Frequently Asked Questions
How we work
What happens when I bring a rug in for cleaning and/or repair?
We are rug cleaning and care specialists. If your rug needs cleaning or repair we will explain what can be done and provide you with a cost quote. We will address any special concerns you have and can provide an informal assessment of a rug’s age, origin, and value to help you make the most informed choices.
I’m in another region, state, country, etc. Can you still clean and/or repair my rug?
Absolutely. We work with clients all over the world. We have tried and true procedures for shipping even the largest rugs safely and efficiently. Give us a call and we’ll talk you through the procedure.
Can you pick up and/or drop off my rug?
Yes! Pick-up and delivery are available to customers in the Colorado Front Range. We offer prompt, professional home appointments within 30-minute windows. Simply contact us for pick-up or delivery.
Cleaning area rugs
How do I know if my rug needs cleaning?
When a rug still looks soiled after vacuuming, it’s probably time to have it cleaned. Try this test: Blot the nap of your rug in an inconspicuous spot with a damp white cloth. Let the cloth dry flat to see what was transferred from your rug. If the cloth is soiled, your rug would benefit from a cleaning.
How often should rugs be cleaned?
It depends mostly on how much use the rugs get. Rugs in entries, hallways, kitchens and eating areas may need cleaning every six months. In lower traffic areas rugs may only need cleaning every three or four years. Light colored rugs, or ones made from less soil resistant fibers such as art silk or ‘Bamboo’ silk, may require more frequent cleaning.
Can rugs really be washed?
Rugs can be washed—though carefully. It is the best way to remove as much soil as possible. No other cleaning method leaves your rug as fresh, soft and good-looking as wet cleaning.
What kinds of rugs can be washed?
We can wash most any kind of area rug such as Persian, Turkish, Chinese, Oriental rugs of any description (antique or new), wool, silk, Navajo, Karastan, Gabbe, flat-woven, hooked, braided, tufted, Tibetan, modern designer rugs, shag, Flokati. You name it and we can clean it. We also clean tapestries and collectable textiles.
How are rugs washed?
After a careful initial inspection, we remove as much dry soil as possible mechanically. Rugs are then submerged in water, washed flat with detergents and cleaning agents, thoroughly rinsed, centrifuged to extract as much water as possible and then are air-dried in fewer than eight hours. Dry rugs are re-inspected, groomed, and returned looking their best.
What about fragile or damaged rugs?
We have safe ways of cleaning damaged and fragile rugs without causing further damage. Unstable areas are stabilized with hand-sewn screen mesh. Cleaning methods are modified for a specific rug’s needs. If you have any concerns, we look at your rug together to decide the appropriate protocol.
Won’t cleaning shorten the life of my rug?
No. Would your clothes last longer if you never laundered them? Accumulated soil and grit will damage the fibers in your rug and stains become more difficult to remove as they age. Cleaning will prolong the life of your rug.
Stains, spills and color run
Can stains be removed?
Yes. Most stains can be removed, though results might vary depending on the type of stain and what’s been previously done. Some of the worst looking stains (ie. red wine, food dyes, coffee, urine) are quite simple for a professional cleaner to remove.
What about red wine and urine stains?
A skilled cleaner can remove red wine and urine stains completely. We do this every day.
Can I do anything about wine or urine stains at home?
Yes! Home treatments can effectively minimize fresh stains. The key is quick action that doesn’t make things worse. First, while still wet, blot spots immediately with something absorbent such as paper towels or cotton rags. Don’t add water and don’t scrub. Blot both the front and back of the rug until no more moisture can be removed.
Next, check to see if any of the rug’s dye has transferred to your towels or rags. If you see dye transfer, stop and let the rug dry. If not, you can blot out more of the stain with a sponge dampened (not dripping) with water and a drop of liquid dish detergent. Get the area as dry as possible by pressing paper towels on the nap and then elevate the area so it can dry from both sides. If the stain is visible after the rug is dry, give us a call.
Don’t worry or panic! Anything you can’t get out now can be removed later by a professional cleaner, even wine and urine stains that have dried on the rug. Don’t try to flood a stain with large amounts of water. This can create other problems. Just wait to have them removed at your next cleaning.
