Oushak Rugs: Design Influences, History, and Rug Care

Oushak rugOushak Rugs: Design Influences, History, and Rug Care

Oushak, or Ushak, rugs are beautiful works of art that originated in the small town of Oushak, Turkey near the beginning of the Ottoman Empire. These rugs are most often purchased as antiques or antique reproductions.

Nomadic rugs, Oushak rugs feature a blend of Persian and geometric stylistic influences. These rugs typically are made of wool and have a characteristically loose weave that is the result of coarser knotting. These rugs feature stunning colors such as apple green, teal, gold, pumpkin, peach, and orange. They are known for their distinct color palette- Oushak rugs are famous for bright colors and primitive, simple geometric designs.

Often, these rugs display a central medallion or smaller medallions all over the body of the rug. They might even have vines or stars scrolling along the face. Nowadays, Oushak rugs are highly sought after and excellent for modern and traditional interior design schemes.

The history of Oushak rugs begins in the 15th century in Anatolia or Turkey. During the Ottoman Empire, the city of Oushak became a major rug manufacturing center. The design of the rug reflects the values of the period in which it was woven.

The rugs that were created from the 15th to 18th century in this style are now highly desired by collectors and museums. The other rugs of that time period were typically woven in dark blues and reds, which is what really makes Oushak rugs stand out- the use of unconventional colors is part of their charm and elegance. Oushak carpets are the most prominent design from Turkey and were quite popular until the end of the 18th century.

The rugs that continued to be made after this period were typically manufactured for the upper class in Eastern Europe, as most consumers were more interested in rugs of European origin. Then, in the late 19th century, the European market became interested in Persian rugs and they were sought after again. It was harder to find weavers of Oushak rugs when they became popular again in the 19th century due to the limited number of weavers familiar with the style. The Oushak economy had become a niche market because the style of weaving had not been passed down as it was no longer a viable way to make a living.

Luckily, when the designs became sought after once more, the market began to expand again, which is why you can still purchase Oushak rugs today. Nowadays, reproduction Oushak rugs are made in Turkey, India, and Pakistan. This rejuvenation of the Oushak economy resulted in a change in design- the rugs began to feature floral patterns.

Due to the fact that most Oushak rugs are woven very loosely with a low knot count, they do not possess the longevity of Persian rugs. Older Oushak rugs need special, constant care and repair maintenance. This should be done by professionals in the rug repair industry. Never vacuum an Oushak rug with the beater brush extension.

Rug Cleaning Advice from a Specialist

Man standing in front of rugs

Rug Cleaning Advice from a Specialist

This blog will give you the tools you need to effectively care for your rug at home.

Things you SHOULD be doing

  • Sweeping your rug
  • Gently vacuuming
  • Rotating your rug
  • Padding your rug
  • Addressing spills and stains immediately
  • Checking your rug for moths
  • Inspecting your rug every year for damage
  • Getting your rug professionally cleaned every 3 to 5 years

Things you SHOULDN’T be doing

  • Vacuuming your rug with the beater brush
  • Vacuuming the fringes of your rug
  • Letting stains set into your rug
  • Using your rug with no padding
  • Storing your rug in dark, quiet places without checking on it periodically for moths
  • Leaving your rug in the same place for years
  • Allowing direct sunlight to hit your rug all day for extended periods of time
  • Using carpet cleaning solutions on your rug
  • Allowing carpet cleaners or inexperienced individuals to¬† clean your rug

In-depth breakdown of the SHOULDs:

Sweeping your rug improves its health by loosening dust and debris from the pile and top of your rug. Sweep in the direction of the pile. You can ascertain this by running your hand over the rug: sweep in the direction of the grain.

If you have a handmade rug, it’s okay to vacuum it every week or so, but only if you don’t use the beater brush.

Rotate your rug every six months to a year to allow for even wear and a smaller likelihood of threadbare patches.

