Magazine article Sunset

The Lowdown on the Care and Repair of Navajo Rugs

Magazine article Sunset

The Lowdown on the Care and Repair of Navajo Rugs

Article excerpt

Navajo rugs are among the West's great functional art forms. Their distinctive earth colors and vibrant abstract patterns in natural wool express an unmistakable regional character and have attracted buyers far and wide. Indeed, prices start around $600 and have reached as high as $500,000. So how do you protect your investment and ensure that your Navajo rug will last as long as possible? The answers depend on how old or valuable it is and how you use it.

Wall-hung rugs (usually mounted on Velcro strips sewn to the mg and tacked to a painted or varnished wooden mount board) will obviously wear less quickly than rugs used on the floor. But whether your rug is on the wall or on the floor, keep it away from direct sunlight. The dyes -- both vegetable and synthetic -- are light sensitive and will fade.

Care for rugs on the floor by doing the following:

1. Place the rug in a low-traffic location, such as under a table.

2. Use a rug pad to cushion the yarns. According to Navajo rug restorer James Stilley of the Oriental Rug Repair Company in Tucson, the best pad is one made of plastic foam -- rubber and felt allow color to migrate from the pad into the rug.

3. Vacuum using suction only.

4. Flip the rug periodically for an even distribution of wear and fading.

5. Have the rug chemically treated to prevent moth and carpet beetle damage, then check periodically for evidence of insect infestation.

6. Blot or vacuum spills immediately. Stilley warns against prolonged exposure to moisture, which can result in dye run or mildew. …

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