Can I use household cleaning agents to spot clean my rug?
Yes, try spot cleaning with a sponge dampened (not dripping) with a weak solution of water and a drop of liquid dish detergent. Stop if you see any dye bleed. Blot the rug as dry as possible by pressing paper towels on the nap. Then elevate the area so it can dry from both sides. Do not try to rinse or flood the rug with water as any detergent residue will be rinsed out at your next professional cleaning.
You can also use dry cleaning solvents safely on grease, wax, tar, and other oily stains such as lipstick or shoe polish.
Most other household cleaning agents (Fantastic, Oxyclean, laundry bleach, etc.) are too powerful for home use on natural fiber and may do more harm than good.
Can color run be removed?
Yes, most color run can be improved or removed entirely. Color run, or dye bleed, is the result of non-colorfast dyes migrating to other parts of the rug when wet or from colorfast dyes reacting to strong cleaning agents, urine or mold. While procedures to remove color run are simple, it takes experience and skill for consistently good results. We work on color run problems often and are happy to discuss the process and predicted results before starting any work.
What about urine odors?
Our washing process rinses urine completely from rugs and is very effective in removing these odors. We also use enzymes to neutralize and help remove urine when necessary. We do not use perfumes to mask odors.
Shrinkage and stretching
My rug won’t lay flat. Can this be remedied?
Usually. Most rugs that have shifted out of square, or that don’t lay flat can be stretched or blocked to improve their shape. Sizing (like starch) can be added to help hold the corrected shape. Rug shape problems can be caused by underlying issues ranging from furniture placement to foot traffic patterns and to weaving flaws, so correction may have to be repeated. Thin or flat-woven rugs such as kelims, Aubussons, and needlepoints often look better after blocking. Once we see your rug we can give you a good idea of how much it can be improved.
Will my rug shrink when it is washed?
Our pre-cleaning inspection will identify any shrinkage potential. Most rugs will not shrink out of shape when washed, but all textiles may contract a little. When most rugs are made, they are washed and stretched as soon as they come off the loom. Rugs that do shrink out of shape can be stretched or blocked to correct any problems.
Cleaning Southwestern rugs and textiles
Can Navajo rugs be washed?
Navajo rugs and Southwestern textiles can be washed, leaving them soft and fresh with all soil rinsed away, but it requires skill and good technique. Stop by our shop, we will be happy to show you what we do.
Can color run be removed from Navajo rugs?
Yes, though every situation is different and results may vary depending on the severity of the problem. Color run is common in Navajo rugs. Since the end of the 19th century, Navajo rugs have been woven with synthetically-dyed and often non-colorfast yarns. The removal of color run can sometimes alter color. It is not risk-free, but experience gives us a good sense of outcome and we discuss predicted results before beginning any work.
Modern specialty rugs: Tufted, Shag, Flokati, and more
Can shag and flokati rugs be washed?
Yes, our procedures are very effective for cleaning these types of rugs. Shag and flokati rugs are put in a large tumbler to remove loose grit and soil, then washed and rinsed. We often tumble them again after cleaning to fluff up their long nap.
Can you clean cotton, linen, and sisal rugs?
Yes. We wash these rugs with special techniques that clean plant fibers safely and effectively. We then put a particular emphasis on careful drying for a good-looking result.
What about silk and silk blend rugs?
Yes, silk rugs can be cleaned effectively. We do it every day with excellent results.
What about art silk and banana silk rugs?
Art silk and banana silk fiber are trade names for viscose rayon, a man-made fiber produced from natural source cellulose. Viscose is generally less stain-resistant and harder to clean than wool fiber, but can usually be cleaned with good results.
Do you clean tufted rugs?
We can clean tufted rugs, though some types are harder to clean than others. Tufted rugs are made by punching or injecting yarns into a stretched canvas backing, which is then coated with an adhesive to stabilize the structure of the rug and add weight. The coated back may be covered with a fabric lining and the surface may be sheared to create a nap like that of a traditional Oriental rug. Wool is the most common face yarn.
