Rugs, Carpets & Tapestries
[This information comes from the LAPADA website with their permission. You may read the entire unedited information on their website by clicking here.]
Most antique rugs and carpets can be used normally if they are placed where they will not get heavy wear and are kept free of dust and dirt. Always use an underlay on the floor, thick enough to protect from uneven surfaces, cut exactly to size.A wide variety of modern carpet underlays is available for both wooden floors and for placing a rug on top of a fitted carpet to stop the rug moving or sliding. Underlay also preserves the rug by removing creases from the wool and smoothing imperfections on the floor beneath. On stone or tile floors, lay moisture-proof paper beneath the underlay as they can be damp and cause carpets to rot. Never use nails, tacks or glue to secure the rug. Move rugs and carpets around occasionally so that the wear and fading from strong sunlight is not concentrated on the same area. Tapestries should be hung from a tape to spread the weight evenly whilst making sure the weight is supported through the textile, not just the lining.Wide Velcro tape can be stitched (between the stitches and not through them) along the top of the reverse side, with the receiving Velcro strip stapled to a wooden batten fixed to the wall. Rugs can be similarly displayed and should be hung lengthways so that the weight is taken by the stronger warp threads. Never tack a rug or tapestry to a wall or hang from rings as the strain can pull horizontal threads apart. Do not hang in direct sunlight which will cause fading and avoid hanging over a radiator which will dry out the fibres and make them brittle, or on outside walls that may be damp.
Dust and dirt should not be allowed to build up as it has a sandpaper effect on the fibres. It is best to use carpet sweepers on antique carpets but vacuum cleaners of the type which have a hose with nozzle attachments on a lowsuction setting can also be safely used. Sweep in the direction of the pile and take care not to run over the edge of the rug with the vacuum cleaner as threads get pulled out, eventually damaging the edges as well as the fringes. Small rugs can be hung on a washing line and beaten on the reverse side with an oldfashioned carpet beater to dislodge dirt. It is advisable to do this and to sweep carpets on both sides, as well as the floor beneath, every six months. It is important to do so during the summer months when moths lay their eggs, especially in dark undisturbed areas such as under beds. For fragile rugs and needlepoints shake out loose dirt or if necessary carefully vacuum on both sides using a nozzle covered with a fine-net mesh or stocking attached with an elastic band, on a low suction setting. Tapestries, particularly those containing silk threads, should not be vacuumed but only cleaned by professionals.
Damage such as fraying, burns or holes should not be tackled at home but taken to a specialist who can make expert repairs with exactly matching dyes, knots and threads. Early attention to such damage will avoid it deteriorating and needing more extensive and expensive restoration later.
Do not fold rugs, carpets or tapestries as this causes creases. They should be rolled, right side out, around an acid free cardboard tube or one of inert plastic such as a drainpipe. Find one with as wide a diameter as possible and roll a rug or carpet in the direction of the pile, from the top. A tapestry should be rolled in the direction of the warp. Interleave with acid-free tissue paper, tie a dustproof sheet around the finished roll and store horizontally in a cool, dark, dry and well-ventilated place.