A Hurricane, Flood Damage, and Your Rugs

None of us could have predicted the devastating damage done by Hurricane Harvey. As Dallas residents, it’s easy for us to say things like, “At least you’re okay!” to our friends in Houston, but the truth is, our friends are not okay. Homes have been destroyed and precious belongings have been damaged. Ever since the hurricane hit, we have been receiving many phone calls and emails from Houston residents asking us how their rugs can be saved. When you think of a rug, you might think of a fashionable rug seen at a department store. You may think to yourself, “That rug might have been expensive, but surely it’s replaceable.” This is not always the case.

We know many people have priceless antiques and family heirlooms in their homes. These rugs are not just rugs. They are treasured memories. When someone calls us asking how to save their rug, we understand that they are frantic and worried for a reason. The rug someone is calling about could be the rug they bought on their honeymoon with their late husband. It could be the rug their mother gave to them. It could be the rug that they planned on giving to their children. Our point is that this is not just a “thing” they are worried about. A treasured rug is truly priceless, not simply a pain to replace.

Unfortunately, we are not equipped to drive down to Houston and save every rug, however, we can offer some guidance. This blog post will cover how flooding can affect your rug, what you can do after your rug is damaged by a flood, and what professionals will do to restore your rug. We are also offering free written appraisals (the kind you use for insurance purposes) for anyone who has been affected by the hurricane. Don’t worry- there is no obligation to use our cleaning or restoration services if you need a written appraisal! You can call or email us for more information on this service.

How to Respond to Heavy Flooding on Your Rug
The first thing we want you to know is that the flood restoration process is time-consuming and labor intensive. If your rug is a machine-made rug or otherwise mass-produced, it might be cheaper to simply buy a new rug. We strongly suggest weighing the pros and cons of restoration versus replacement if your rug can actually be replaced. The second thing we want you to know is that you can relax. Rugs are a lot more resilient than you would expect. Depending on your rug’s age, origin, and material, many rugs can bounce back from being under flood water for days and even weeks.

When you first get to your rug after it has been soaked in flood water, you will more than likely be shocked. After 24 hours, rugs that have been exposed to flood waters and saturated in them begin to show early signs of color run and color bleeding. For the uninitiated, these are simply terms that say that the dyes on your rug are not where they are supposed to be at all. Antique Persian and Oriental rugs are made of natural fibers like wool and silk, and these fibers are incredibly absorbent. Runoff and flood water will be quickly absorbed by your rug. This water is not just water so much as it is a mix of water, chemicals, sewage, and many other things you really do not want in your rug.

The best way to rescue your rug and restore it to both its natural beauty and its original value is to respond ASAP. Your rug may not be insured, but that does not mean you can’t try to get some financial assistance from your insurance company. If you were wondering what the appraisal from earlier could do for you, its purpose is to list out exactly what your rug should be worth, what colors it should have, how much it is currently worth, and what sort of damage is present. As a rug owner, what you need to do with the appraisal is to present it to your insurance company when you are making a claim. They will take care of the rest.

How Your Rug is Restored

By this point, you are probably wondering how exactly your rug is supposed to be restored. First, hose your rug down with water. This will remove the large chunks of debris from your rug’s pile and foundation, along with washing out a good amount of the flood water. This is actually something that you can do yourself. Again, if you act quickly, many types of rugs can be restored to either their original state or close to their original state. Some rugs may have darker or lighter colors by the end of the restoration process, so do be aware that could be a possibility too.

From here on out, you will need a professional. Not all rugs can be washed and restored in the same way, and rugs and carpets should never be washed with the same cleansers or cleaning methods. Educate yourself on both the type of rug you have and the people you are trusting your rug with. If you are not sure who to go with in the Houston area, you are more than welcome to call us for advice.

Your rug will need to be dried to preserve the strength of its foundation. Rugs can weigh double their regular weight when wet, so we do not recommend moving your rug by yourself. For most rugs, we recommend drying flat, out in the sun. The UV rays from the sun kill mold and restore the natural oils in wool and silk. A wet rug should never be hung to dry as this stresses the foundation. Some rugs, namely traditional Chinese rugs, should not be dried out in the sun, as this could damage their dyes. Not sure? Ask us!

After your rug has dried out in the sunlight, the rug restoration professionals will wash your rug numerous times. Your rug should be washed with a mix of enzyme wash and organic safe for wool/silk shampoo. Generally, a rug that has been in a flood will be washed over and over again until the water and shampoo are both clear. Then, the rug must be dried flat and in the sunlight again.

