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Image by Robert Levonyan

How Do I Store a Rug?

If you are planning on storing your rug for a long period of time, first of all they should be professionally cleaned.  You can use "Tyvek" to wrap it, and be sure not to use an airtight plastic bay.  Handmade rugs need to breathe and they will sometimes rot or mildew if they are not able.  Your rug could also be rolled up and kept in a cool, dry place with mothproofing sprayed on it.  Ideally, large rugs should be rolled around an acid free tube-hole, let the protruding ends rest on blocks or trestles.  It is suitable to let carpets lie flat on top of one another for any length of time.  DO NOT  store rugs in a hot, humid, or poorly ventilated room.  This will cause mildew which has a musty odor and discoloration of the fabrics, weakening the rugs.  Never leave a rug wet, failure to remove all the moisture may result in mildew.  DO NOT store a handmade rug in a hot closet, this could result in the base on your rug drying out and becoming brittle, it will also destroy it's strength and durability.

Rug Selection

Pile in or Pile Out When Rolling? 

First, consider the condition of the pile, if it is a knotted, silk, or fragile foundation condition, are there splits or breaks, is it brittle?  These factors will help you decided which side to roll inwards.  The pile is generally more vulnerable than the foundation, so in most circumstances roll rugs with the pile facing inwards.  Be sure to roll in the direction of the pile instead of against the pile to prevent abrading the pile and stressing the knots.  Rolling your rug around a support tube is recommended, acid free archival tubes are the best choice and are used in museums and galleries.  A more common technique is to use a cardboard rug tube and cover it with "Tyvek" the rug is then protected from acidic chemicals, insects and moisture.  DO NOT use traditional newspaper as it often contains acidic chemicals.

Rolling Your Rug

Getting the roll started is often difficult if done alone and lining it up right can be challenging.  Take excess paper and tape it to the roll to provide a guide, this way when you roll, it will catch under the paper and also line up straight.  The perfect material to finish off your roll is a layer of muslin, it is a good light and dust barrier that will not harm your rug.  Place the muslin near the end of the carpet so when you roll it hooks in.  The muslin should be long enough to wrap around the carpet 2-3 times and fold into the tubing from the edges.  Many museums now use clear polyethylene instead of muslin because it adds flood water and insect protection (as mentioned above, "Tyvek" can also be used to wrap the rug).  When storing oriental rugs for more than a few months it is advised to have them professionally cleaned and sprayed with moth guard.

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