A high-quality tufted rug is durable and holds up well to cleaning. Lower-quality tufted rugs may use lesser quality adhesives mixed with filler which can break down with time and handling. We clean all sorts of tufted rugs everyday and have methods for addressing most problems. Contact us if you have questions about yours.
My tufted rug has an odor. Will cleaning help that?
Maybe. Odors related to soiling will disappear once the rug is cleaned, but any chemical odors may be caused by the adhesive backing breaking down. Cleaning will not correct this problem.
My tufted rug has become soft and floppy. Can you correct this?
We can, but it takes a lot of work. We can provide a quote once we see your tufted rug.
Vacuums and vacuuming
Is it safe to vacuum my rug?
Within the textile community there are different opinions on vacuuming, but in your home it’s certain that rugs look better and have greater longevity when kept free of dust, loose soil, and animal hair. Vacuums can and do damage rugs, though. So it’s important to be careful. For regular vacuuming, move with the direction of the nap or pile (the direction the rug feels smoothest), not against it. Be sure not to vacuum fringes with an upright vacuum.
What type of vacuum is best?
Canister vacuums with hard surface attachments are very gentle, making them ideal for fragile rugs or to clean fringes, but are not powerful soil removers. Upright vacuums with spinning beater bar/brush assemblies are very effective but can remove fibers or cause damage over time if used without care. The type and condition of your rug are important factors when choosing a vacuum. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss what might be best for you.
Any more tips on vacuuming my rugs at home?
During regular vacuuming, move with the direction of the nap, not against it, and avoid a back-and-forth motion. Use an upholstery tool on fringes. If you only have an upright vacuum, set the brushes as high as possible and vacuum parallel to the edges to avoid drawing fringe yarns into the vacuum. For rugs in high-traffic areas, turn them over once a year and slowly vacuum the back with an upright. This will vibrate loose soil out of the nap. Don’t be surprised to see a pile of dirt on the floor when you’re done!
How do professional cleaners remove dry soil?
We remove dry soil mechanically, with a variety of techniques depending on the rug and its needs. Methods include vibrating or tumbling rugs in specialized machines to loosen soil, forcing dust from rug foundations with compressed air, or even vacuuming through screens to remove soil while protecting the most fragile textiles. Stop by our shop if you’d like to see what we do.
How do I tell the nap or pile direction on my rug?
As a hand-made rug is woven, pile yarns are inserted by the weaver so that the finished nap lays in one direction, much like the fur on a cat’s back. Slide your hand back and forth from one fringe to the other and you will feel the difference, or look closely to see the direction the pile lays in. While looking ‘down’ on the rug pile, it will appear lighter and shiny. While looking ‘into’ the rug pile, it will appear darker and more richly colored.
Could I be allergic to my rug?
Yes, but we may be able to help with that. While a small percentage of people may be allergic to the wool or silk fibers of a rug itself, accumulated soil, pet hair, or pet dander are usually the real culprits and can be removed effectively.
I am allergic to cleaning chemicals. What can you do?
We use a wide range of cleaning agents in our processes, but can omit individual ones if necessary. Tell us your concerns and we can make a plan that avoids your allergens. In addition, the final steps of our washing process will always extract all water and residues from your rug. We air-dry rugs quickly to avoid bacterial growth and odors.
Repairs and restoration
Can rugs be repaired?
Yes. Most damage can be repaired, or at least stabilized to keep further damage from occurring. Holes and tears can be rewoven or sewn closed. Worn edges and ends can be rebuilt or secured. We repair rugs at our workshop in Denver as well as at our partner workshop in Izmir, Turkey. We are expert restorers and appraisers and can help you decide what makes sense for your rug and budget.
The fringes of my rug are worn. Can anything be done?
Yes, all fringes wear over time and can be repaired or replaced. At the least, we can secure an unravelling fringe edge to make it look neater and prevent the body of the rug from unravelling. We can also sew machine-made fringes over the worn fringe or reweave new fringes in by hand that match the existing fringe exactly.
I have a hole in my rug, what do I do?
