Buying a Rug
Most importantly, buy a rug you like. A good rug should lie flat, be somewhat regular in shape, have lustrous wool with lively colors often with a variation that lends a vibrancy and uniqueness to the piece. The colors and design of the rug should be harmonious and have a character that speaks to you.
Natural Dyes and Fading
Rugs dyed with natural dyes are generally more fade resistant than rugs made with commercial dyes. Dyes are made from a variety of plants including: madder root for reds, rusts and browns, pomegranate skins for yellow, and Indigo for blues. Chemical dyes and machine spun yarns have been widely used in rug-making since the mid 1800′s.
In the 1980s, traditional methods employing hand spinning and natural dyes were revived and our rugs are a result of those efforts.
All dyed fabrics will fade in harsh sunlight. The best way to avoid fading is to keep rugs away from direct exposure to intense sunlight or to add ultra violet coatings to windows. Many new houses along our Maine coast have UV coatings on windows to reduce glare. We recommend turning room-size rugs every two years to even out fading and wear.
Cleaning & Padding
Be careful when using a vacuum cleaner power head on orientals or you may pull the knots out or catch fringe in the roller brush. Small rugs may be shaken outside.
If a carpet needs to be cleaned, we recommend using a professional carpet cleaner. Small spots are best carefully cleaned with a solution of white vinegar and water, depending on what was spilled. Be sure to let the underside of the rug dry out if soaked through.
Some of our customers have washed kilims and lighter rugs on their driveway with a hose and Woolite, squeeging out the excess water, and leaving the textile to dry flat in the sun. Be sure to check for dye stability in a small area first; dyes in some older rugs such as Hamadans and Kurdi kilims may bleed using this method.
In Maine, folks traditionally use dry snow to brighten up area rugs. The rug is laid out in the snow and then dry snow briskly swept with a stiff broom over the front and back of the rug. This pulls a lot of the dirt from the rug and adds a bit of moisture to the fibers.
We recommend using a carpet pad under a rug to protect the rug fibers from crushing between shoe and floor and to keep the rug from slipping. In places where these rugs are made, people customarily remove shoes before entering a home and this keeps rugs clean.
Rugs that are swept or vacuumed regularly rarely attract moths. Moths prefer undisturbed areas, such as where rugs are under furniture. Heat and cold destroys moths, eggs and larvae. Customers have reported success with putting small pieces in a chest freezer for a few weeks.