Rug Cleaning vs. Carpet Cleaning

Is All Rug Cleaning the Same?

The short answer? No.

Read on to learn the specific differences between the different types of cleaning services, and how your rug will be affected.

Carpet Cleaners

Steam cleaning a rugThe first option for cleaning your rugs is a carpet cleaning service. It’s quite common for a carpet cleaner to offer to clean your fine, handmade rugs in addition to your carpeting. Often, a naive individual says yes, thinking they are killing two birds with one stone.

Carpet cleaners use heavy machinery on your delicate, handmade rugs. These machines are made for synthetic fibers, which are much more durable than the natural fibers rugs are made of. Carpet cleaning machines roughly extract dirt from your rugs with sharp and speedy mechanized movements. The construction of your rug can be damaged by these movements.

Carpet cleaners may also use a steam cleaning/hot water extraction method to clean your rug. Hot water and steam weaken the fibers of your rug and treatments that use high temperatures are sure to hurt your rug, resulting in breakage and unraveling.

One common issue is the soap left behind by carpet cleaners, which takes the sheen away from wool and silk rugs and makes the rug stiff and a magnet for fresh dirt. In addition, the fringe of your rug requires gentle hand-cleaning.

Time and time again, customers bring in rugs damaged by carpet cleaners, and the most common issue is fringe that is partially or completely unraveled. This can be fixed by our expert weavers, but it can be costly.

Another problem is that the fringe may be discolored. In fact, it is common for the entire rug to be discolored by the uneven distribution of harsh cleaning solutions that cannot be rinsed out.

While you may save money by trusting a carpet cleaner with your rugs, the inevitable damages they cause will end up costing you much more. The truth is, you get what you pay for. While paying $1 per square foot may seem like a great deal, you know enough now that the damage caused increases that cost exponentially.

Rug Cleaners Who Use Machines

Cleaning a rug with machinesNext, you have professional rug cleaners that use rug cleaning machines. To begin, your rug may be vacuumed with the beater brush extension. This is a big no-no for handmade rugs.

Then, the rotary brush carpet shampooer agitates the fibers to create a soapy foam full of debris. Once clean, the rug is put through a water extractor, wringer, or centrifuge. These machines, while created with rugs in mind, can still be rough on your fragile rugs. The extractors can crush the fibers of your rug and result in breakage or creases.

Rug Cleaners Who Do Everything By Hand

Persian Rug Cleaners Cleaning a Rug TraditionallyFinally, you have professional rug cleaners that do everything by hand. This is your safest option. Professional rug cleaners are well-educated on how to care for Persian, Oriental, silk, wool, and antique rugs. They know about the rug’s construction, fiber resilience, dyes, and daily events such as pet stains and traffic that affect those things.

At Behnam Rugs, we use a traditional, proprietary hand-washing process that has been passed down for generations from Old Persia. The rug is first given a pre-wash treatment for stains and other imperfections. Next, the rug is washed by hand with organic shampoo at least three times front and back and rinsed until the water runs clear at the final stage.

Note that carpet cleaners only wash the front of your rug. Brushes and paddles loosen the dirt from the rug and massage deep within the foundation, which brings these particles to the surface for removal. We use special enzymes to deodorize the rug and remove smells from pet urine, smoke, and other sources.

The rug is dried on a flat surface using only the sun and a gentle outdoor breeze. The dry rug goes through hypoallergenic dusting to remove any remaining particulates, as well as hand brushing to restore shine. Before the final inspection, the rug is groomed so that the pile lays properly as well as the fringes.

Always ask the professionals cleaning your rug about the exact process your rug will go through so there are no unpleasant surprises. When it comes to rug cleaning, experience matters. Be aware of the difference between a legitimate rug cleaning company and a carpet cleaner that does rugs on the side.

Pick the Right Rug Padding

Rug padDoes My Rug Need Padding?

Yes, all rugs need padding. Whether your rug is on wood floors, vinyl, or carpet, when you walk on your rug, you do not want to move the foundation of it. Installing a pad underneath your rug helps the rug not to move, and it helps preserve the quality of the knots in your rug too.

When a rug is installed without a pad, its shape will distort over time. Your rug will lose its shape, be it rectangular or round, simply from being shifted and moved frequently. Padding will prevent this, and it will help to extend the life of your rug. In addition, a rug that is no longer perfectly shaped will lose some of its value.

When you walk on a rug with a pad installed, it feels softer and more comfortable under your feet. You also won’t have to worry about your rug slipping underneath you and causing an accident, and yes, this CAN happen on carpeted floors, too.

Because it absorbs some impact from furniture and foot traffic, padding can increase the life of your rug by as much as 40%. The most absorbent type of padding is felt. However, the placement, construction, and your personal preferences are what will help you decide which padding is best for your rug.

What Kind of Padding Do I Need?

Rug pad materials perform differently based on the material of the rug. Ask us to help you pick the right pad material for your rug. Our certified rug care specialists can give advice and input so that you choose the best padding for your situation. We will also cut the pad to the shape of your rug.