If you spill something on your fine, handmade rug, address it immediately. Use a towel to blot up excess liquid and a bit of water to dilute the stain. Call the experts at Behnam Rugs and ask us the best way to remove your specific stain at 972-733-0400.

Make sure to check your rug for moths, eggs, and larva every six months or so by lifting the edges of the rug and checking underneath. Make sure to check areas that lay underneath furniture as well.

Next, you need to inspect your rug every year or so. If you spot any damage, it’s better to repair your rug sooner rather than later, as damage tends to get worse with time.

Finally, your rug MUST be professionally cleaned at least every five years. Why? Because professional cleaning removes debris and dirt that your vacuum simply cannot reach. If left untended, these particulates effectively cut through the pile of your rug due to their sharp edges, resulting in thinning and patchy spots. In addition, professional cleaning removes allergens, and odors that you may be nose-blind to, as well as tough, unsightly stains. If you love your rug, it deserves regular professional cleaning to extend its longevity.

For more information on how to clean your rug at home, please read our article published in the Dallas Morning News.

In-depth breakdown of the SHOULDN’Ts

Never, ever, ever vacuum a handmade rug with the beater brush. This attachment is too rough on the natural fibers and can cause unraveling and sprouting. Sprouting causes white knot heads to be visible on the face of your rug due to pulling. When vacuuming, leave the fringes alone. Gently sweep them to get rid of dirt instead of vacuuming.

Next, always address spills and stains immediately. Not doing so allows it to set, making it hard to remove yourself. Professionals can usually remove tough stains, but ideally if you get to the stain quickly you can get rid of it yourself.

The next mistake is not using rug padding. Padding is an inexpensive way to extend the life of your rug. Not to mention an unpadded rug is a safety hazard. Without padding your rug will experience more pressure than it should, especially underneath furniture. This can lead to permanent indentations in the shape of said furniture.

Next, you don’t want to leave your rug in a dark, quiet place for months or years without checking it for moths. Moths love spaces like these and their larva can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time in the right conditions. That’s why it’s so important to check the front and back of the rug for moths, eggs, and larva.

It is also important to rotate your rug so that the rug experiences wear evenly. This will prevent the rug from wearing out as fast.

If you have a fine rug, you probably want to display it in a room with good lighting. However, you should be careful about the amount of direct sunlight your rug receives. Ideally, you should place your rug in a room with curtains or blinds so that when you are not showing your rug off it’s not experiencing bright natural light. Sunlight can fade your rug after extended periods of time.

Next, NEVER use carpet cleaners on a wool, silk, or cotton rug that is handmade.

And lastly, do not trust your handmade rug to individuals who do not specialize in rug washing, such as carpet cleaners or inexperienced individuals. Only entrust your rug to the care of those with decades of experience washing fine rugs BY HAND.

Threadbare Rugs: Moths, Vacuuming, and General Wear

Threadbare rug

Threadbare Rugs: Moths, Vacuuming, and General Wear

So, you’ve noticed your rug is looking a bit threadbare, but you don’t know what the culprit is. Lucky for you, we’ve written this blog so you can identify the cause of damage and act accordingly.

The first cause of threadbare patches is moths.

The moths themselves don’t actually do this damage, it’s really their ravenous larvae. These pests can cause massive amounts of damage. First look on the underside of your rug for larvae. The larvae look like fuzzy yarn or patches of webbing. If you spot what looks like grains of rice, those are eggs- a very bad sign. Next, look for divots in the wool pile that look like holes or white spots. These divots may be small or there may be large threadbare patches depending on if your rug is pure wool or wool mixed with another fiber that moths don’t like as much. Wool rugs are moths’ favorite material to eat. It’s important to have your rug professionally cleaned if you spot moth damage. Make sure to check on rugs that lay in dark places, as these are moths’ favorite breeding grounds. If part of a rug lays under furniture, move it when you check for moths as the pests are most likely to be hiding there. Moths like quiet, dark places with low air circulation and plenty of wool to eat.

The next cause of threadbare rugs is vacuuming.

