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.

 

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.

Water Damage on Your Rugs

Damaged rugHow to Clean a Water Damaged Rug

This blog is all about rescuing rugs affected by hail damage, roof damage, water leaks, flash flooding, broken skylights, and more. Behnam Rugs is here to help.

Before Behnam Rugs can pick up your rugs to clean and sanitize them, there are a few steps you can take to minimize any damage.

1. Carefully remove debris from your rugs. We cannot stress the emphasis on carefully enough! There could be tiny pieces of glass in your rug, and you won’t find out until you step on one. Wear protective shoes while removing debris. Remove what you can, but please do not hurt yourself trying to do more than that. Wearing gloves while removing debris can make the process a bit safer.
2. If your rug is wet or even partially wet, dry it by using a towel to absorb excess water. If you have access to a water extractor, you may consider using it. If you are not 100% sure on how to operate a water extractor, it’s best to not do anything with it at all, however.
3. Use a fan to dry your rugs if there is even a chance that your rug may be wet. Do not use a hair dryer or anything that uses heat to dry. This will harm your rug. Dehumidifiers can help as well.
4. If your rug is in an area that could receive run-off water, remove it from the area immediately. Run-off water could potentially contain chemicals that will damage your rug and permanently change its color.

Taking these steps will prevent color runs and bleeding, as well as damage to the rug’s fibers and dyes.

If your rug is already showing signs of color bleeding, worry not! Behnam rugs specializes in fixing color bleeding in rugs. Call us at 972-733-0400. We can also restore the pile of your rug and restore antique rugs if these are services you need, too. If your rug has been damaged, contact Behnam Rugs as soon as possible. The sooner you tackle a rug problem, the better the results will be, especially when you’re dealing with water damage. Remember, if you let your rug sit in water for more than 24 hours, there is a high chance of mold occurring. Mold can be dangerous to you as well as extremely harmful to your rug.

If you are not able to return to your rugs or if they have been damaged beyond repair (or totaled- your rug can be totaled just like a car!), contact us at 972-733-0400. and we will prepare an appraisal for insurance purposes. As long as you have some photographs of your rug and records of the sale or records of what kind of rug you had, we can make an appraisal for you. Talk to your insurance provider to see if the cost of your rug or rug restoration can be covered.