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.

Rug Cleaning: Viscose Rayon

Folded rug on a tableRug Cleaning: Viscose Rayon

Most rugs are made of either wool, silk, wool and silk, cotton, nylon, or viscose rayon. Wool rugs can last for centuries, as can silk rugs and wool and silk rugs. Cotton rugs can last around 100 years. Nylon rugs and carpeting last almost 10 years. Lastly, viscose rayon can last between three and 10 years. If your viscose rug receives almost any amount of foot traffic and wear, expect it to last closer to three years.

If you’ve bought a machine made rug before, chances are you are familiar with viscose rayon. Even if you aren’t, viscose rayon is used in paper towels, kitchen sponges, diaper liners, and more. Though it is good for cleaning products, it is not an ideal fiber for rugs as they are exposed to foot traffic, moisture, spills, pet accidents, and dirt.

So, what exactly is viscose rayon? It is a fiber created out of regenerated cellulose. The plant pulp is heavily processed to impart shine. Also known as artificial or “art” silk, viscose rayon is often referred to by names which make the consumer believe they are being sold real silk. However, in actuality, they have been sold a rug made of what is essentially disposable paper. And it’s being sold at real silk prices!

It is not uncommon for customers to bring their brand new “silk” rug to Behnam Rugs for cleaning or appraisal. Unfortunately, when shopping abroad, many consumers are sold viscose rayon rugs and are told their rug is real silk. In particular, the individuals most likely to be tricked are visiting Turkey, China, or India, often as part of a cruise. By the time they are able to get a second opinion on these “real silk” rugs, it is too late and they have no way to get their money back. That’s why we recommend reading our blog about rug shopping abroad before purchasing a rug in a foreign country.

The best way to get reliable feedback about a rug’s materials and construction is to ask a rug cleaner. They are the one resource consumers can trust because they are not being paid commission for a sale and they have cleaned viscose rayon and know about its benefits and drawbacks. When it comes to silk fiber, consumers must be educated before making a purchase. Educate yourself by reading our blog about buying fine silk rugs.

Let’s discuss the viscose rayon creation process. Most commonly made in developing countries, viscose rayon is derived from cellulose. This material is liquefied in a chemical mixture which makes a substance that can be spun into fibers and then into thread. The thread is then woven to create the rug, usually by machine, as handmade rugs are typically made of wool or silk.

Something important to note is that Carbon Disulfide is used in the production process. The highly toxic nature of this compound and the risk of poisoning has caused concerns for worker safety. Improved technology has lowered the risks of working with this chemical and reduced the emissions of sulfur to air. However, the production process is still far from ideal. In fact, the production process is so toxic it’s banned in the U.S.

While viscose rayon is biodegradable, which is a positive trait, the production process is so wasteful it negates the eco-friendly biodegradable aspect. So while you will have purchased a rug that will degrade once you throw it out after a few years and professional cleanings, it’s not really better than a wool rug that will need far fewer cleanings and last over 100 years.

Consumers are being told lies and half-truths about viscose rayon. These claims include the following:

“Viscose rayon is a luxury material.”

While it is true that these rugs have a distinct appearance and feel, their sumptuousness quickly fades from everyday wear. They need regular grooming and are rapidly affected by foot traffic and minor soiling. They show each and every footprint. In very little time, the fibers lose color, sheen, and quality. Attempts to clean this material are often unsuccessful. Though these rugs may at first seem luxurious, you will begin thinking about a replacement within a few years. Essentially, viscose rugs are highly priced disposables. Many consumers are not informed or aware that these rugs last for only a few years before needing a replacement.

“Viscose rayon is simple to maintain.”

This is just not true. Because viscose rayon is made of regenerated cellulose, it cannot hide soil. Dirt from foot traffic and general dust in the home permeates the fibers, causing graying. In addition, foot traffic can cause shedding and breakage quite quickly. Small amounts of moisture from spills cause yellowing. Even a minor water spill can cause a permanent yellow stain and fiber damage. Cleaning up the spill only makes the soiling more obvious. Instead of spot cleaning yourself, trust the professionals to remove any spills or stains to avoid yellowing. Vacuuming can also damage the fibers and cause sprouting. Due to all of this, viscose rayon rugs require professional cleaning much more often than rugs made of other fibers. This is an added expense most consumers aren’t aware of or prepared for. Viscose rayon begins to look dirty quicker than any other rug material. In addition, folding these rugs for shipping or moving can cause unsightly and likely permanent creasing, crushing, and more.

“It’s good for the environment.”

While these rugs are indeed biodegradable, you are now aware that the creation process is toxic, wasteful, and dangerous. In addition, the rug will require many professional cleanings. A wool or silk rug that can last for centuries is a better choice, as viscose rayon rugs need to be replaced about every five years or so, increasing demand for these rugs and thus increasing the output of the far from ideal production process. This production process has been improved with newer technology but it is still quite harmful to the environment.

If you have purchased a viscose rayon rug, it is likely in need of professional cleaning. Make sure you work with a company that specializes in washing viscose rayon, like Behnam Rugs. We have been working with this fiber, as well as nylon, wool, silk, and cotton for over 40 years. Call 972-733-0400 to schedule professional hand washing.

Consider browsing our showroom for a replacement, as your viscose rayon rug will only last a few years. We carry thousands of handmade rugs constructed of materials that are much more ethically sourced and long-lasting than viscose rayon.

If you have purchased a viscose rug, place it somewhere it will not be walked on that is a low risk area for spills and stains. Consider using it as a wall hanging to maximize its lifespan. Now that you know the drawbacks to viscose rayon, we hope you feel more well-informed about the rug buying process. We highly recommend all new viscose silk rugs be sealed by a professional to protect them from spots and stains.