Improper vacuuming is very harmful to fine rugs, especially the fringes. Most rugs should NOT be vacuumed with the beater brush, especially if they are handmade. If you have been vacuuming a handmade rug with the beater brush, STOP! You may have already caused damage to your rug. So what does vacuum damage look like? Vacuum damage typically causes sprouting, which is when the knot heads become visible after being pulled. The knot heads will appear as little white dots or freckles across the face of your rug. Vacuuming can also cause serious shedding that leaves you with threadbare or thinning patches. In addition, if your fringes look ragged, you can blame vacuuming with the beater brush. Avoid the fringes when vacuuming. If your rug has been damaged by heavy vacuuming, it may be salvageable. Bring it to the experienced professionals at Behnam Rugs for an evaluation to find out if the damage can be reversed or minimized.

Finally, some rugs become threadbare after general wear and tear.

Maybe the rug has been in the family for generations, or it’s in a high traffic area like an entryway. If you have a very fine rug, make sure you are not placing it in an area where it will be constantly trod on. One way to alleviate some of the wear on your rug is to rotate it once a year. This will prevent threadbare patches to some degree. Another issue is not using rug padding. Choosing not to use padding will shorten the life of your rug and result in threadbare patches in areas of stress. In addition, furniture that rests on top of the rug for extended periods of time can wear your rug. Placing coasters under the rug in the spots where furniture rests can relieve tension and make it less likely that the furniture exerts pressure that will damage the rug. Finally, two main causes of threadbare patches are that the rug is not professionally washed every 4 to 5 years, or the rug has been cleaned by carpet cleaners. Never entrust your rug to a carpet cleaner- they will damage it! When it comes to fine, handmade rug cleaning, experience matters. Trust the professionals at Behnam Rugs, we have generations of knowledge, expertise, and care.

How to Vacuum Your Rug

Vacuum Cleaning Rug

How to Vacuum Your Rug

How to vacuum your rug depends on the material and construction of your rug. Flat weaves, handmade rugs, tufted rugs, and machine-made rugs all require different vacuum techniques, as do silk, cotton, wool, viscose, and synthetic fibers. If you learn anything from this article, let it be this: Never vacuum your rug before knowing its construction, material, and how heavy vacuuming will affect it! Know your rug and know your vacuum cleaner to see if they are a good match. Remember, cleaning and janitorial services that offer to clean fine rugs use industrial-grade vacuum cleaners which damage rugs easily in a short time.

So, how can you vacuum your rug safely? Read on to find out…

How to Vacuum Flat Weave Rugs

Flat weave rugs are reversible due to the nature of their construction, and thinner than traditional rugs. For flat weaves, you want to use a vacuum with enough suction to lift dirt, but not so strong as to do damage. This means you should NOT use the beater brush. A brush-less vacuum is the way to go- leave the upright vacuum in the closet. In addition, use your hand to determine the direction of the weave. Do your best to vacuum in the direction of the weave- not against the grain. Be careful with the fringe as well.

How to Vacuum Handmade Rugs

When it comes to handmade rugs, you must consider the fibers it’s made of. To be safe, DO NOT use the beater brush unless you have spoken to a professional first. Call the experts at Behnam Rugs for advice at 972-733-0400.

How to Vacuum Tufted Rugs

Tufted rugs are simpler and faster to make than most other constructions. Most tufted rugs are of lower quality, though there are some that use high quality wool or even silk. These rugs are more likely to shed than other constructions. The problem with this is that sometimes the wool is so processed that it breaks easily, and vacuuming can make this worse. Therefore, it’s safer NOT to use the beater brush. Another option is to use the upholstery attachment in the direction of the pile.

How to Vacuum Machine-Made Rugs

Machine-made rugs are generally sturdier than handmade. This means that it is okay to use the beater brush, as long as the rug is not made of real silk or any other natural fiber. Avoid vacuuming the fringes with the beater bar though.