For many years, hair and jute based pads were the only varieties available. Felt pads are newer, and we recommend this material for most types of rugs. Felt is made of recycled, synthetic materials. Moths will not eat these fibers, and the synthetic fibers of felt are longer lasting than the hair and jute fibers.

The firmness and stability of synthetic felt also give it the advantage of being able to eliminate any ripples and bumps that can cause uneven wear when a rug lies on the floor without a pad. To be truly effective, a half inch thick pad is needed.

Unfortunately, felt pads can still slip underneath smaller rugs, even if the pad is dense. For smaller rugs, we recommend purchasing rubber padding. Be careful not to mix rubber pads with sponge or foam pads.

We do not recommend sponge or foam padding, as they are too soft and can bottom out- stressing the foundation of Persian and Oriental rugs. This is especially applicable to thin, finely woven rugs, flat weaves, or antique rugs. Sponge and foam pads can disintegrate and even stick to wood floors. If you have an antique rug, it is especially important you choose the proper padding to maintain the condition it is already in after 80 to 100 years of life.

One of the best types of rug pad on the market is a fourth-inch thick synthetic felt bonded to a thin, solid rubber backing. This type of pad can serve two purpose. First, it is excellent at anchoring the rug to your floor, preventing slipping.

Second, its felt layer helps to extend the life of your rug. As previously mentioned, a rug without a pad can slide around and cause serious falls and injuries. This type of padding is recommended for all scatter rugs and area rugs that do not have a thick foundation, such as antique rugs, needlepoint, Aubusson tapestries, and flat weaves.

Another benefit of this type of pad is that it can also be used on thick rugs. It is thinner than synthetic felt and will not add on to the thickness of your rug. You can even place this padding on top of carpet. It eliminates rippling, buckling, and adjusting, even on wall to wall carpeted areas.

If you have a rug in need of padding, call us at 972-733-0400. Our specialists will make sure you are informed of your options, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as the price. Rug padding is generally a very small investment that makes a big impact on the longevity and safety of the rug in your home.

Rubber or Vinyl & Felt
Rubber padding on the Left and “Black” padding on the right with vinyl and felt.

The Difference Between Persian and Oriental Rugs

Rugs in our showroom

What’s the Difference Between Persian and Oriental Rugs?

As you search for a handmade rug for your home or business, you’ve no doubt noticed that the terms Persian and Oriental tend to be used interchangeably when it comes to these rugs.

So you may be wondering if there’s even a difference between them.

Our answer? There is a difference that matters because the history of a rug and the country of its origin are integral to the workmanship as well as the design of the rug.

In fact, knowing the difference between a Persian and an Oriental rug is of particular importance if you’re looking for an antique rug.

In a nutshell (and by the strictest of definitions), an Oriental rug is one that is hand-knotted in Iran, Asia, China, Russia, India, Turkey, Pakistan, Tibet, or Nepal.

As for Persian rugs, these also are Oriental rugs, but they are made only in Iran (former Persia). It’s a rectangle and square situation.

Many Persian rug designs actually hold the names of the cities in which they originated (a Tabriz design, for example). The designs’ popularity grew over time and even though the patterns now are made in different cities, the designs have retained the names of their city of origin.

A Persian rug also tends to have a thicker pile than an Oriental rug (up to 160 knots per square inch) and has extremely rich colors woven into their unique designs.

Persian rugs also are considered to be of higher quality than an Oriental rug, although hand-knotted Oriental rugs today also are of exceptional workmanship. This difference in quality also means a difference in price, with Persian rugs being worth a bit more than Oriental rugs.

A Persian rug is made by many skilled artisans, who work hundreds of hours on one rug. A 9’ x 12’ foot rug, for example, can take longer than 14 months to complete, with four to five craftsmen working on the rug for up to six hours a day.

Oriental rugs also offer beautiful workmanship, designs and colors, particularly silk rugs. While you may think the silk would be too delicate, these rugs are incredibly sturdy (although they do require a bit more care than wool rugs). Silk Oriental rugs do diverge from their Persian cousins in that they tend to use more traditional Buddhist designs and often use a palette of blue, yellow and apricot for their colors.

If you would like to learn more about the art of rugs, call us at 972-733-0400.

5 Qualities to Look for In a Persian Rug Dealer

Man standing in front of rugsChoosing a Persian Rug Dealer: What to Look for

When it comes to purchasing a fine handmade rug, you do want to research the history of these textiles and study the factors that make them valuable so that you’ll be sure to end up purchasing a quality rug.

But the same could be said of finding a rug dealer from whom to purchase the rug: you want to do some due diligence here so that you know the dealer is trustworthy and has your interests foremost in his mind.

To help you find this type of company, we’ve put together a short list of five qualities you should look for when you search for a seller of fine rugs.

  1. Look for a dealership that has been in business in your area or region for many years.

Longevity is a sign that the business is well-run and that customers trust it. A store or rug dealership that holds a going-out-business sale only to pop up in a different location a short while later could  indicate that the store’s owners aren’t truly trustworthy. Behnam Rugs has been serving the Dallas area for over 40 years. We don’t recommend buying a handmade Persian or Oriental rug from a company that does not exclusively sell rugs, such as a furniture store, as these businesses are not industry experts.

