White Spots, Knot Heads, and Threadbare Rug Repair

knot heads visible on threadbare rug

What are the white spots on my rug?

Customer:

As my rug has gotten older I have noticed white spots on it. I have not used any chemicals on my rug so I don’t know why there are tiny white spots on it.

Rug Expert:

Here at Behnam Rugs we often hear rug owners ask about white spots on their rugs. We make sure before we pick up their rug for washing that we evaluate each rug and inform the customer there might be more after a good professional washing.

Mr. Ben “Behnam” Tavakolian of Behnam Rugs says:

There are two kinds of white spots that show up on your hand made rugs.

  1. Knot Heads
  2. Threadbare Spots
  • What is a knot head?
  • Do all rugs have knot heads?
  • Where are knot heads found on a rug?

 Knot heads happen naturally during the weaving process of a rug. The weaver pulls on the warp to make a knot with the wool to create the pile of the rug. Tension is needed to make the warp thread and sometimes the fiber will break. The wool or cotton thread will then need to be extended and this is where the new piece creates the imperfection. Each broken warp will be secured with two knot heads. The size of the head will depend on the size of warp and cotton yarn and density of the rug.

Where are the knot heads found?

Knot heads are found in all handmade rugs. Generally the weaver will hide the knot heads between the pile of the rug by using a combing hammer to comb down the pile of the rug to keep knot heads from being exposed on the surface.

Seeing knot heads is natural as the rug gets older and the pile gets shorter. They will begin to come to the surface. Proper rug padding will keep this from happening prematurely. Sharp micro dust, sand, and dirt in an unwashed rug will cause the rug to lose more pile due to friction of the grime against the rug’s pile. Other factors that make imperfections show on the surface faster depends on the type of rug, country of origin, and traffic pattern, but all will age your rug faster if not maintained.

Knot heads could be carefully removed by re-weaving areas or in most cases just by coloring them to match the surrounding knot heads.

  1. White spots can occur in threadbare spots.

When a rug is used in the same traffic area/ pattern for many years and not cleaned, rotated, or dusted the pile will wear faster. We recommend rotating your rug so that it wears evenly every year or so. White spots also can be a result of where the rug came from- its origins, its weave, and type of wool foundation, or if it has a cotton foundation or wool foundation.

Simple maintenance of rotating your rug, keeping it dusted, and on a 4 to 5 year washing schedule will help extend the life of your rug and keep the imperfections from showing as fast. Using your rug over correct padding will prevent the need for re-weaving or color touch up due to warp showing and looking like white spots also.

Finally, the biggest culprit behind white spots, besides the aforementioned causes, is improper vacuuming! Never vacuum a handmade rug with the beater brush extension. This extension can tug on the rug, bringing exposed white spots to the surface due to pulling. Most cases we see are brought in by individuals who have not properly cared for their rug. We are not surprised to find out these rug owners vacuum their rug regularly and use the beater brush.

We hope this information answered all your questions about knot heads and white spots on your handmade rugs. If you have more questions feel free to call and bring in your rugs for evaluation and inspection. Call 972-733-0400 to set an appointment.