How to Vacuum Silk

Silk is the most delicate of rug materials. While silk rugs can benefit from vacuuming, you have to be careful. NEVER use the beater brush and vacuum in the direction of the pile. If you use the beater brush on a silk rug, you are likely to cause unsightly sprouting. Sprouting occurs when the yarns that make up the pile are pulled, resulting in white heads coming to the top of the rug where they are visible. When this happens, you need a professional to fix it.

How to Vacuum Cotton

Like silk, cotton is delicate. It’s better to vacuum without the beater brush.

How to Vacuum Wool

Wool rugs are generally the strongest of handmade rugs, they don’t shed easily. Because of this, you do not want to vacuum with the beater brush. Some people believe vacuuming wool rugs with the beater brush is okay, and helps minimize shedding. In reality, you are breaking off fibers that were not ready to shed, which can lead to sprouting and bald patches.

How to Vacuum Viscose or Artificial Silk

Viscose silk is quite delicate and breakable. Beater bar vacuums can exacerbate breakage, so use suction only for these rugs.

How to Vacuum Most Other Synthetic Fibers

Vacuums are great for lifting dirt from most synthetic fibers, such as polypropylene and nylon, and you can even use the beater brush! Call the experts at Behnam Rugs and let them know the exact fiber before vacuuming to be safe.

Always protect the fringes and side binding of your rug. The safest way to clean your rug is not to vacuum at all, and to instead use a sturdy, yet simple straw broom. Sweeping can improve the health of your rug.

Rug Patching: Water Damaged Rugs

Damaged rug repairSaving Water Damaged Rugs by Patching

Rugs are timeless pieces of art that can transform an ordinary living space into the extraordinary. Sadly, rugs are not indestructible, and there are a variety of ways you can damage, or even ruin, your fine handmade rug. The most common causes of water damage are bath overflows, broken pipes, broken water heaters, broken hoses in your washer or dryer, dishwasher leaks, overflown swimming pools, broken sprinklers, and roof damage.

In this blog we will address another cause of water damage: potted plants.

Recently, a customer brought a rug in to Behnam Rugs in need of expensive repairs. The cause? Placing a potted plant over the rug for years. You should never place a potted plant on a rug. The proximity to water is just asking for trouble. Even without over watering, the moisture from the plant can cause mold and mildew which instigates the rotting process.

Mildew begins growing after the rug is wet four to five days. Even worse, over watering your plant wets the rug directly, accelerating the growth of mildew which eats through the rug. A wet rug will gradually disintegrate.

Do not be fooled and believe that a saucer under a pot will prevent your rug from getting wet. Water finds a way. In addition, the dampness can also result in a foul smell that many homeowners go nose-blind to, consequently guests notice a bad odor and the homeowner is often unaware. Dry rot from a potted plant can also cause color runs. These are hard to fix.

For this customer, years of over watering created a hole that was quite large. Though the rug was an antique, it did not make sense to spend thousands of dollars to reweave the rug. The solution the customer choose was instead to patch the rug for a fraction of the cost of reweaving.

Patching the rug requires a donor rug, and while it can be hard to find a close match, it is generally much more affordable in terms of repairing the damage. Luckily for this customer, Behnam Rugs was able to find a suitable donor rug and the damage is now almost unnoticeable. However, finding the perfect donor rug is not an easy process, and often times the donor rug patch is more obviously visible to the naked eye than was the case for this customer. This is why it’s better to avoid this problem altogether by not placing a potted plant on top of, or even near to a fine rug you want to last a lifetime.

At Behnam Rugs, we have a large room we call the Patch Bank. Within this room, hundreds of rugs of all sizes have damage beyond repair. We have collected them over 40 years to use for patching, chair covers, and pillows. Our extensive collection has saved many rugs in need of patching and customers lots of repair costs.

If you own a rug that has been sitting underneath a potted plant, remove the plant immediately and check the area for dampness and damage such as the foundation cracking. If you notice either of these, bring your rug to the experts at Behnam Rugs ASAP. Your rug can be restored. And in the future, keep your potted plants on hard, non-porous surfaces only!