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  • Hey… What’s wrong With My Rug???

  • Part 1 There are numerous conditions that are inherent in rugs and may become apparent over time or after a cleaning. Here are a few common ones: Abrash This is a variation of certain colors or changes in tones within certain colors in the field of a rug. Authentic oriental rugs have many variations because they are hand-made rather than machine made. Rugs made by hand will always have certain variations in their appearance especially older pieces and those classified as nomadic. These variations appear as bands or horizontal bars going in the weft direction. If you look at a rug with the fringe at the top and bottom, the weft direction goes weft to right. Abrash coloration can vary from very subtle shade differences to distinct or even bold variations in certain colors of the rug. Over time the variations can become more obvious as natural wear and fading occur. Most often occurs as a result of skeins of yarn from different dye baths or even the same dye baths because the dye changes after many skeins are immersed. This can also result from the use of different mordents and variations in the yarn. Occasionally the abrash areas may wear out more quickly because of inferior wool or corrosive dyes. When the rugs were new, chances are the colors were more uniform. Many new rugs both handmade and machine attempt to duplicate this to give authenticity to them. Click on the images to enlarge... Antique wash This is a method of giving rugs the appearance of being older than they actually are. Often this is called “tea” washed because unfortunately, in many cases,  tea is actually used to do this and it can be corrosive to natural fibers. Usually light browns and gold tones are used to give a softer patina to the colors. The applications of these dyes are often in a cold or warm state that does not allow the dyes to strike. Washing can remove this treatment or at least, lighten it. Spot cleaning may remove this and the result is a bleached-out look relative to the surrounding area. Bleeding Color is discharged into a liquid medium and transfers to another fiber. It is the movement or migration of one color into another color. This is often referred to as color running. It most commonly involves the movement of a darker color running and the subsequent staining of a lighter one. This can occur as a result of improper dying of the yarn or poor washing of the yarn after dying. This can also occur as a result of animal urine contamination and chemical interaction. This is what most rug cleaners fear and what they do little to prevent. Color fastness is defined as the resistance of a dyed textile to change color when exposed to water, chemical, light and/or rubbing. Color fastness tests should become a practice to help prevent this. It should be noted that there are no industry standards on how to test for colorfastness in rugs. I have included a few suggestions at the end of this document. Chemical washed A process of washing a rug to soften colors and textures. In some cases the solution used to wash the rug is too caustic and can deteriorate fibers. Chemically washed rugs are usually only washed on the fiber side. In these rugs if you look at the back, the original colors are intact. Color Stains These are substances that have added to the color of a rug. This can result from beverage spills (especially beverages with added color), water damage (furniture or fabric contacting rug) and food stuffs to name a few. Any stain that washes out of a rug was not a stain to begin with but a spot. Stains typically require the use of specialized chemicals (oxidizing and/or reducing agents) that have a risk. Hopefully, the cleaner did not put in the staining material. Creasing or wrinkles Usually a result of improper folding, rolling or storage of a rug. Not usually a problem in wool rugs because of the resiliency of wool. Foundation fibers and even face fibers that are synthetic can be a problem. If foundation yarns are subject to abuse (for instance, an axminster carpet folded in half lengthways could break the weft shoots if flattened), it can cause irreversible damage.

    More rug conditions to follow... For more information on properly maintaining your rug, contact Austonian Rug Cleaning Co. by e-mail at info@austonian.com or by phone at (512) 454-8300 today!