How to take care of your old rugs

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Half the allure of a good vintage piece is the elusive story behind it. Although Kelly Vittengl is known for her exquisite preservation of antique rugs, the California-based founder Frances Loom prefers her pieces to be a little rough around the edges, literally. “I gravitate towards the carpets which are worn almost to the threads. In my opinion, these have so much more character and a story to tell, ”she says. “I draw inspiration for my collection from everywhere: my friends, art, Instagram, my neighborhood. But as strange as it may sound, I am able to capture energies in these mats. Rugs with a rich past speak to me, and others don’t. With history comes age, however, and vintage rugs need a little more care than most. Find out how this self-proclaimed “slinger rug” keeps them in pristine condition, so you can enjoy their special beauty for years to come.

Photo: Courtesy of Frances Loom

Style for minimal wear
“Even the most worn rugs are stronger than you might think. Many of them have already lasted for over a hundred years – they’re tougher than they look, ”says Vittengl. “However, the less foot traffic the better. If you’re really trying to preserve a rug, maybe find a space where it will wear out less. A room where you don’t plan to regularly receive guests or serve food and drink is your best bet.

Treat them like art
Although Vittengl is a big fan of wear and tear, she recommends trying unconventional places for your carpet if you want to maintain its look for the long haul. “There is always the option of hanging the rug on the wall or using it as a headboard in a bedroom. They are truly masterpieces and should be treated like art.

Use the right settings on your vacuum cleaner
For the usual dirt and dust, your old carpet can probably handle a vacuum cleaner, provided you use it correctly. Vittengl suggests using the “bare floor” setting “to protect the carpet from further wear or damage”.

Sometimes spills call in a professional
“Any minor spill should be wiped up immediately with a damp, undyed cloth,” she says. “However, for any more damaging spills or stains (like red wine) you should really hire a professional carpet cleaner who specializes in antique or oriental rugs. The process is much gentler than your average carpet cleaner.” You can also consider doing a professional cleaning once a year or so.


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