Keep your favorite rug looking its best for decades.

In our modern world, not much is built to last. Most furnishings are made to last between 5 and 15 years, after which they start to look a little worn and ragged. Fine Oriental rugs however stand out as a shining exception and can last for generations. This is especially impressive when you consider just how rough the traffic most rugs receive really is. Like most things, proper care plays an important role in preserving the life and value of your oriental rugs. Here are some quick tips to keeping your favorite rugs in great shape.

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When properly cared for, a rug can look great for decades.  Believe it or not, this rug is about 125 years old.

Keep your carpet clean
Dirt is the worst enemy of fine Oriental rugs. Dirt is abrasive, and when it gets packed into the base of the knots it will actually cut off the fibers from the pile. We recommend vacuuming your rug at least weekly. Your vacuum should have an agitator or beater bar, set so that it beats the surface lightly. Excessive pressure of the beater bar can cause extra wear. Also, we recommend every two years having your carpet professionally washed. Proper washing removes all dirt that has collected in the carpet, restores the original colors of the rug, and rehydrates the wool in dry climates. Professional washing can only be done outside your home, so never allow anyone to come to your house and do a surface cleaning on your rug. Most services that come to the home are set up to clean wall to wall carpets, and your Oriental rug is very different. It is especially important that you never allow anyone to “steam clean” your Oriental rugs as this can cause the colors to bleed, and strips vital lanolin from the wool.

Walk on your carpet (Barefoot if you can)
Oriental carpets are made to be walked on. In the Middle East, most people remove their shoes when they enter a home, leaving the dirt on their shoes outside. In America we generally don’t do this, so timely cleaning becomes essential. Rubber soled shoes are hard on rugs, and tear at the wool fibers, wearing them prematurely. Bare feet or stocking feet are best for the rugs whenever possible. Walking on the carpet massages the lanolin through the wool, giving the carpet a beautiful luster. It also discourages moths from laying eggs on the carpet.

Moth Resist vulnerable areas
Moths look for dark, moist places to lay their eggs. It is actually the larvae which do the damage to any wool garment or rug, not the moths themselves. At Serafian’s, we spray a colorless, odorless solution that discourages the moths from laying eggs on any susceptible areas. Whenever a wool rug is hung on the wall it needs to be sprayed with this moth repellent.

Rotate your rug to even out wear
It is common that we walk through rooms in certain ways, establishing traffic pattern that receive more wear. With time, this can cause uneven wear patterns to form in your rug. Rotate your rug 180 degrees every six months to keep the wear and tear looking more even and less pronounced.

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Eventually, a hole can wear right through the foundation of your rug.  Rotating it 180 every 6 to 12 months helps to prevent this.

Prevent Sun Fading
The desert Southwest has particularly harsh sunlight which can fade the rug. Many rugs get exposed to sunlight unevenly, causing fading only on part of the rug. Turn your rug 180 degrees in the room periodically to avoid uneven fading. This also helps your rugs wear more evenly. Close shades and blinds when you are not in the room to reduce the direct sunlight on your rugs. There are also window films available that reduce the ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. These films are applied to the window surface, and help block harmful rays. Look for “Low-E” films.

Blot up spills with clear cold water
Spills and stains are an inevitable part of a rug’s life. You should clean spills immediately, as many drinks can permanently dye the rug. Blot up the spill with a fresh towel, and use a little clear cold water to dilute the stain. Keep rinsing (not too much water) and blotting until the stain is gone. If someone spills milk on the carpet, it is probably a good idea to have the rug professionally cleaned, as the milk can sour and leave an unpleasant odor. Coffee, red wine, blood, and dark sodas can all leave permanent stains, so get to them as quickly as possible. If you have a “wet/dry” vacuum you can use it to suck out excess water from the rug.

Pet stains
Our beloved pets sometimes have “accidents”. Urine is particularly bad about staining, because it is acidic, but becomes alkali when it dries, which can cause dyes to bleed. Also, left untreated, urine will leave an odor that is very hard to remove. For urine stains, use the same procedure as above, but mix in about 50% white vinegar and be sure to rinse thoroughly. A thorough professional washing is required to sanitize the rug after a urine incident.

Repair any damaged areas quickly
Most repairs are very simple when they first appear. Attend to any tears or damage quickly. When we wash rugs at Serafian’s, we often see major repairs that would have been very minor if they had been attended to just six months sooner. Left unattended, many simple repairs become major repairs.

With these simple guidelines nearly any rug can last for decades if not generations. It is not at uncommon for us to see rugs come into our store that are over 100 years old and have been in use for their whole life.


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

Spring is in the Air – Protect your Rugs from Moths and Carpet Beetles

While spring brings welcome rain and flowers blooming, it also brings bugs. Lots of them. Wool moths, Tineola Bisselliella and carpet beetles, Anthrenus Verbasci. If any creatures on the planet can be called the enemy of oriental rugs, it’s these little buggers. These pesky intruders literally eat through the wool of your rug, causing damage quickly and quietly.

Too frequently, beautiful hand woven Persian or Navajo rugs come to Serafian’s for cleaning only to find the rugs have been destroyed by moths or carpet beetles. Worse yet, they often move swiftly, leaving a trail of damage in their wake.

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The damage in this rug occurred in about 1 to 2 weeks time.