The next step is to beat your rug. Yes, we’re getting very old-fashioned here! Master cleaners of Persian and Oriental rugs will have a tool called a paroo in their arsenal of cleaning tools. A paroo, which translates to English as “paddle” or “oar”, is a wooden tool used by rug washers.

Paroo for rug
Paroo

It has a straight edge, which must be rubbed against the foundation of the rug in order to release dust, debris, and other particles from the front of your rug. Once your rug has been beat, it will then be lightly vacuumed to ensure that nothing is left on the foundation of the rug. We cannot emphasize the lightly here enough. Do not let your rug survive a flood only to be damaged by a vacuum cleaner. The beating and vacuuming will be repeated until your rug is clean and debris free.

Additional Notes
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, we were able to restore many rugs from there despite being all the way in Dallas. Rugs were dried off and shipped or driven to our location, and we were able to ship the rugs back there. This might be one option if the rug professionals around you are too full to take in new rugs.

If you need an appraisal but are concerned about missing photos, don’t worry. There are still options. For example, we have appraised rugs damaged by fires using family photos were the rug in question was visible. Let us know your situation and we will let you know what options there are.

Again, you are under no obligation to use our services if you call us for advice or even for a free appraisal. We simply want to help you however we can. If you have any questions that have not been answered, don’t be shy! Please call or email us.

Store Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9AM to 5:30PM ask for Ben, Bobby, or Elena
Phone Number: 972.733.0400
Email: behnam@behnamrugs.com

Why is My Pet Marking My Persian Rug?

If you’re reading this blog, chances are, you have a pet that just won’t stop marking your Persian rug. Rest assured- you are not alone. This is actually a fairly common issue among many Persian rug owners. Although we mainly see inappropriate marking occurring among puppies and kittens, adult dogs and cats can also be frequent markers themselves. Let’s find out why.

Why is My Pet Marking My Rug?

Sometimes, the answer to this question is simply the type of rug that you have. Is your rug a tufted rug? Tufted rugs are rugs with a glued on backing to them. They are quite popular due to being less expensive options than hand-knotted or hand-woven Persian and Oriental rugs.

Tufted rugs have a few common issues, though, and one of them is that the glue used to attach the backing to the rug causes many pets to mark the rug. The glue on tufted rugs can come from a variety of sources. It could be a natural or organic type of glue, or it could be a chemical based glue. Both types of glue give off a distinct odor. Although this odor might not be detected by humans so easily, pets can definitely smell it.

Dogs are especially sensitive to the odor that a tufted rug’s glue gives off. The scent confuses them and they may urinate on your rug out of confusion. Although puppies are the main offender here, this behavior occurs in dogs of all ages- not just puppies. Cats can also be confused by this odor. If your pet is constantly urinating or marking your tufted rug, it might be time to replace the rug. Although tufted rugs may seem like an inexpensive option when you purchase them, the amount of cleaning you will end up needing is simply not worth it in the end.

But My Rug Isn’t Tufted!

Your pet may still mark your rug, even if it is not tufted. There are a few reasons for this.

If your pet has marked your rug for quite some time and it has not stopped this behavior, it might be because your pet believes that marking your rug is allowed. Your pet cannot tell the difference between a fine rug and “its spot.” They are one and the same to your pet. It is important to stop your pet from marking your rug as soon as you see signs of this behavior. All pets are different, so there is no universal approach to stopping the behavior. We suggest taking the approach that you normally do when you are teaching your pet right from wrong.

If your pet is normally well trained and has suddenly started marking your rug for no reason at all, there could be a few different causes.

Is your pet marking many surfaces and not just your rug? Your pet could have digestive or urinary tract issues. This is especially common in older dogs and cats. Call your vet and explain what is going on. Let them know that your pet does not normally do this, and this behavior is recent. They will be able to provide you with the proper knowledge on how to approach this situation.

If your pet is only marking your Persian rug, you must approach the situation differently. This is likely not an issue with your pet’s health but with your pet’s behavior. There is a very good chance that your pet was marking the rug without you noticing, and they have been conditioned to believe that is okay. Keep a close eye on your pet and stop them from marking the rug as soon as you see them trying to do so. Alternatively, you can stop your pet from being on your rug at all. Another reason that your pet might only be marking your rug is that there is some sort of odor attached to it that your pet does not agree with- such as the smell of another animal or, as mentioned above, the smell of your pet’s own urine.

