Color Bleeding and Color Runs in Persian Rugs

Color Bleeding and Color Runs in Persian Rugs

Antique rug with color bleeding
This antique rug experienced color bleeding that was contained to the corner which is magnified in the black circle.

When it comes to dyeing a rug, there are two types of dyes that may be used. There are CHEMICAL dyes, composed using formulas with specific instructions that create the exact same color every time, and there are NATURAL dyes, which come from a variety of sources including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and insects.

Natural dyes can be harder to replicate with exact precision, which is why some rugs may feature colors that are not a perfect match throughout the rug. Many people enjoy rugs colored with natural dyes because they believe the less uniform look gives the rug character. In fact, the rug industry typically uses natural dyes to make antique replicas. Naturally dyed rugs are more sought after by collectors. Chemical dyes were created because there was a desire for more control and standardization in the dyeing process. After so many years of creating these dyes, most formulas are stable.

So how can you tell whether a dye is chemical or natural? There are two ways to determine this, chemical analysis or an “experienced eye” test. Chemical analysis is of course more reliable, however, a knowledgeable rug dealer who has been in the industry for decades can tell if a rug is dyed with chemical dyes or natural dyes for much cheaper. In addition, chemical analysis requires samples of each color on the rug, of which there can be more than 15! Since the “experienced eye” test does not damage the rug and is essentially free, it is the preferred method. You can learn more about the dyeing process here.

Usually, a rug is washed after it is woven to remove any excess dye and color. The dye is also “fixed” before washing to make it stable. If the dye is not properly set it will not be colorfast when it comes into contact with water. When a rug is purchased that has never been washed before, rug owners are often dismayed to hear that their rug is experiencing color runs or color bleeding.

Luckily, 95% of new rugs have been washed at least one or two times before shearing. That first wash will reveal unstable dye, which can be influenced by the maker of the dye and the origin of the ingredients. For example, a rug made in a small village may experience color runs due to improper mixing of the dye elements, resulting in instability.

The other reason a rug may experience color runs is that the rug has not been washed for 20+ years. With wool especially, lack of regular washing may result in a loss of the oils from the wool, meaning that oil is no longer holding in the dye and it may run when washed. Washing your rug regularly conditions the wool and keeps the oils happy.

When a rug bleeds during washing, this may result in foggy color. Foggy color means that dye from one area stained dye of a different shade on another area of the rug, muddling the original color to something else, for example, excess red dye staining an ivory area pink.

Luckily, when this happens the aging process will cause that foggy color to fade. The best way to accelerate the aging process is to leave your rug in the sun. The sun’s rays accelerate the fading of foggy colors, making them much less noticeable. Just leaving the rug in the sun for a few days after washing can fade the foggy colors by 30% to 40%.

As your rug ages, it will begin to lose pile, patterns may lose sharpness, and the rug may start looking threadbare. Traffic, over-vacuuming, improper care, and dirt create an environment that decreases the thickness of the pile over time. Proper and regular washing is necessary to prevent pile depletion.

So, how do you bring your rug’s design back to life? Precise color touch-ups, done by hand, can minimize the look of a faded, unclear rug pattern. If you choose to have the color and details of your rug touched up, it is important that you don’t spill anything on the rug afterward, or walk on it much.

If your rug does experience color bleeding when professionally washed, it is important that the company completely rinses all color from the rug. If the unstable dye is left behind in the rug, it can transfer to anything that touches it, such as a dog’s paws or a child’s feet. Because there is no way to be certain that unstable dye transfer is not harmful to skin, all excess color needs to be washed out for safety reasons.

If you are buying an old or antique rug, ask the seller to perform a colorfastness test. Wet the fabric and use a towel to see if there is color transfer. If there is, you may want to reconsider your purchase.

Color runs and color bleeding do happen to handmade Persian rugs, but it is not the end of the world. Call Behnam Rugs at 972-733 to discuss any concerns you have and options for a rug that has experienced color bleeding.


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.

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.

Designing Your Living Room Around Your Persian Rug

Living room with Persian rugHow to Design Your Living Room Around Your Persian Rug

Your Persian rug is a true work of art and, even though it’s a functional piece of art, it still deserves to be displayed in a way that showcases its beauty.

In fact, if you were to look at old issues of Architectural Digest you’d notice quickly that Persian and Oriental rugs appear in at least one featured home every issue. Go back 50 years in the magazine’s archives and you’d still see them in featured homes.

The reason? A Persian rug just adds a little bit of je ne sais quoi to any décor. The rug brightens a room. It can make a room look elegant, or even casual (depending on the other décor surrounding it). Persian rugs have a distinctive look that complements many interior design styles in a tasteful way.

What’s more, add a Persian rug to your living room and it changes it automatically. You could make absolutely no changes to the room otherwise and it still would appear as if you had an interior decorating redo.

Your first step in designing a living room around your rug is to find a rug you love. It’s that simple. Truly. Love the rug and the décor will practically take care of itself.

One thing many people worry about is that the pattern of the Persian rug will clash or even become “too overbearing” in a room. Don’t worry about this. Have you ever noticed that all real woods, whether dark or light “go” together? The same with a Persian rug: it truly “goes” with everything! It will not clash with any of your furniture or decorations. In fact, a Persian rug in a traditional style displayed in a modern room can really steal the show!

Mr. Behnam at Behnam Rugs reminds customers to keep in mind the size of their rug and make sure they walk all the way on it or all the way off of it. This, he says will help keep the wear of your valuable rug even. In addition, be sure to rotate your rug every year to help make wear present evenly.

If your rug has mostly red tones, consider this idea:

  • Use a sofa to anchor your rug. Add two end tables on each side of the sofa. Place the coffee table in the center and place two chairs facing the sofa. You now have a beautiful living room as well as a conversation nook.
  • If possible, choose a sofa in a neutral color. Add accessories (pillows for the sofa, art for your walls) that bring out the rug’s other colors. You also may want to upholster the two chairs facing the sofa in fabric that also brings out the rug’s colors.

In general, follow these designing rules:

  • If you don’t have two chairs, but have a chair and a love seat, place the sofa and the coffee table as described above, place the chair at an opposite corner of the rug and the love-seat at the other side of the rug so that the sofa and the love-seat form an L shape.
  • If your rug is small don’t place it in front of the sofa; it will look miserly. Layer it over a larger neutral piece such as a natural fiber rug if your heart is set on placing it there.
  • At the same time, if the rug is very large, place a part of all of your living room’s furniture on the rug.
  • If your living room has wall-to-wall carpeting, you can place your rug on top of it, just so long as the carpet’s pile is no greater than ½ inch. Placing a rug on top of carpeting with deeper pile just never seems to sit or look right.
  • Remember that all rugs need padding, even rugs placed over carpet. This is both for your safety as well as for the health and longevity of your rug.

Have more design questions? Trust the experts at Behnam Rugs and call 972-733-0400. You can also learn more about buying a Persian rug by reading our handbook.