The managing director of Kani Carpets in Dubai offers advice on carpet maintenance.
How to take care of a carpet
Don't leave your shoes at the door for the sake of your favourite carpet.
That's the advice of Shahdab Mir, the managing director of Kani Carpets in Dubai. And he ought to know - carpets have been his family's business for five generations.
Heavy foot traffic adds to a carpet's beauty, he says, because "the more you walk on a rug the better the details will come out". Shoes are fine, he adds, although he does recommend that you check first for dirt or wayward chewing gum.
Carpets are on the must-buy list for many expats in the UAE. And while rugs are more affordable here than in many parts of the world, they still don't come cheaply. So if you're going to make the investment, don't skimp on the maintenance.
Dirty rugs wear prematurely, so give them the recommended daily once-over with a vacuum cleaner, going against the pile to help remove embedded sand and dust. If your rug is machine-made, use the cleaner's brush attachment as this will help smooth its overall appearance. For handmade carpets, use the nozzle alone as brushes may remove small bits of pile that will eventually alter the rug's appearance. Be particularly careful when vacuuming fringes, where revolving brush attachments can do a lot of damage in very little time.
Fringes can also become damaged and tired-looking if cleaned too often with chemicals. Don't consider bleaching the strands but, instead, accept that they're not going to stay pristine for ever. Fringes that are excessively damaged can be rewoven and restored.
The UAE's unforgiving sunlight is another challenge. Rugs will fade over time, but you can slow down the process by filtering the sun through light curtains or blinds.
A handmade, hand-knotted rug will benefit from annual professional cleaning, but take care when selecting the professional. "Never give it to a dry cleaner," Mir warns. "Always go for oriental carpet washers". Steam cleaners, too, can do a lot of damage, possibly causing the dyes to bleed into one another.
Silk does not absorb things easily, so when it comes to spills, a quick response will make all the difference. Never use a commercial stain remover on a handmade rug, Mir says, because the colours could be permanently altered. Instead clean the spill immediately by blotting it with a cloth, then rubbing the stain with a lemon and, finally, cleaning it with a wet cloth.
If you are placing a pad beneath the carpet, ensure that it will allow the dirt to fall through to the floor. Dirt trapped between the pad and the underside of the carpet can abrade it from below.