Living with Carpets and Kilims
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Both Carpets and Kilims like other textiles, need some care and attention such as occasional cleaning and restoration when any damage occurs. The Turkish word sakat, meaning 'unwell', is charmingly used to describe such problematic rugs. Hand-woven rugs will last for years if looked after properly.


The strength of a kilim will depend on the materials used, the tightness of its weave and its age. Obviously if the kilim is old and has already received a good deal of wear and tear, it should be kept away from busy areas of the home. The fineness of wool and weave is another important consideration. If a kilim is 'thin' but constructed from good-quality, fine hand-spun wool, its lifespan will be considerably longer than that of a machine-made carpet, and a loosely woven kilim, even if it is physically thicker, will not necessarily last longer than one that is finely woven from good-quality wool. In addition certain weave types tend to wear faster than others. The pattern of a weft-wrapping technique rug will erode more quickly than that of a kilim made in slitweave or plainweave technique because the wefts are 'floating' and therefore more vulnerable. Kilims can easily bear the weight of furniture, but constant friction is harmful and chair legs, for instance, can catch in the slits of the weave. Measures can be taken to prevent this such as placing cups under the legs, or attaching a piece of thick felt to their underside. It is a good policy to alternate the position of a kilim and turn the rug around occasionally, particularly if one side or one end receives a heavy flow of traffic or more exposure to natural light.

Rugs will disintegrate in continual damp conditions. Should you experience leaking radiators, flood or other water-related problems, consult your insurance broker and local dealer who will, no doubt, assist with such problems.


Rugs on smooth floors can be hazardous, and all rugs will 'walk' if laid on a fitted carpet with a deep pile. Such problems can be alleviated or eliminated by the use of an underlay. There are many different types available, serving varied functions, and your local rug dealer should be able to advise you as to what is suitable. Underlay helps to cushion a rug, and can entirely stop slipping or sliding; it also lessens any wear and tear. Any floor surface that is supposedly smooth will have uneven areas, and any bumps that are continuously walked over will eventually erode the weave and the rug will need to be restored. Underlay can allay this danger and it is considerably cheaper to replace the underlay than to have the rug restored. There are many different products available on the market, some of which are effective against movement problems, but tend to leave a sticky deposit on the floor surface and the underside of the rug. This is removable with white spirit, which should not damage either a polished floor or machine-made carpet; however, it is advisable to consult manufacturers before using any substances that might be potentially harmful. Many of the underlays on offer are ineffectual, and most are expensive; therefore, before any acquisitions are made, it is worthwhile asking advice of your local rug dealer, who will, no doubt, have experience of the particular problem in hand, and will be able to help. The conclusive way to stop rugs 'walking' on fitted pile is to have them sewn down on to the carpet. This is not always practical, of course, particularly if the rug needs to be washed with any frequency.


When a rug begins to look dirty, it should be sent to be washed. Washing is beneficial to kilims and carpets, as dirt and grit will, with time, become ground into the weave and slowly destroy it. Hand-woven rugs should be washed regularly in any case, as this polishes the wool, gives life to the colors and helps with general wear and tear. New rugs can be dry-cleaned, but such treatment is not recommended for anything that is at all old. It is not advisable to wash rugs or kilims at home, as problems such as color run or uneven shrinkage can arise. When a weave is wet, it is stiff and hard like cardboard, and color seepage can occur if the rug is not dried in the correct manner.

Spills should be attended to immediately. Use absorbent paper, such as kitchen towel, to soak up the moisture, then sponge the weave with clean water, and re-absorb. Do not use salt for red wine, nor other corrosive substances on rugs. If any marks remain and the cause of the stain is known, it is easy for professionals to remove them with certain chemicals. Chemical treatments -'Scotchguarding', for example- to prevent dirt or staining are not recommended for hand-woven rugs. Here are some special tips for cleaning

Any Alcoholic Drink:
Lightly wet with warm water and use 90 % alcohol to clean.
Dry well and vacuum clean.
Use a sponge damped with ammonia to wipe.
Lightly wipe with warm water.
Damp sponge with a mixture of water, soap and alcohol, and wipe.
Take care to prevent the cleaning mixture from dripping down to the reverse of the carpet.
Damp sponge with a mixture containing 3 parts white vinegar or lemon juice and 1 part ammonia, and wipe.
Never use hot water. Wipe with an ammonia and water mixture, failing that, use an alcohol and water mixture.

Never use hot water. After cleaning the stain well with a damp sponge, wipe witth cold salty water.
If unsuccessful, wipe again with pure white wine.
If the stain is dry, brush it and clean with water containing a smoll anount of ammonia.

Make-up Materials
and Perfomery:
Wipe with alcohol
Pet Urine:
Wipe with a sponge while the stain is damp, and leave to dry.
Later wipe with white wine vinegar.
If unsuccessful, wipe again with a mixture of 3 parts alcohol and 1 part ammonia.
Red Wine:
Clean with white wine, and wipe with water.


If it is necessary to store kilims for any length of time, certain precautions must be taken. Firstly, the rug should be washed, and preferably mothproofed - moths, as a general rule, like to breed in areas where air does not circulate. (It is not the moth itself that destroys the textile, but the larvae.) Before storing, any textile should be wrapped in airtight packaging, with moth balls, and it is preferable to store fabric of any type in rolls rather than folded up. If possible, acid-free paper should be placed between the folds or rolls of the textile, and moth balls should not actually touch the fabric. Stored kilims should be kept at a constant temperature to prevent any condensation occurring inside the airtight packages. It is also advisable to wash, or at least air the kilim when it comes out of storage, to discourage moths further, as they like to breed in undisturbed conditions. Other possible predators are mice and rats, which will only be deterred if they are denied access, so rugs and textiles should be stored in a suitable container. Please note that insurance policies to not cover any of the above possible hazards.


The well-known saying 'a stitch in time' is true of all repairs. It is advisable to consult a professional restorer or dealer before sending a rug for restoration or repair, as they will always give an estimate for any work that is necessary, and tell you whether it is worth the cost-at times, particularly if a rug is very old, the wool may have become so brittle (particularly if it has been neglected and unwashed for many years) that repair may not be financially viable. Restoration is a skilled art, and it will only cost more if bad repairs have been carried out and subsequently have to be removed before proper restoration is effected. Fringes will be the first part of the kilim to deteriorate, and vacuum cleaners are lethal. If the fringe disintegrates or is damaged, the actual weave of the rug will be next. Stopping fringes from unraveling is easily done; reweaving the ends can be very costly.