Renew the Appearance of Your Rug
The cleaning of Oriental and area rugs is a complicated and intricate process. A major concern during this process involves the rug fringes. Due to the fiber content of the fringes (usually cotton), their loose or low twist, and their open ends, rug fringes are prone to some deterioration with normal use. These characteristics make rug fringes susceptible to untwisting and texture loss during normal use (vacuuming, walking, etc.).
There are additional reasons why fringes may require special treatments during or after cleaning. The first reason is cellulosic browning. Rug fringes are mostly made of cotton, a cellulosic fiber, which undergoes natural changes with time. This may lead to the development of a brown stain or discoloration called cellulosic browning. The second reason is the possible change in the color of the fringes during cleaning. This form of color change often occurs as fugitive dyes from the wet rug are absorbed by the fringes.
There are alternate ways to clean or re-clean rug fringes. The first approach is to re-clean the fringes by hand, with or without mild acid rinsing, and rapid drying with a blower. The second approach is a stronger treatment which involves bleaching, with or without rinsing, and rapid drying.
Severe browning or color bleeding may not be eliminated by the first approach, which is the milder treatment. The second approach will result in white fringes but may also cause some physical deterioration of the fringes. This deterioration is generally manifested in their strength loss, fiber loss, and/or “stringy” texture.
Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. The first treatment does not weaken the fringes, but may leave them slightly discolored or off-white. While the bleaching process will whiten the fringes, it may result in a change in texture. During subsequent vacuuming and wear, the fringes may also look stringy and may break off. The choice of procedures best suited for a particular rug comes from knowledge and experience.
All rug fringes will eventually wear out from normal use and care. Professional rug cleaners can renew the appearance of your rug by replacing or re-fringing the old, worn rug fringes.