How to Get Rid of the Odor

We strongly suggest having your rug cleaned and opting for an enzyme wash. An enzyme wash will break down the odors in your rug, including the odors that make your pet feel that it is okay to mark your rug. You can read more about this process on our odor removal page, or you can call us for more information. There is no obligation to purchase a service if you call us. We understand that you might want to shop around, and sometimes you just want to know how rugs are cleaned in the first place.

For information on how to minimize odors and prevent stains after an accident, check out our blog post, Baking Soda and Persian Rugs: Taking Steps to Minimize Pet Damage to Your Rug.

Making Persian Rugs: Gathering and Dyeing Wool

Just How Handmade Are Persian Rugs?

When we say Persian rugs are handmade, we really mean it! Every part of the traditional Persian rug creation process- shearing the sheep, dyeing the wool, creating the yarn, weaving the fibers, washing and finish the rug, and everything in between- is done by hand. This month’s blog will focus on the first steps in the Persian rug creation process: gathering and dyeing the fibers.

We’ve included photos from both Indian and Iranian artisans in this blog post, as the overall rug making process is quite similar in both countries. We often refer to rugs of certain designs or that are made in the traditional Persian way as “Persian rugs”, even if they are from India, China, or another country that is not Iran.

Gathering the Wool

The Persian rug making process begins with gathering the fibers that will be used in the finished rug. Typically, Persian rugs are made of wool, so we’ll be focusing on the wool gathering and dyeing process. Although you can find rugs made of other materials or blends of other materials with wool, the average Persian rug is 100% wool.

Most Persian rugs are made of sheep wool. Although you can sometimes find rugs made of other types of wool as well, sheep wool is the most desirable. The quality of this wool varies widely, and not all wool is equal. The quality of wool is highly dependent on factors such as the diet of the sheep and the environment where it has lived. Additionally, different areas of sheep have softer or coarser wool. For example, the wool on the belly of a sheep is much softer than the wool found on their backs. This is because the wool on the belly is generally untouched by environmental stressors, like wind and dirt.

Shepherd Shearing Sheep
This shepherd is shearing his sheep. This usually occurs right before the peak summer months. The wool is high in oil content, making it desirable for use in Persian rugs. The sheep also gets a much needed haircut before the heat becomes unbearable.

Once the wool is sheared, it must be washed and spun. You can’t just start weaving with the unfinished wool! The wool is thoroughly washed by hand in large buckets of water. At the end of the day, even the softest wool still needs a good cleaning. The cleaning process removes impurities, such as dirt, small bits of plants, and other things that might find their way into a sheep’s coat. After it has received a nice and thorough washing, the wool can be spun into yarn, which will be used in the actual weaving process. Some rug makers spin their yarn using a spinning wheel, but many rug makers still spin the yarn by hand.

Women in India Spinning Yarn
These women are part of the rug making process in India. They are spinning the wool into yarn using a simple machine which requires a high level of skill to operate.

Dyeing the Wool

Next up is the dyeing process. You might be reading this and thinking that there is no way people still dye the fibers by hand. Think again! People still dye the wool by hand, and the practice is still very much alive in Iran.

Rug dyes fall into two main categories: natural dyes (also known as vegetable dyes) and chemical dyes. Some rugs are made using vegetable dyes, and some rugs are made using chemical dyes. There are pros and cons to both types of dyes. There are also some colors that can only be created using vegetable dyes, while other colors can only be created using chemical dyes.

Vegetable dye produces the traditional colors many rug enthusiasts love, however, it is also very difficult to reproduce these colors using vegetable dye. This is because there is a limited source of materials, and one batch of saffron based dye can look different from another batch due to the inconsistencies between harvests. Compared to chemical dyes, vegetable dyes age beautifully. The colors become more subtle over time as they fade, yet they still retain their initial beauty.

Women Making Vegetable Dye
These women are making dye using vegetables, which you can see behind them. The dye pigment is produced when the vegetables are ground up into a fine powder. Although these women are in India, the dyeing process is just like this in countries such as Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey.

Chemical dyes are far easier to reproduce. All one needs to do to reproduce the exact same color multiple times is to record the exact amount used. They also provide a more uniform look compared to vegetable dyes. Depending on your tastes, this can also be a negative attribute, as many people prefer the imperfect look that natural dyes have.

Man Measuring Out Chrome Dye
This man is measuring out the exact amount of chemical dye he needs in order to reproduce this color multiple times.

Pigments are poured into a dye vat. Next, the dye is mixed in. Once the mixing process is complete, the wool yarn can be added in. The wool is pushed in with a wooden paddle, spun around multiple times, and thoroughly mixed into the batch of dye. This is to ensure that the colors are applied to the wool fibers evenly. The fibers should be saturated in color with no blotchy areas or undyed spots.

