Oriental Rug Myths

Oriental rug

Oriental rugs seem to be steeped in mysteries of the East.  It can be 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.

oriental rug

Myth #1 – 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 specialty rug.

Myth #2 – 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.

oriental rug

Myth #3 – All old rugs are worth a lot

The condition is most important when determining value.  An old rug in poor condition is just an old rug.  However, some old rugs are worth repairing and the value will increase with proper restoration.

Myth #4 – 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.  Due to political issues, the quality of Persian rugs has gradually deteriorated.  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.

oriental rug

Myth #5 – Never vacuum oriental rugs

About 80% of soil in rugs is dry particulate matter.  It acts as sandpaper and wears the rug.  If rugs have a thick pile, the soil can become embedded if they are not regularly vacuumed and cleaned. Vacuum parallel to the rug end so as to not damage the fringe.

Myth #6 – 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.  Once these mass-produced rugs are used, their value in the secondary market is no longer based on knot count.

oriental rug

Myth #7 – 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.

Myth #8 – Oriental rugs should never have a protector applied

This idea that somehow a protector will devalue a rug is just nonsense.  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.

oriental rug

Myth #9 – A rug pad is a waste of money

A rug pad provides a valuable protective layer between the rug and the floor.  It helps minimize slippage, increases the life of the rug, makes the rug feel thicker and more luxurious, smooths 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.

Myth #10 – Silk rugs are great floor coverings

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 manufacturers use poor quality silk and dyes, they cannot be cleaned as aggressively as good wool rugs.  If they become very soiled, it can be very difficult to restore them to their original appearance.  Though they can be beautiful, they are best used a wall decoration.

family on oriental rug

Keeping them Clean

The highly trained rug technicians at Reliable Carpet Care will meticulously clean and restore your rugs to look like new.  Our state-of-the-art rug cleaning plant is the most advanced, comprehensive rug cleaning operation in Toronto. Call 416-461-4006 to arrange a free pickup of your valuable rug, or to ask any rug-related questions you may have.  We are happy to serve you.