Buying a handmade rug is an investment that will last for generations. No other rug can compare to an authentic, woolen, handmade carpet. As you've invested money and probably a lot of time searching for the perfect rug, it's important that you feel comfortable looking after it correctly so that it brings you nothing but joy.
Handmade rugs are actually incredibly durable but this doesn't mean you can throw it in the washing machine (please, don't!) or hose it down outside. Many rugs, especially vintage rugs, have been dyed using natural colours and as awesome as this is (who doesn't prefer natural to chemical?) the natural dyes may run if they're saturated with water.
So, what do you do when life shows up and your rug ends up with tonight's spaghetti bolognese or your dog's latest find? I've written important care instructions for a handmade rug below...
1. For general cleanliness and day-to-day maintenance, simply vacuum your rug to pick up dust, hair, crumbs...whatever else may have found its way on to your carpet. Be gentle and stick to a "once over" each time you vacuum, rather than aggressively vacuuming over and over your rug.
Dampness: I've seen too many beautiful rugs that have been stored in damp conditions and have been totally ruined so if you want to store your rug for any length of time, make sure it's in a dry, clean area.
Moths: Again, I've seen rugs ruined by moths (my grandmother's rug that she bought from Turkey many years ago, for example!). You may be tempted to stash your rug in a corner of the room where no one will walk over it or to hang it on a wall. These options are totally fine but keep in mind that if your rug is sitting still, moths can find it a nice place to hang out...and eat! Your rug has been designed to live on: remember that tribal rugs were used in tents so don't be afraid to use your rug in a high traffic area of your home. And if you do want to keep your rug on a wall or in a corner, just make sure you shake it up a little every now and then to prevent any moths settling there.
2. For spills, make sure you act quickly to avoid letting the spill sink in to the carpet. Immediately dampen a cloth with tepid water, find some baby shampoo or appropriate carpet cleaner and spot-clean the area. Gently dab/rub the area to lift the stain out. Make sure you don't pour water over your rug as colours may run. If there is a bit of mud on your rug, you could let it dry a little and then try vacuuming it up.
3. An extra tip: If you spill red wine on your rug, surprisingly, white wine will help to lift out the stain immediately. It might seem a little pricey to waste half a bottle of white wine on cleaning but I can assure you, it's a lot cheaper than replacing your beautiful rug! Soak a cloth in white wine and immediately dab/rug the area until the stain lifts.
Looking after a handmade rug is as easy as looking after a machine made rug, it's just a matter of knowing how. Let me know in the comments below if you have any ideas to add or any questions.
Most importantly, enjoy your rug!