  1. Make sure the dealer shows you rugs that are in your budget, not his.

If you tell a dealer that you can spend only X dollars, and he starts showing you more expensive rugs, be wary. They could be honest, but if you’ve told a salesperson or the store owner that you want a rug at one price and he shows you rugs at higher prices, that could be a sign that the dealer is focused more on making a high commission or larger margin, instead of helping you find a rug that’s beautiful and fits your budget. This may also be an indication that the store does not have any inventory at a price you can afford.

  1. If you want to see only hand-knotted rugs, be cautious if you notice he’s showing you machine-made or hand-tufted rugs.

This is why it’s important that you understand how to tell the difference between a hand-knotted and a machine-made or hand-tufted rug: being able to spot when a seller is showing you a hand-tufted rug when you asked to see only hand-knotted rugs is a big red flag. It could be an honest mistake, but you may want to be careful when dealing an Oriental/Persian rug seller who does this. Familiarize yourself with machine made and hand tufted rugs before you shop so that you are not easily duped.

  1. Stay away from rug auctions that say they are selling rugs seized by U.S. Customs.

Such sales are fraudulent. Why? Because they are selling rugs that were supposedly to have been seized by Customs and any goods seized by U.S. Customs must be sent out of the county because these goods aren’t allowed to be sold in the U.S. We also don’t recommend purchasing fine rugs from auctions in general. They are often dishonest about the rugs they auction and we have had to help far too many customers get their money back after buying a “handmade” rug that was actually machine made. To avoid this common scam, only shop for rugs from reputable dealers with a physical store.

  1. True hand-knotted Persian and Oriental rugs do cost more.

The artists that weave a hand-knotted rug take months – sometimes years – to create just one rug. Each of the rug’s thousands of knots is knotted by hand, a skill that takes years for someone to master, let alone to become an expert at it. A skilled weaver can tie up to six thousand knots per day, and still take months to finish!

So be very cautious of someone who says he will sell you a hand-knotted Tabriz rug with 600 knots per square inch (KPSI) for $150.

Behnam Rugs has been helping Dallas residents buy hand-knotted Persian and Oriental rugs since 1978. If you’d like to visit our showroom to learn more about why these rugs are so beautiful and valuable, visit our Dallas showroom. Give us a call at 972-733-4000 to make an appointment.

Are Persian Rugs Just for Living Rooms?

Qum Persian Silk Rug, Behnam Rugs, Dallas, TXWhere in My Home Can I Place My Persian Rug?

Picture an Oriental or Persian rug in your mind’s eye. Where is it?

Chances are it on the floor of a living room, isn’t it?

Many people equate Oriental rugs with living rooms. After all, we see them on living room floors in movies and on television. So is the living room the only place to showcase an Oriental rug?


Oriental and Persian rugs are so beautiful, so versatile, that you can place them in just about every room in your home.

First, let’s discuss that living room. Even if you already have wall-to-wall carpet in your living room – or any room – it’s perfectly acceptable to place a beautiful Oriental or Persian rug on top of it. Doing so can take the focus away from a carpet color you don’t like. An Oriental rug also can bring in a huge burst of color to your room, change its “mood,” and otherwise change a room’s look. If you have a living room with contemporary decor, you may be surprised to know that a Persian rug can really tie it together and bring tradition to an otherwise modern space.

Smaller Persian and Oriental rugs (think runners, or rugs that are 3’x5’ or 4’x6’) can be placed in hallways (doing so just brings a terrific burst of color to a place that’s often neglected), at the side of your bed (no more hitting a cold wood floor right as you get up from bed), in front of a dresser, or even placed in front of a small grouping of furniture (this helps bring the group “together”).

We also recommend trying a runner in your bathroom or kitchen. They really add warmth and culture to a small space without being overpowering.

For real drama, drape a smaller Oriental or Persian rug on an angle on your dining room table when the table’s not in use!

Place a smaller runner in front of a double-sink vanity in your bathroom.

If you have a high ceiling in a room or a high-placed alcove, consider hanging a wider runner on the wall or in the alcove.

Obviously, the older the rug, the more you should be sure it’s not walked on too much. So an antique or worn rug should be retired from a hallway, by a bed, and so on. Hanging it on a wall may be best, or placing it in a spot in a room that almost always sees no footsteps (a small corner of a room, for example). In addition, silk rugs should be placed in spaces with minimal foot traffic.

If your living room and dining room are visible from each other, consider placing two Oriental/Persian rugs of different patterns but in complimentary colors under the dining table and in the living room. Doing so helps “join” the two rooms together.

Don’t be afraid to place the rug in a room at an angle to the room’s four corners. Doing so will add interest to the room and also helps the eye take notice of the rug’s beauty.

In short, a Persian rug can make any space in your home come alive, and you shouldn’t shy away from placing them in less conventional places. You can even put them outside if the space is covered and shielded from the elements. Persian rugs bring culture and beauty into your home, why confine them only to the living room?

Call 972-733-0400 to schedule an appointment to shop for new rugs.