The Navajos are Native Americans that reside in the Southwestern United States. They are known for their exceptional weaving skills that started in the 17th century. Some of the best-weaved fabrics coming from them are rugs.
In recent years, Navajo rugs have become a collector’s item. Art enthusiasts scour online shops and art galleries to look for rare and antique designs to add to their collection. They have transitioned from being a craft to a piece of art, home decor to a museum display, and a curio to an investment.
If you have Navajo rugs at home, it’s important to know that they’re one of the most delicate rugs to care for and maintain. They have a fragile single-ply construction and stunning blanket-like weaves.
Navajo rugs are expensive pieces of fabric, so you want yours to last long and look great. To help preserve their value and beauty, it helps to know and avoid the most common causes of rug damage. It’s also essential to learn the proper techniques for cleaning Navajo rugs.
We’ve gathered all the information you need to know in this one-stop guide. Let’s get started!
Common Causes of Rug Damage
Many things can cause damage and ruin antique rugs. The most common ones are:
Dirt is one of the reasons why many rugs don’t last as long as they should. It causes discoloration and stubborn stains when left unaddressed. Dirt also works its way into rug fibers, causing damage that’s hard to repair.
2. Spills and Stains
Spills from beverages that contain high acidity levels can stain rugs permanently when not dealt with as early as possible. Some of the beverages you need to avoid drinking near your rugs are:
- Red Wine
- White Wine
- Some Fruit Juices
Chemical spills are also among the culprits. They can damage and discolor rugs even when addressed right after they occur. Bleach is one of the most common chemicals that ruin fabrics.
3. Dry Rot
Dry rots occur when the cellulosic fibers in the foundation of rugs break down. They are often a result of water damage that doesn’t get addressed immediately and properly. Leaving rugs wet for a long time is also one of the leading causes.
Pests love soiled pieces of fabric. Cloth moths, for example, lay their eggs on dirty rugs. Their worm-like larvae feed on different types of fabric. Squirrels and mice do the same thing as well. They use rugs as their nest and cause damage from their bites.
5. Heavy Objects
While many people use Najavo rugs as blankets, cloaks, dresses, and other similar purposes, some people use them as a tablecloth or covering for other surfaces. Placing heavy objects on top of them can damage their delicate weaves.
6. Sun Exposure
Sun exposure is detrimental to some rugs. It can cause discoloration, fading, or bleaching, especially in rugs colored with synthetic dye. Even those colored using natural dyes can soften and suffer from minimal damages when exposed to the sun.
How to Clean Navajo Rugs
There are more DON’Ts than DOs when it comes to cleaning Navajo rugs. For instance, never rub, machine wash, or steam clean them. Doing so can damage their fibers and cause their colors to run. Here are some helpful tips for cleaning them:
- Don’t use water when cleaning them. It can damage their colors permanently.
- If there are no stains, damage, or dry rot, clean them using a dry vacuum every week. Take note that you need to clean both sides to remove dirt buildup.
- Be gentle when vacuuming them. Use those types of suction vacuums with a rug attachment to avoid damage.
- After vacuuming, don’t beat or shake them to remove all the remaining dust. Doing so can fray the ends or unravel their fibers.
Keep in mind that the best way to maintain their value is to bring them to professional cleaners for dry cleaning. Experts know how to address dirt buildup, spills, stains, dry rot, and other problems appropriately. Let them handle these things to ensure that your Navajo rugs last long.
It’s not enough to learn the proper techniques for cleaning Navajo rugs. You also need to know a few maintenance tips. Here are some:
- When hanging them, make sure that you do it properly and securely. If you don’t do it the right way, they can get stretched, causing their fibers to sag permanently.
- When using them on floors or tables, consider placing rubber pads or other thick fabrics underneath them. Without such things, they become susceptible to wear and tear due to friction.
- When using them as home decor, avoid placing them in areas with temperature or humidity fluctuations. These conditions can curl their corners. Also, don’t use them near windows to avoid sun exposure.
- When it comes to storage, don’t fold them. It can cause them to get stretched beyond repair. The best way to store them is to roll them using a roller and place them in areas with no pests.
Kelly’s Dry Cleaners Can Help You
At Kelly’s Dry Cleaners, we specialize in cleaning Navajo rugs. Our team of experts knows the best techniques for maintaining their value and beauty. Aside from handling every type of fabric with the best care, our green Earth cleaners in Durango utilize environmentally friendly cleaning techniques. For inquiries about our services, contact us today!