Dye Being Poured Into a Vat
In Iran, this artisan is pouring the dye pigments into a vat. The pigment will be mixed with water, and then the wool can be dyed.

Once the fibers have been dyed, they are laid out to dry. After the drying process, the yarn is brushed thoroughly to remove any tangles and knots. Once that step is complete, the yarn is ready to become a Persian rug.

Wool Fibers Drying After Being Dyed
This wool yarn is drying off after being dyed. Click the image to view more photographs of the dyeing process from an Iranian wool dyeing company.

Preventing and Fighting Moths Living in Your Persian and Oriental Rugs

Preventing and Fighting Moths Living in Your Persian and Oriental Rugs

Moths will eat anything, and your rug is no exception. Moths are one of the worst enemies of any fine rug, especially older and antique rugs. You should be especially aware of the cloth moth, as this is the type of moth that would love to feast on your priceless heirloom.

persian rug lovers: the casemaking moth and the webbing moth
Two different types of cloth moth to watch out for in your Persian Rug: the casemaking moth and the webbing moth.

Why Are Moths in My Home? How Did Moths Make Their Way into My Home?

You might think that your house is moth free and your rugs are safe and sound, but moths are always looking for ways to enter your home. Moths can enter your home easily and be undetected as they do so. Mail, pets, open doors, and moving items in and out of warehouses and storage are just some of the ways that moths can enter your home. To moths, your home is a paradise. It provides shelter from predators, an excellent source of food, and many nesting spots. Once moths enter your home, they can lay anywhere from 30 to 200 eggs per month. Those eggs will eventually grow up to become adult moths, and they will also lay 30 to 200 more eggs every month. A moth problem can easily become a moth disaster for your rugs and the rest of your home.

How to Indicate Moth Presence in Your Home

As we enter moth season, it is important to take some time to check your home for moths. Frequent moth checks are the best way to prevent a large moth damage problem from taking over your home, and checking for moths is simple. One of the easiest methods to indicate whether or not your home has moths is by using a moth trap. Make sure the trap you are using is for cloth moths and not another type of moth.

cloth moth trap to indicate moth presence in your home
A cloth moth pheromone trap will help you indicate whether or not you have moths in your home.

These traps work by emitting a pheromone which attracts male moths into the sticky bottom layer. The male moths are trapped and prevented from reproducing. Do note that moth traps are only an effective way to indicate that moths are in your home. They are not an effective way of getting rid of moths, should you find any.

How to Prevent Moths If Your Home is Moth Free

If your home is moth free, it is important to make sure that your home stays that way. The best way to prevent moth infestations is to constantly be monitoring. Moths can enter your home with no warning. A harmless box from a warehouse could actually be carrying eggs.

Moths reproduce at a rapid rate, and they eat and damage your belongings at a rapid rate, too! To prevent moths from doing thousands of damage to your rugs, you may consider keeping a moth trap in your home throughout the year.

fine handmade persian rug with extensive moth damage
A fine handmade rug can take a lot of damage from moths in just a short amount of time.

Many fine rugs are made of natural fibers, such as wool, which over time lose their natural oily properties and become drier, making them easier for moths to eat than a new rug. Although you can do nothing about the age of your rug, you can prevent your antique rug from becoming a moth’s next meal by regularly cleaning it. A clean rug will not be nearly as appetizing.

You should also regularly vacuum your rugs- and not just the visible areas. Moth eggs love to hide in dark, damp, and quiet spaces with little to no air circulation. This means that areas under your china cabinet, your sofa, and even the underside of your rug are all the perfect spots for eggs to grow. Be proactive and clean these areas regularly. You should also rotate your rug at least once a year. On top of preventing moth growth, rotating your rug will also help in distributing the amount of traffic your rug receives on different areas.

If you are taking an extended vacation, make sure that your rugs are stored properly. Make sure your home is dry and has proper air movement during your time away. When you return, make sure to vacuum and clean your home thoroughly. Your time away is the perfect time for moths to play.

Remember, proper rug protection is one of your responsibilities as a rug owner. When you put in the extra time to keep your rug in good shape now, you are actually saving yourself from weeks to months (sometimes even years!) of headache in the future.

How to Remove Moths If Your Home Has Moths

If you have moths in your home, you should act immediately. Rugs can easily do thousands of dollars of damage to your rug. A $50,000 rug can easily receive $30,000 worth of damage.

