With the return to hardwood floors many people have also purchased beautiful wool area rugs. I have a customer who traveled to the Four Corners area this summer. They fell in love with the art inspired by pale blue skies, red rock mesas, and pueblo dwellings. On their wall they now have one of those three-dimensional adobe house pictures with the timbers sticking out. I have to admit. They are really cool. It looks great especially against the warm glow of their new hardwood floor. They also came home with a brilliant colored, expensive, thick Navajo rug. It really looks nice in the same room with the picture.

They absolutely love that rug, and I can’t blame them. They called me shortly after getting back and wanted to know how to care for their rug. They called me because I provide rug cleaning in Portland. I happened to be traveling through their neighborhood when they called. The rug took my breath away. It truly was a work of art worth preserving. They had decided, however, to use it on the floor not their wall.

Let me talk a little about general upkeep first. We have forty inches of rain in Portland during the winter months. Stuff gets wet. Navajo rugs like the region from which they come like dry conditions. Note: Most wool rugs come from dry regions.  Don’t use your rug in an area that is wet. Made from wool the rug will buckle, bleed, and breed moths. Keep your Navajo rug as dry as the Four Corner’s desert.  If it gets wet, vacuum it immediately to remove the excess water and then hang it over a line with plenty of air getting to both sides.

Vacuum the rug daily. Use a suction vacuum only. A beater bar and brush is too hard on a Navajo rug. Don’t beat or shake the rug. Vacuum it. Turn it over and vacuum the other side. Rotate and turn the rug often to lessen wear in any one place. Genuine Navajo rugs have a warp thread that courses through the entire length of the rug from top to bottom in one continuous line without break. It is the only rug in the world made in this fashion. You do not want to do anything to damage these continuous threads.

What if you spill something on it? First of all, immediately blot any liquids. Once you get it reasonably  dry, you can spot clean a Navajo rug. However, don’t use any commercial cleaning or dry cleaning products on it. Start with plain cool water. If that doesn’t work, try a little distilled vinegar with a ¼ teaspoon of mild dish washing soap on a corner of the rug. Try it on different colors to test for colorfastness. If the rug passes the test, you can use this solution on the spot. Here’s a site that will give you more information about the history, construction, care, and cleaning of Navajo rugs.

Don’t attempt to wash a Navajo rug. Leave this kind of cleaning to a person who specializes in Navajo rug cleaning. Ask to see rugs they have cleaned.

Hope this information is helpful. Until next time…Sean!