Interested in a vintage rug but still have questions? Here are some of the most common questions posed by our clients, answered for you!

Don’t see your question here? Message us, we’d love to chat rugs with you! Houseoftocumen@gmail.com 


1. Are vintage rugs high maintenance? 

Yes and no! Clear as mud right?! Depending on the type of rug you buy. Most rugs we source are woven wool on a cotton base. These are the easiest to maintain, and most spills and stains can be handled at home with simple, clear dish soap and water. Handknotted wool on a wool base is a little trickier to maintain. Due to the natural lanolin on the wool, they can smell awful when being cleaned and tend to get extremely heavy with washing. They are however easy to maintain with natural soaps and water. All wool rugs are extremely durable and made to last! These rugs are made to endure the rigors of life. 

Silk rugs are the most temperamental, and we do not currently carry silk rugs due to their gentle nature. 

2. Why does my rug smell so bad when I clean it? 

Does your rug smell akin to a wet dog, when you clean it? Good news, it’s supposed to! Wool naturally secretes a substance called lanolin to protect itself from harsh weather. Remember, wool once was part of a sheep. Lanolin gives off a faint odor when washed and will smell stronger from one person to another, depending on your sensitivity to smells. Your wool rug is supposed to have that smell and will dissipate as the rug dries. However, if you notice that your rug is taking longer than usual for that smell to go away, it’s probably because your rug is a handknotted wool on a wool base. Being thoroughly wool, it has more lanolin and will therefore smell more! 

3. My rug is curling under at the edges, what can I do? 

If your rug is curling, try resetting the curl by wetting the area. Then take a damp wash cloth, set your iron on the wool setting and quickly iron the cloth over the offending area. DO NOT iron the rug itself without the cloth in between to protect it. Let it dry for a few days and try again if the curl is still there. This process can also be repeated for offending wrinkles or creases. 

4. My rug arrived creased, now what

Wool naturally creases. Lay your rug flat for a few days and the creases should flatten out. 

5. Why are vintage rugs so expensive? Rugs from those big box stores are way cheaper

We hear you! Vintage rugs are always more expensive because of how time consuming they are. Just think that your vintage rug was lovingly handknotted by a mother, aunt, or grandmother for months. Vintage rugs take anywhere from months to years to hand knot each strand. Vintage rugs are also made out of natural materials. They are woven from wool, silk, cotton, etc, instead of synthetic materials that eventually breakdown and end up in landfills. Hand made rugs are known to last, at least, two decades longer than their man made counterparts. They are made to withstand kids, pets, and daily life. Best of all, your hand made rug is guaranteed, 100% one of a kind. Though you may pay more upfront, your handmade rug will not depreciate and you can invariably sell it for the same amount you spent on it, if you were to ever tire of the look.  

4. How do I maintain my rug?

We recommend that you spot treat any spills with hot water and natural soaps. Dawn works perfectly well. Vinegar works to neutralize any pet accidents and keep plain soda water on hand. It can help fight stains from wine or alcohol if tended to quickly. Never take your rug to dry cleaners. They are not to meant to be treated with harsh chemicals. These chemicals can lead to the breakdown of fibers in your rug. If you absolutely need to get your rug cleaned, take it to a speciality oriental rug cleaner. Lastly remember to rotate your rug, every six months. Rugs will fade with exposure to the sun. Rotating your rug will ensure the colors fade evenly and change the traffic pattern on your rug, so that it has even wear throughout. 

5. What is the difference between handmade and handtufted

The term handmade, is often used as an umbrella term to mean anything made by man. Don’t get tricked by this term. A rug that is truly hand made, will have been hand knotted; with each strand tied individually onto a base of cotton or wool. A rug that is hand tufted, is one that is made using a small hand gun. The threads are punched into a synthetic base, following a pattern printed on a computer. Though it can be considered “handmade” the price difference is huge. Hand tufted rugs can be made in hours or a day, while hand knotted rugs take months to years, to complete. 

6. How do I know if the rug I’m buying is truly hand made and not machine made?

 As demand for handmade rugs increases, it’s become harder and harder to tell the fakes from the authentically hand knotted. Machine made rugs from those big box stores purposefully make their rugs to mimic the nuances of hand made rugs. After all, handmade rugs are expensive and fetch a higher price than ones made in a factory. Here are some ways to check if the rug you’re about to splurge on is truly hand knotted.

Check the back! The design should show on the back of the rug. The more distinct the image is on the back, the higher the knot count, and the better the quality of the rug. Check the fringe. The fringe should make up part of the base of the rug, and not be glued on. If the fringe was an afterthought, good chances are your rug is machine made. Check the materials. Handmade rugs are only made out of natural materials; think wool, cotton, silk, jute, or a combination. Any type of synthetic backing or material, means your rug was made in a factory. Lastly look at price! Handknotted rugs are expensive for a reason. They take months or years to make. You are paying for quality materials and craftsmanship. Unless you are buying your rug from a second hand store, or came upon a unicorn find at a yard sale, expect to pay hundreds to thousands for your rug. If your rug is unreasonably cheap...it’s probably a machine made rug. 

7. Does the use of synthetic dyes in my rug mean it’s newly made

Synthetic dyes have been used since the late 1800s. They were first introduced in 1860s, though their tendency to be unstable led to their bad reputation. Newer, more stable chrome dyes have been in use since the 1940s. Your rug can invariably be antique and still have some synthetic dyes in it.