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The What, Why & How Of Oriental Rugs

What is an Oriental rug?

This question is seemingly straightforward, wouldn't you say? We could think that any that makes us think of "One Thousand and One Nights" must be an oriental rug. Bright and stunning colours, patterns straight from the Middle East must qualify as an oriental rug, right? Not necessarily.

An authentic oriental rug is a handwoven masterpiece created in the "Rug Belt", a geographic area that stretches from Morocco across North Africa, the Middle East into the Indian Subcontinent, and the Far East and China.

Historically, nomads used these stunning rugs to decorate homes, religious places, camels, keep people warm, serve as a bed, and transport costly goods.
Now, the rugs are famous around the globe for their beauty and are considered pieces of art.

Owning an oriental rug is a synonym for holding a stunning, handcrafted natural product, considered a woven gem in your interior, adding a luxurious look and feel to your floor.

If you need to talk to an oriental rug expert, contact Oriental Rug Care of Australia, they will happily answer any questions you might have!

Why are Oriental rugs so expensive?

Ever thought about getting an oriental rug and wondered why they are that expensive? Sure, they are handmade pieces of art designed and created by true craftsmen. But there is more to it than many hours of labour.

Size and detail
It makes sense; the bigger the rug, the more knots it takes to make it, the more it costs. And not only size matters, but the design also does too. Some rugs have a simple design in three to four colours, but many have intricate patterns and different colours and shades. These details mean more labour intensive, expensive rugs.

Creation
Oriental rugs are handmade thus require many hours of labour compared to a machine woven rug. On the other hand, a high knot density, or knots per centimetre, guarantees a robust rug, and stronger rugs are very durable, increasing the price.

Materials
Artisans use only natural materials such as sheep's wool, cotton and even silk. Weaving machines can't use these materials; machine woven rugs use synthetic fabrics like polyester and viscose. Machine-made rugs are easier to make and can look amazing, but they are not nearly as strong as handmade ones and don't last as long as their handwoven cousins.

History and heirloom
Oriental rugs are often more than just a rug. Many carpets show a story reflected in all the symbolism and detail the rugs contain. Museums around the world feature oriental rugs for their meaning and history. If you own an oriental rug, it becomes part of your family history and can be passed on to future generations.
So, is an oriental rug really that expensive? For anyone appreciating its beauty, craftsmanship and quality, it probably isn't.

How can you tell if an Oriental rug is authentic?

It's time to take out our magnifying glass to find out exactly how authentic your oriental rug is. The following details will help you determine the quality of your carpet.

Imperfections
You can recognise a handwoven oriental rug by the imperfections: because of the vast number of hours in creating an oriental carpet, some "mistakes" inevitably sneak into the design. You will find it easy to recognise an authentic carpet when it contains straight horizontal or vertical lines. These lines are never perfectly straight. An imperfect rug can be pretty perfect as well.

Asymmetric
Experts quickly recognise an oriental rug in the asymmetric details the hand-knotted carpets contain. By examining the pattern, you might find that one flower is ever so slightly different from the others in the design. This small detail sets them apart from machine-made rugs, where all flowers look the same. Within a collection of oriental rugs, you will never find two that are precisely the same.

Can you see the knots?
Considering your hand-knotted oriental rug consists predominantly of knots, it should be easy to spot them. Where can you find them? Fold back a part of your rug to the point you can see deep into the carpet pile. You will easily be able to find the knots in your carpet. There is no reason to panic if you can't find the knots; you might very well own a flat-woven rug or kilim.
Let's focus on the edges and fringes
Next in our investigation are the edges. An essential part of a hand-knotted rug is the fringes. Two warp threads are knotted together, creating these fringes. They are on the shorter sides of your carpet and hold all knots in place. In machine woven rugs, you will find the fringe is attached afterwards; they are not a fundamental part of the rug. Moving to the longest sides of your carpet, you will notice that an authentic oriental rug does not have any stitching to hold things together; however, machine-made carpets have a fine stitch along the end.