The lifespan of the average carpet moth is very short, the larvae phase lasts on average about two weeks to a month, and the adult phase about another month. Only the larvae eat wool, so while you are more likely to see the adults fluttering through your home, it’s the larvae that do the real damage. Unfortunately, this means that a rug can go from undamaged to having a huge hole in just a couple of weeks. Carpet beetles, however, do damage over more time, with a much longer lifespan and some subspecies living as long as three years. Unlike their moth counterparts, carpet beetles will eat at your rug for their entire life. In either case, quick identification, elimination, and prevention are the keys to keeping your rugs safe.

For a little more information on Moths, check out our very “Tongue-in-cheek” video here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvgxRnEqJKg

How do you identify them? For wool moths, keep an eye out for the adults flitting around your home or the eggs laid on the surface or on the back of your rugs. The large moths that we see every year here in the early months of summer are no threat to your rugs. Adult wool moths are small, about the size of a grain of rice. They are tan in color with no particular design or pattern on their wings. The eggs look like grains of sand held together by spider webs.

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The eggs themselves are tiny, about the size of a grain of sand.  The silky webbing from the parents hold the eggs in place.

Carpet beetles are tiny, about the size of a pinhead. You can identify them by finding either the beetles themselves or by finding small black or brown husks or shells. In both cases, the insects like to attack dark and undisturbed areas on your rugs. So look for them under your furniture, rolled up in your closets, and on the backside of any rugs hanging on the walls.

Moth and Carpet beetle larva
These critters are pretty tiny. – Pictured above, the larval forms of each.

Elimination is a little trickier. You need to not only eliminate the moths, beetles, and eggs on the rug itself, but also any that might be in the surrounding area. Most insecticides are effective at killing any living infestation, but unfortunately not that great at killing off the eggs. Also, any use of insecticides in the home comes with risk to one’s own health and safety. Instead, we recommend you have your rugs professionally washed by a cleaner who knows how to eliminate these infestations. Proper temperature control and handling will eliminate any eggs that have been laid into the foundation of your favorite carpet. As for your home, thorough cleaning of any area exposed to infestation is very important as the eggs can slips into the cracks of your wood floor or down into your wall-to-wall carpet. As with your rugs, we recommend utilizing professional cleaners. If after taking these steps, the moths or beetles persist, it’s time to get in touch with an exterminator.

As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Various sprays can help to repel moth infestation, regular inspection goes a long way to identifying a problem before it spirals out of control, and proper wrapping and storage of unused rugs can easily prevent infestation. Always remember that if you take a little time to ensure that your rugs stay moth and beetle free, it will ensure your favorite rugs stay beautiful and valuable for many years to come.


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By: Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

Why Professionally Clean Your Rugs?

It’s easy to tell the difference between a fine Oriental rug and wall-to-wall carpeting. One is an heirloom that will be handed down through the generations, and the other should be replaced after 10 to 15 years of wear and tear. One has designs and patterns stemming from centuries of cultural tradition and love, the other is typically monotone. It may seem obvious, but when it comes to cleaning, one needs careful care and attention, while the other can be quickly steam-cleaned.

When it comes to your fine Oriental rugs, steam cleaning is detrimental to the integrity of the rug. Wool contains lanolin, a sheep’s natural oil, which gives the rug its sheen and lustrous appearance. It is also a big part of what creates durability and longevity in the wool fibers. Unfortunately, the heat and detergents used in steam cleaning strips this lanolin out of wool. Very quickly, this will affect both the appearance and durability of your rug. Additionally, it is nearly impossible to completely rinse out the detergents from wool. Unlike nylon, which as a fiber is created to be smooth, wool has a naturally scaly structure. Detergents tend to get trapped in these scales. This compounds with time, as detergent residue attracts even more dirt, causing your fine Oriental rug to become grey and dirty even more quickly than it did before. Controlled, thorough and proper rinsing is the solution to this problem and unfortunately typical wall-to-wall cleaning methods (like the steam cleaners you can rent at the grocery store) just don’t cut it.

The only proven effective methods of cleaning Oriental rugs are cold water flood and immersion washing. Both these methods involve the use of cold water, large quantities of it, and carefully controlled methods to ensure dye stability. Additionally, rather than relying on harsh detergents, these methods use gentle shampoos to scrub the dirt from your rugs. The low temperatures help to keep the lanolin in your rug intact, preserving its long-term durability. The moisture penetrates deeper into the fiber helping to remove the deep and ground-in soil. Most importantly, the high volumes of water are the key to removing the excess shampoos ensuring the long-term beauty of your rug.

Serafian’s Oriental Rugs has the largest rug washing facility in the Southwest. To see a video on how Serafian’s does its washing, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hryLmj6_1-k

Wall-to-wall carpet is expected to be replaced every decade or so. Yet a good hand woven Oriental rug will last for generations. Where steam cleaning is a fast way to clean the carpet in your home, it’s a sure way to damage your favorite fine rug. Regular and proper cleaning is the most effective way to preserve the beauty and value of your rugs, and professional immersion and cold water washing methods are the only safe and effective way to have this done.


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By Matt Gabel

Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years.  Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com

The Importance of Area Rug Cleaning in Albuquerque, NM

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Believe it or not, this isn’t a rug. This is a pile of dirt. The rug this came from was so packed with dirt, that when we turned it over and beat the back side of it, you could clearly see the pattern and colors of the rug.

This was caused by the dirt slowly grinding away at the fiber of the rug from the inside, so when we beat it, a lot of wool came out alongside the dirt. Unfortunately, that slow grinding process took a lot of life out of this rug.

Packed in dirt is the number one killer of rugs over time. This is why we recommend having your rugs cleaned every two years. Doing so will prevent the dirt from getting too deep into the foundation and taking years away from the life of your rug.