in high-end Oriental rug care and sales. His tips on identifying a hand-knotted rug are to: Look at the end-finish of the foundation. Typically, the fringe on a hand-knotted or Oriental rug is secured and tied after the weaving is completed. If it looks like the fringe foundation is coming right out of the end of the rug, that is a strong indicator of a hand-knotted masterpiece. However, if the fringe looks like it’s been added or sewn on, it is machine-made. Now that we know whether your beautiful area rug is hand-knotted or not, let’s talk about the top 2 enemies to these cherished possessions: dirt and silica. Dirt and silica are abrasive to the rug – acting almost like a sandpaper in wearing away the fibers. In order to prevent major damage to your rugs, follow our expert tips below: Regular vacuuming of your rug is the best way to keep dirt and silica from sinking in for too long and causing fiber erosion. Plan to vacuum your rug at least as often as you do the rest of your house, but increase your frequency if the rug sees an excessive amount of traffic or may capture pet hair, food debris, or other silica frequently. If you do, in fact, own a hand-knotted Oriental rug, its value can be held by keeping it clean and in good condition. We recommend vacuuming the back of your rug during spring cleaning every year. Pro tip: To make this easier, fold your rug in half, vacuum that half, then fold the other half and vacuum that side. Be sure to vacuum the pad or flooring underneath your rug as well, as dirt and silica may have filtered through the rug. Rotate your rug regularly, especially if exposed to direct sunlight, as this will help to even out the color fading that may occur. We recommend having your area rugs professionally cleaned above and beyond your regular vacuuming. We suggest annual cleanings for rugs that see regular traffic, and every 3-4 years if they are fairly undisturbed. Choose a cleaner with significant experience caring for all types of rugs, as they will know exactly how to treat the different fibers and can minimize color migration and can reduce the risk of damage to your rug. During the professional cleaning process, we recommend that you have your rug(s) treated with a stain-protector. This will coat the fibers to make it more difficult for dirt and silica to adhere, making it easier to clean spots and spills. Now, this doesn’t mean that the glass of red wine you just spilled will bounce right off of your rug and onto your hardwood for easy clean-up – we want to make sure we’re clear on that – BUT, the protectant will do a great job at slowing the liquid from sinking in and making it easier to clean up. It should also be noted that the quicker you address a spill, the easier it will be to resolve. Pro Fact: If your rug happens to be made of wool, it comes with a natural oil called lanolin that naturally keeps fibers more oily and in good condition. It is nature’s deterrent, working similar to non-stick cookware in how it deflects dirt and silica. We also strongly recommend having any areas of concern (such as unraveling edges) addressed and repaired as quickly as possible to keep from losing any fibers or causing further damage. Additionally, check your rugs regularly for evidence of moth damage. As always, choose a repair technician that is highly knowledgeable in caring for both machine-made and hand-knotted rugs. One last pro tip: Opinions on the necessity of rug pads vary, but we strongly recommend having one. A pad with a firm cushion will help take pressure off of the rug itself and will absorb some of the wear. Not all rug pads are cleanable, but if you have one that is, you can kill two birds with one stone by having both professionally cleaned at the same time. We hope that our expert tips on proper care for your area rugs will ensure that these beautiful pieces of art are loved for generations. If you are looking for a resource to help you care for your rugs, Woodard has been the expert in high-quality rug care since 1946.