Costly Moth Damage in Handmade Rugs - Choosing to Prevent Rather than to Restore

This rug, lovely in its design and color palette, was the unfortunate victim of moth damage.  As is evident from the pictures, the extent of the damage was severe, and unfortunately, costly.  Luckily, preventing moth damage such as this is fairly straightforward.  Here are a few simple steps a rug owner can take to prevent moth damage:

1.  Use your rugs.  This might seem obvious, but just using and enjoying a rug goes a long way to minimize the risk of it falling prey to moth damage.  This is because moths tend to do much of their eating, and hence their damage, when a rug is being stored.  Often, when rug owners place their rugs in storage, they inadvertently create the perfect environment for moths to do the most damage.  For example, some owners carefully wrap their rugs in seemingly air-tight plastic and then store them in a dark closet.  This is arguably the worst way to store rugs as the ensuing dark and humid environment provides nearly perfect conditions for moths to feast on the rug's wool.  While there is no full-proof way to minimize the risk of moth damage entirely, if a rug must be stored, taking simple precautions can greatly minimize the risk.  For a review of those simple steps, please refer to this post which outlines a few tips.

2.  Regularly vacuum your rugs.  Moths thrive in soiled and dirty environments so making sure to keep rugs as clean as possible provides a good defense against moths.  Take care to vacuum under sofas, large tables, or any other items that are placed on top of the rug.

3.  Air out your rugs.  Every six months or so, if conditions allow it, take your rugs outside and allow them to bask in the sunlight and fresh air.  Summertime is a perfect time to do this.

4.  Rotate your rugs.  When you air out your rugs, rotate them 180 degrees when you return them to their usual location.  This will allow some areas of the rug that were previously hidden under furniture to be exposed.

5.  Inspect your rugs.  As part of your semi-annual airing out of your rugs, carefully inspect your rugs for signs of moths.  Look for white sticky residue, any eaten areas, or other evidence of present or past moth infestation.  If you do spot moths or moth damage, quickly isolate the rug and have it professionally cleaned to minimize any further damage and the risk of the moth infestation from extending to your other rugs or woolen products.

6.  Have your rugs professionally cleaned regularly.  How often you need to have a rug professionally cleaned is dependent on the conditions to which it is subject.  Generally, professional cleaning of handmade rugs every two years is sufficient.  However, if you have pets, regularly walk with soiled shoes on in your home, or have other conditions which make it likely that a regular vacuuming schedule will not be sufficient to remove the deeply embedded dust or soil particles from your rugs, then it is recommended to increase the frequency with which you have your rugs professionally. cleaned.

These simple steps will help you decrease the likelihood that moths will shorten the lifespan of your treasured rugs.  --