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.

How to Pack a Rug for Shipping, Storage, or Transport

How to Pack a Rug for Shipping, Storage, or Transport

How to Ship a Rug

Often it is necessary, whether due to lifestyle changes or a move, to pack a rug and prepare it for shipping, storage, or transport. However, packing a rug is not something that should be done without proper preparation. Improperly packing a rug can destroy its integrity, resulting in permanent creases, dry, brittle fibers, as well as texture changes and color runs.

If you need to pack a rug, make sure to read this blog and watch the included YouTube video, as that will ensure you treat your rug with the respect it deserves to remain in pristine condition.

Not all rugs are the same, and the size, material, origin, and style of your rug should influence the way you prepare it for transport. There is a certain way to fold or roll your rug to preserve the integrity of its construction.

Let’s discuss the first reason you may need to pack your rug.

Storage

For whatever reason, you have decided to place your rug in storage. That means you need to prep your rug for an extended stay. It is best to store a clean rug, therefore you should seriously consider having your rug professionally cleaned by experts in traditional hand washing methods such as Behnam Rugs. If you elect not to wash your rug, thoroughly vacuum the face and back of the rug. If the rug is handmade, do not use the beater brush extension. In addition, you can sweep the rug as well. Find out how to vacuum your rug properly.

Rolling is the best method to prep a rug for storage, as it works for rugs of any size, quality, and material. Always roll your rug from the fringed ends, do not roll from side binding to side binding. In order to roll your rug, you need to go against the nap. Use your hand to determine the direction of the nap. When the nap goes in the direction your hand is rubbing, that is the direction you roll opposite of. So, if you stroke the rug towards yourself and you can tell that your hand is rubbing with the grain of the rug, you want to roll the rug starting from that side. Rolling against the nap ensures that no wrinkles or crushing occurs. We know this can be confusing to understand, so we have included a visual in the video below.

If the width of the rug is wider than the storage area, you will need to fold it carefully. There are two methods of folding your rug- the one fold roll and the two fold roll. We have recorded the proper execution of these folding methods in the video above.

These methods affect the width, height, and girth of the rug once done. After you roll or fold and roll your rug, you need to wrap it up to prevent mice and moths from damaging it. Always use a breathable fabric, such as muslin, cotton, or a bed-sheet. Why? Wool contains organic materials such as proteins and oils that need oxygen. Without oxygen, wool becomes dry and brittle.

Never wrap your rug in paper or plastic for long-term storage. Paper deteriorates, leaving a feast for moths and mice. Plastic can cause moisture to accumulate, resulting in color runs or texture changes.

Always store your rug in a climate-controlled facility. Temperature variation, in garages and attics for example, is bad for most rugs in storage. The storage room should be dry, with good air circulation, clean, and secure so that insects and mice can’t get in. Common pests that damage rugs in storage include cloth moths, carpet beetles, mice, and carpenter ants. Make sure to store the rug a foot or more above the ground to make it harder for pests and flooding to reach it.

If you have decided to place your rug in storage, you may want to use moth balls to repel destructive moths. We do not recommend using moth balls on your rug in your home. If you use moth balls, be sure to air the rug out in the sun for several days to get rid of the odor before bringing the rug home. Note that this odor is quite stubborn and that your rug may require professional hand washing with an enzyme rinse to get rid of the smell if you do decide to use moth balls.

Shipping

Perhaps you are moving and need to ship your rug to a family member or friend. If you are shipping your rug via mail carrier, you will need to follow their instructions. Luckily, we have included FedEx and UPS’ shipping parameters for rugs so that you can prepare the rug for shipping.

With FedEx Express® U.S. services, you can ship packages up to 150 lbs.; up to 119″ in length and 165″ in length and girth. With FedEx Ground® services, you can ship packages up to 150 lbs.; up to 108″ in length and 165″ in length plus girth. UPS packages can be up to 150 pounds, and 165 inches in length and girth combined (girth = 2 x width plus 2 x height). Size and weight determines shipping costs. We recommend FedEx Ground services as the cheapest option.

Roll the rug and secure it with rope or tape. If the rug is 6 x 9 or larger, you will need to employ one of the fold and roll techniques. Once the rug is rolled, wrap it in durable plastic and leave about 8 inches at each end. Secure the ends with zip ties. Wrapping your rug in plastic protects it from any liquid spills that soak through the box.

All dry rugs contain moisture, so you never want to leave your rug wrapped in plastic for more than a month. Why? The moisture that is trapped in your rug can cause long-term color and texture changes after being wrapped in plastic for more than a month.

If you are shipping a rug that weighs more than 150 pounds, you will need to hire a freight or trucking company. To find one to work with, search Google for a company in your area that transports items to the final location where the rug will go. This brings us to the last reason you may need to pack your rug.

Transport

If you are working with a moving company, make sure your rug is properly rolled and wrapped. Label each rug with the size and location you will use it in, such as the dining room, to make unpacking simpler. Do not place it at the bottom of the truck with heavy items placed on top of it. Always put your rugs on top when using a moving van.

When you lift your rug for transport, lift from both ends. Lifting the rug in the middle creates tension that puts undue pressure on the fibers and causes creasing that can be permanent. If you aren’t lifting the rug yourself, let the movers know to pick up the rug at both ends. If the rug is 6 x 9 or smaller, you may be able to roll it and fit it inside your SUV. For larger rugs, or smaller cars, you will need to employ one of the roll and fold methods.