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Image by Robert Levonyan

How Do I Store a Rug?

Rugs should always be professionally cleaned before storing for long periods of time. Handmade rugs should never be placed in airtight plastic bags for storage as they need to breathe and will sometimes rot or mildew if not stored properly. We favor the Tyvek brand as it allows breathability and is water resistant. Another option is to mothproof the rug and keep it in a cool dry place. Rugs should not lie flat on top of each other for any length of time. Storing rugs in a hot, humid, or poorly ventilated room is detrimental to the rug as it will eventually cause mildew. The longer a rug is in a poor, mildew-conducive environment, the more it will develop an odor and will become discolored and weak. Leaving rugs wet or failing to remove all moisture may also result in mildew. Additionally, handmade rugs should never be stored in hot closets. Doing so may result in a drying out of the rug's base, which destroys its strength and durability and causes it to become brittle.

Rug Selection

Pile in or Pile Out When Rolling? 

Consider the condition of the pile: is it knotted or silk? Does it have a fragile foundation, or are there any splits or breaks? Is it brittle? These factors will help decide which side to roll inwards. The pile is generally more vulnerable than the foundation; so, in most circumstances rugs should be rolled with the pile facing inward. When rolling, ensure it is moving in the direction of the pile rather than against it to avoid wearing down and stressing the knots. It may be helpful to roll your rug around a support tube. Acid-free, archival support tubes, which are utilized by many museums and galleries, are an excellent choice for this. A more common technique is to use a cardboard rug tube and to cover it with Tyvek. Doing this protects the rug from acidic chemicals, insects, and moisture. Traditional newspaper should not be used for wrapping rugs, as it often contains harmful acidic chemicals.

Rolling Your Rug

Getting the roll started and keeping it lined up straight can be difficult, especially if done alone. It can be helpful to 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. Muslin is a perfect material to finish off your roll as it provides a dust and light barrier that is harmless to your rug. The muslin should be placed near the end of the carpet so it hooks in when rolled. It 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 as it also offers insect and flood water protection. As mentioned above, Tyvek can also be used to wrap the rug. Oriental rugs should be professionally cleaned and sprayed with moth guard if they will be stored for more than a few months.

Stacked Floor Mat Rolls
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