Frequently Asked Questions
How we work
What happens when I bring a rug in for cleaning and/or repair?
We are rug experts and are here to answer your questions. If your rug needs cleaning or restoration we will provide a quote and an informal assessment of age, origin, and value to help you make the most informed choice.
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 help you make a plan.
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. Contact us for pick-up or delivery. It’s simple.
Cleaning area rugs
How do I know if my rug needs cleaning?
If 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, and check to see if soil was transferred from your rug. If the is a spot on the cloth, your rug will benefit from cleaning.
How often should rugs be cleaned?
It depends on how much use the rugs get. Rugs in entries, kitchens and eating areas may need cleaning every six months. In lower traffic areas every three or four years is probably enough. 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. 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. Then rugs are submerged in water, washed flat with detergents and cleaning agents, thoroughly rinsed, centrifuged to extract as much water as possible and 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 to suite a specific rug’s needs. If you have any concerns, we can 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 damage the fibers in your rug and stains become more difficult to remove with time. Cleaning prolongs the life of your rug.
Are rug pads necessary? No, but they are very nice to have.
Pads hold rugs in place, help reduce wear, and are more comfortable to walk on. We offer pads made entirely of recycled synthetic fibers that do not off-gas and have little or no odor. Our premier pad, Eco Supreme, incorporates a ‘closed cell technology’ that prevents spills or pet urine from soaking through to the floor below.
Pads are cut to fit your rug exactly. We will deliver and install them under your freshly cleaned rug. Ask for a free sample and we will cut a pad to fit a small rug in your home. You will notice the difference.
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 most red wine or 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 to act quickly and not make matters worse.
If the spill is still wet blot immediately with paper towels or cotton rags. Don’t add water and don’t scrub. Place a layer of absorbent material above and below if the spill has soaked through the rug. Wait an hour or two and check to see if any dye or color has transferred to the absorbent material.
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.
Try not to worry or panic! Stains can be removed later by a professional cleaner, even wine and urine stains that have dried on the rug. Don’t immediately flood a stain with large amounts of water. This can create other problems. Just wait to have the stains removed during the rugs next cleaning.
Can I use household cleaning agents to spot clean my rug?
Yes. Spot cleaning with a sponge dampened with a weak detergent solution( water and a drop of liquid dish detergent) can loosen soil. Stop if you see any dye bleed. Blot the rug as dry as possible by pressing paper towels on the nap. Elevate the area so it can dry from both sides. Detergent residue will be rinsed out during the next professional cleaning. A light mist of water suctioned out with a wet vacuum can be very effective. Work slowly and carefully being sure not to over scrub or damage the rugs nap surface.
Dry cleaning solvents can be used safely on grease, wax, tar, and other oily stains such as lipstick or shoe polish, but these spotting procedures are often best done by someone who has had practice.
Most household cleaning agents (Fantastic, Oxyclean, laundry bleach, etc.) are too powerful for home use on natural fiber and will 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. Even dyes that would otherwise be colorfast often react adversely 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 use enzymes to neutralize and help remove urine only 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?
It can happen, especially with modern rugs of recent manufacture. During pre-cleaning inspection we seek to identify any shrinkage potential. Most rugs will not shrink out of shape when washed, but all textiles may contract slightly when they are cleaned. Modern production rugs are washed and stretched as soon as they come off the loom often causing them to contract back to a slightly smaller size when cleaned. 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. 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, most Navajo rugs were woven with synthetically-dyed and often non-colorfast yarns. The removal of color run can sometimes alter color and it is not risk-free. Experience gives us a good sense of outcome and we can 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 rayon, art silk, and banana silk rugs?
‘Art silk’ and ‘banana silk’ are marketing names for viscose rayon, a man-made fiber produced from natural source cellulose. Viscose is less stain-resistant and harder to clean than wool fiber but can usually be cleaned with good results. Viscose rugs are not suited to high traffic or heavy soil locations.
Do you clean tufted rugs?
We can clean tufted rugs, though some are harder to clean than others. Tufted rugs are made by inserting yarns into a stretched canvas backing, which is then coated with an adhesive to stabilize the structure of the rug. The back may be covered with a fabric lining and the front is usually sheared to create a nap like that of a traditional Oriental rug.
High-quality tufted rugs are durable and hold up well in cleaning. Lower-quality tufted rugs often use lesser quality adhesives mixed with fillers which can break down with time and subsequent cleanings. We clean all sorts of tufted rugs 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. Cleaning will not remove chemical odors caused by the adhesive backing breaking down.
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?
Yes, vacuuming is a good way to keep your rug looking good and to prevent the buildup of destructive soil that can work its way into the structure of the rug.
Within the textile community there are different opinions on vacuuming and whether vacuums damage rugs.
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?
Dry soil is removed 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 problem and can be removed effectivly by cleaning.
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 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?
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?
Holes can be re-woven, creating new fabric to fill the empty place. It’s high-skill and labor-intensive work, 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 can’t be repaired the same way a hole can be re-woven or a tear sewn closed. The restoration trade uses techniques to conceal wear and restore fabric when possible. Fiber can be added to worn areas using ‘flat-stitching’ and low-pile re-knotting techniques. Every situation is different. We are happy to help you make the most informed choices possible.
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 often provide informal opinions from photos of your rug.
Can I have a formal written appraisal prepared?
Yes, we provide formal written appraisals for a fee. Our documentation includes photographs, a technical description, age, origin, condition assessment, and an opinion of value.
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). The following explains some common terms:
- Salvage value: The value an appraiser or insurance adjuster may assign a rug that has been damaged beyond repair, or that cannot be returned successfully to a pre-loss condition. Salvage values are very low, often as little as 5–10% of a rug’s full replacement value.
- Fair market value: What you could reasonably expect to receive if you sold your rug. These values are 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, determine a price agreeable 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 its retail replacement value. 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. Values 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. An appraiser’s membership in a trade organization or experience in the rug industry is not a guarantee of expertise. In legal matters an insurance company, court, or the IRS might vet an appraiser’s background and expertise by reviewing trade experience and education as well as the quality of the research and documentation presented in an appraisal.
What about the certificate I received when I purchased my rug? Is that enough documentation to establish the value of my rug?
Certificates 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, certificates, purchase records, photographs, and cleaning receipts may be sufficient for most situations. We also provide informal opinions of value at no cost.