The best solution for holes is usually to reweave them, creating new fabric to fill the empty place. It’s a high-skill, labor-intensive process, but the best results are undetectable. Our restoration experts spin and dye materials as needed, sewing and reweaving them into the rug by hand. The original weave structure, fibers, and colors are replicated exactly. A good repair restores both function and value to a rug. Contact us to discuss what’s possible.
My rug is very worn. Can anything be done?
Wear is harder to treat than damage. Large threadbare areas with visible foundation fibers can’t be repaired the same way that a hole can be rewoven or a tear sewn. Instead, the restoration trade uses techniques to conceal wear and restore fabric when possible. Fiber is added back to worn areas using flat-stitching and low-pile reknotting. Tinting restores color. While all treatments are useful when used appropriately, every situation is different and we recommend a careful assessment before carrying out “repairs” to worn areas. We are happy to help you make the most informed choices possible. Contact us to have your rug assessed and learn about the possible options.
Are rug pads necessary?
No, but they’re really nice to have. Rug pads hold rugs in place, help reduce wear, and make rugs more comfortable to walk on. Once made of natural fibers prone to mildew or insect damage, today’s rug pads are made of synthetic fibers and neoprene, often recycled, and work very well. Good pads typically last for three to five years.
We sell a variety of rug pads in 12’ widths that can be cut to custom-fit your rug. We’re happy to give you samples to take home and try—just ask.
What is my rug? What’s it worth?
We offer informal verbal appraisals at no charge. If your rug is at our facility, we can provide an opinion of origin, age and value. We can also provide an informal opinion from photos of your rug.
Can I have a formal written appraisal prepared?
Yes, we provide formal appraisals for a fee. Our written appraisals include photographs, a technical description, age, origin, condition assessment, and an opinion of value. A value in our formal appraisals is a replacement value, or the cost to acquire a similar rug in similar condition. It’s determined by reviewing wholesale and retail market pricing, as well as auction results when applicable.
Are there different types of valuations?
Yes. For example, what you could sell your rug for (fair market value) is often different from what it would cost to buy the same rug retail (replacement value). This list helps explain some common terms:
- Salvage value: The value an appraiser or insurance adjuster may assign a rug that has been damaged beyond repair, or that can not be returned successfully to a pre-loss condition. Salvage values are low, often as little as 5–10% of a rug’s full replacement value.
- Fair market value: What you could expect to receive if you sold your rug, used for tax valuation, estate dispersal, or sales between friends. The most common definition of fair market value describes a transaction where a willing seller and a willing buyer, both aware of the same facts, agree upon a price satisfactory to both parties. Market value can vary widely, depending on a range of factors: A common rug may have a fair market value of 20–50% of it’s retail replacement value, while the fair market value of a rare or antique rug may be closer to full retail value.
- Replacement value: Also called retail replacement value, this valuation describes what it would cost to purchase a rug of similar type, age, size, and condition at a retailer in the owner’s home market. Rare rugs may need to be valued based upon sales in larger markets, often nationally, internationally, or at auction.
How accurate are appraisals?
A knowledgeable appraiser can provide an opinion of the age and origin of a rug with confidence. Even very old and rare rugs can be identified and comparable examples found in the market or in rug literature. Values are generally a matter of opinion factored with market conditions. The value of a modern rug may be simple to document. The value of antique or rare rugs may be harder to establish and are often carefully researched estimates. Condition and market factors play a major role in value. Rugs go in, and out, of fashion. Values of rugs don’t necessarily go up over time.
Are appraisers, or appraisals, certified or officially recognized?
Not exactly. In the United States there are no state or federal licensing procedures for rug and textile appraisers. Membership in a trade organization or even specializing in rug appraisal is not a guarantee of expertise. In legal matters and for tax purposes, a court or the IRS might vet an appraiser’s background and expertise by reviewing the appraiser’s trade experience and education as well as the quality of the research and documentation shown in his or her appraisals.
What about the certificate I received when I purchased my rug? Is that enough documentation to establish the value of my rug?
Certificates, when provided, may not always be accurate or provide the type of valuation you need, but are better than no documentation at all. Particularly for lower-value rugs, any such certificate, a record of purchase, a photograph or two, and cleaning records may be sufficient for most situations. We also provide informal opinions of value at no cost.