First, vacuum your house thoroughly. You will want to vacuum both the front and back of all of your rugs. Make sure you vacuum areas underneath furniture and behind your curtains as well. Take your rugs and place them in an area where they can receive direct sunlight. The ultraviolet rays will work quickly to kill any eggs that are still hiding in your rug. Don’t forget- the backside of your rug needs to be placed in direct sunlight, too.

If you have access to a leaf blower, use one to blast air in areas where moths nest. This includes under your furniture, in the corners of your closets, behind your curtains, and any other dark and quiet areas.

Your next step will be to sanitize and wash your rug- bring your rug in for a professional cleaning. At Behnam Rugs, we can determine the amount of damage done to your rug and what steps should be taken next. Small areas can often be rewoven at a cost that would be far lower than replacement. Large areas can be shaved and sheared to minimize how obvious the damage to your rug is.

natural cleaning methods kill moths not rugs
The professionals at Behnam Rugs will sanitize your rug the natural way. Kill moths without damaging your rug.

Even if the foundation of your rug has been damaged by moths, there are still options. Behnam Rugs can permanently dye your rug to minimize how obvious any damage is. The moth damaged areas will be hidden by the dye.

In severe situations, your rug may require a large amount of reweaving. Reweaving is generally a more expensive repair option, and the cost can be very high when reweaving is required on a larger area. In these situations, your rug may need to be sent to a country such as Turkey or Iran for the reweaving job to be completed. This process can be time consuming and costly. Remember to constantly check your home for moths in order to prevent this sort of hassle.

Can I Chemically Treat My Rug?

Behnam Rugs does not recommend chemically treating your rug, be it for moth proofing or moth extermination. Harsh chemicals can damage your rug, and they can also hurt you. Your rug lives with you, whether it is on your floor, your wall, or your stairs. You and your family constantly interact with your rugs. Behnam Rugs prefers natural prevention methods and restoration methods.

More Questions?

If you have any further questions on moths and how they can affect your rugs, please feel free to call Behnam Rugs at 972-733-0400 or visit us during our store hours. Behnam Rugs has over 39 years of experience with rugs and rug repairs, and our rug experts would love to help you.

What Exactly Are Transitional Rugs?

transitional-rugs-what-you-need-to-know

Last Updated: 19 August 2017

What Does Transitional Even Mean?

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “transitional” used before when browsing for a new rug. You might be wondering what that term even means. Maybe you’ve asked yourself, “Isn’t transitional the same thing as contemporary?” The answer to that question? Not quite, but you’re on the right track!

Transitional rugs are a blend between contemporary (modern) styles and traditional styles. A contemporary rug might feature bold colors and patterns that you would never even imagine on a traditional rug. A transitional rug might feature those same bold colors but use a traditional pattern instead. That traditional pattern might be simplified and made more “up-to-date” by removing the border or adding a chic trim.

Should I Buy a Transitional Rug?

Transitional rugs are quickly becoming quite stylish, and because of this, the demand for transitional rugs has increased. Now you might be wondering if transitional rugs are a good investment, like traditional rugs tend to be. At Behnam Rugs, we believe that every rug is a good investment as long as it makes you happy. After all, there’s no point in hanging even a priceless antique rug in your home if you don’t actually like it!

Value wise, transitional rugs are currently a good investment. Do keep in mind that styles come and go, however, so while your rug might hold its value for the next year or so, no one can say what the design trends after that will be. We never suggest buying a rug based on what it might end up being worth simply because trends are often unpredictable.

What Types of Rugs are Currently Popular?

Currently, pastel colors like powder blue, champagne, and rose gold are popular. Subtle, muted neutrals like beige and grey have been popular for some time now, too. Colors mainly associated with tribal rugs, such as various shades of brown and orange, faded blue, and red are picking up in popularity.

Design wise, we are noticing many people opting for what we would describe as “traditional-esque” patterns. These are generic ornate and floral patterns that have no distinct origin. For example, you would not be able to call the design a Tabriz floral pattern. Understated patterns are popular, too, as they add to the overall vibe of a room without overpowering other elements.

More Questions? Ready to See Some Transitional Rugs?

If you have any further questions on transitional rugs, please feel free to call Behnam Rugs at 972-733-0400 or visit us during our store hours. With over 39 years of experience, you know you can count on the experts at Behnam Rugs to help you find the perfect rug. Check out our rug request form if you know exactly what kind of rug you’re looking for.

Here are just a few of the transitional rugs you can find in our showroom! Check out our Instagram for even more photos of our rugs.