About Oriental Rugs

This section is a “Work in Progress”. It is designed to demystify and be a source of information on Oriental and Persian rugs.

We source most of our cleaning and spotting chemistries from the MasterBlend company in the United States. Our research has shown MasterBlend to be the world leader in Oriental and Persian rug cleaning technology.

President of MasterBlend is Aaron Groseclose.

Following are some articles from Mr Groseclose that shed light on the whole universe of Oriental rug cleaning, identification and much more.

10 Myths about Oriental Rugs
Aaron Groseclose, ICS

When it comes to oriental rugs they seemed to be steeped in mysteries of the East. It can start with a rug retailer giving a “little story” with the rug to enhance the sale. Or just wrong information which is repeated so many times it takes on a life of its own.

So like Myth Busters on television let’s bust a few rug myths.

Rug Myth Number One
Oriental rugs are identified only by design. Design is only one component used to identify rugs. Construction, how the rug is put together, is the method used to identify all rugs. Look at the back to first determine if it is machine-made, hand-knotted, flat-weave or some other speciality rug. (The how-to of this has been discussed in past articles – July 2007 and August 2006).

Rug Myth Number Two
All oriental rugs appreciate in value. Most
post-World War II rugs do not appreciate in value, nor will most rugs purchased new today appreciate in value. Consumers most likely paid more for some rugs in the 60’s and 70’s than they are worth today. The 90 line 9 x 12 Chinese rugs purchased in the early 1980’s for $4,000 can be found for under $1,000 today.

Rug Myth Number Three
All old rug rugs are worth a lot. The condition is most important when determining value. An old rug in poor condition is just an old rug. An old rug in good condition may also be without value if it lacks artistic merit. However, some old rugs are worth repairing and the value will increase with proper restoration.

Rug Myth Number Four
Persian (Iranian) rugs are better than rugs from other countries. Some older, traditional Persian rugs pre-WWII, such as Ferahan Sarouk, Motashem Kaskan, Tabriz, Bijar, Heriz, certain tribal pieces, and other well constructed semi-antiques will always have a market in the right condition. Since the fall of the Shah in 1979 and the embargo on Persian goods in 1987 (which was lifted in March, 1999), other countries have improved and increased their output of rugs. The quality of Persian rugs since the early 1970’s has gradually deteriorated. There are certain notable exceptions such as rugs produced and exported by Miri & Jalili in South Persia (show room in the San Francisco design center). Time will tell if the overall quality will return. If it does it will be smaller quantities and at higher prices. It will be a big job as has they have a lot of catching up to do.

Rug Myth Number Five

Never vacuum oriental rugs. About 80 per cent
of soil in rugs is dry particulate matter. It acts as sandpaper and wears the rug. Some rugs have a thick pile, if they are not regularly vacuumed and cleaned, the soil will become so embedded it becomes a difficult task to finally remove all
of it. You should caution your customers to vacuum parallel to the rug end so as to not damage the fringe.

Rug Myth Number Six
Knot count is the best indication of value. The value of only a few traditional Persian rugs is partially determined by knot count. Examples are Nain and Isfahan. The value of silk rugs is also partially based on knot count. New, mass-produced rugs from China, India, and Pakistan come in a variety of qualities and designs. Generally speaking, the more knots per square inch, the higher the price per square foot. However, once these mass-produced rugs are used, their value in the secondary market is not based on knot count.

Rug Myth Number Seven
Oriental rugs should never be wet cleaned. A well constructed oriental rug can certainly be wet cleaned after first doing a pre-cleaning inspection including a colorfastness test. What should be avoided is cleaning rugs in the customer’s home unless there are extenuating circumstances such as size, weight or furniture, etc. The Oriental Rug Importers of America recommends that hand-made rugs be cleaned every 2 to 4 years, based on traffic, spills, pets, and the indoor environment.

Rug Myth Number Eight
Oriental rugs should never have a protector applied. This idea that somehow a fluorochemical will devalue a rug is just a plain old myth. I protect my rugs against the chance that someone will spill a beverage. Rug protectors do not make them bulletproof, but allow blotting up of spills to be much more effective and can prevent spots from becoming stains.

Rug Myth Number Nine
Rug pad is a waste of money. Rug pad provides a protective layer between the rug and the floor. It helps minimise slippage, increases the life of the rug, makes the rug feel thicker and more luxurious, smoothes out irregularities in the floor, and absorbs noise. All pads are not created equal. The best pads for hardwood floors have a layer of synthetic felted material with rubber coating on the backside.

Rug Myth Number Ten
Silk rugs are a great floor covering. Silk rugs (or most anything silk) are expensive. Silk rugs are not practical to use on the floor. They are not as durable and because certain manufactures use poor quality silk and dyes, they cannot be cleaned as invasively as good wool rugs. Once they become quite soiled, it is difficult to restore them to their original appearance. Though they can be beautiful, they are best used a wall decoration.