Which materials were used?
Oriental rugs are made of all-natural materials such as wool, cotton and silk. If you detect synthetic yarn, then be sure you have a machine woven product.
Following some or all of these steps, you should feel comfortable detecting an authentic oriental rug. And remember, if your carpet isn't handwoven, there is no reason to feel disappointed. You most probably fell in love with the design, and the rug can look stunning in any home.

How to clean an oriental rug?

There is a wide range of oriental rugs; different types and sizes require another way of maintenance. So, where do we start?

The material
It is essential you know what materials your oriental rug is made of; depending on the material, you can do lots of the cleaning yourself, or you need a professional rug cleaning service.

Wool: If your rug only contains wool, you can get to work yourself; the colours in the rug will not run. The dyes can penetrate deep into the fibres of the wool carpet. You might want to consider the size of the carpet. It's a lot more complicated to clean an oriental rug evenly when it has large dimensions. In that case, it is easier to call in a rug cleaning expert.

Silk: Many rugs are entirely made of silk or contain some silk. You could try to give them a clean yourself but be prepared for the worse. Silk doesn't accept dyes well, the colours quickly run, and your rug might very well end up in the rubbish. So, there is only one ground rule: does your carpet contain silk? Call in the professionals.

Where to start?
Now you know your rug only contains wool; you can get started. But how? Cleaning an oriental carpet sounds like a big job, and it is!
First of all, be careful with the water temperature. Similarly to clothes, washing them at a high temperature can be a bad idea. Mixing coloured and white clothing will make colours run and mix. Likewise, your rug contains different colours, and washing them with too hot water will make colours run. So, be extra cautious about your water temperature.
Shampoo?!
The best product to clean your oriental rug is … shampoo. Think about it; wool is the hair of an animal, and shampoo is made to wash our hair. You can get a long way with some water and shampoo. But if you are a little wary about this method, you can also buy rug shampoo. Just be sure to check the shampoo is for your wool oriental rug.
Regardless of what shampoo you use, the method is the same:
1. Add about one tablespoon of shampoo to a litre of water. Mix well until you start seeing bubbles at the top.
2. Use a damp cloth or clean sponge to pick up the foam and smear it on the spot that needs cleaning. Be careful not to add too much water to the stain; colour could run. Instead, rub it in carefully and only go over the area four times. Why? The fibres in your rug could get damaged if rubbing too rough or too much.
3. Wipe the area with a damp cloth and let dry. Your rug will look new in no time.

Have you heard of the snow method?
Many people have been told to put their rug upside down in the snow. Apart from it seeming very unlikely you will take your rug out on a trip for cleaning from the Northern Beaches to the Blue Mountains, the snow on Australia's peaks isn't dry enough for it to work. And the snow method won't give you a spotless rug either.
If cleaning your oriental rug seems like a daunting task, do not worry; there are professional rug cleaning services in your area, specialised in oriental rugs.

When to call in a professional rug cleaning service?

Is your carpet big, does it contain silk, is it vintage or antique? Then you need the help of an oriental rug cleaning professional.

Companies specialised in oriental rug cleaning have the know-how and means to tackle the job.

If you in the Sydney area, you might have heard of Oriental Rug Care Australia. They are a well-respected company with long-time expertise.
Oriental Rug Care Australia
You can find the company in Marrickville. There is no need to bring in your rug, though; they happily provide a free pick-up and drop-off in Sutherland Shire, the Inner West, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney CBD, North Shore, and Northern Beaches.
You can rely on them for a safe and highly professional rug clean, maintenance and repair service. Oriental Rug Care has specialised machinery to give your oriental rug a deep clean and keep it perfect. Your carpet will be dropped off at home, feeling, smelling and looking like new.

Contact Oriental Rug Care for a free quote. Then, your oriental rug will be in the best hands.

Oriental Rug Care of Australia
Address: 23 Shepherd St, Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: (02) 9018 1510
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