Rug Terminology

It's all semantics!

ABRASH is a term used to describe color variations found in select hand knotted and oriental rugs. Although such inconsistencies may be perceived as ‘flaws’ in coloration, abrash is actually a much more intimate and complex characteristic.

BLEACH SPOTS occur when the dye of the fiber has been compromised. This can occur when chemicals have been used on the rug or medicines or any products containing hydrogen peroxide were spilled onto the rug. Bleach spots are permanent unless specially color corrected (upon request – additional fees apply.)

BROWNING is a yellow, brown or red discoloration due to degradation of cellulose due to exposure to moisture/humidity. Some browning is reversible, but often damage is permanent.

COLOR RUN occurs due to the over-saturation of a certain color, or poor dye quality. If a carpet with this over-dyed color is washed, excess colors have a tendency to bleed or “run” into the adjacent fibers. Color run caused by self treatment is usually not correctable. Color run may result from self treatment during the wash process and is not avoidable or reversible.

CURLED EDGES are when corners and edges of rugs curl up. These problems, unsightly and potentially hazardous, will only get worse with time causing wear and damage that is expensive to repair. Causes are varied and can be uneven weft tension at the sides, or sizing treatments applied to machine made rugs that break down or other factors. Curled edges are permanent.

DRY ROT in a rug is the deterioration of the foundation fibers, usually cotton but sometimes wool, jute, or silk. In the extreme it is a total lack of structural integrity and to a rug this means it can simply fall apart. The cause of this type of fiber deterioration is the extremes of too much moisture, or too little of it. If there is any type of water source near a rug you want to look for evidence of any problems. Potted plants, water coolers, pet water dishes, or any slab leaks over time can contribute to the growth of mildew and eventually dry rot. Pets are also a cause of dry rot, as urine salts can keep the innermost cotton foundation fibers moist for a much longer time than water, and that can create stiff, rotten areas.

EDGE DAMAGE occurs when rug edges fray and develop loose or stringy threads. Most edge damage can be repaired if requested. Edge damage is not a concern during the wash process.

EXCESSIVE SOIL applies to rugs that have more soil than we would see on a rug that wasn’t cleaned regularly, or from a favorite spot on which your pet lays, or a rug with a high traffic area. A rug with excessive soil doesn’t have additional cleaning costs, but often cannot be restored completely due to permanent staining and fiber deterioration.

FADED rugs have been exposed to sunlight, which has bleached the dyed fiber resulting in a lighter shad on a portion of the rug. Color fade is permanent.

FECES from pets (or people) needs to be spot treated and often times requires an odor decontamination due to the oils left behind. Most feces stains can be removed, but removal is not guaranteed, particularly from viscose/rayon rugs.

HOLES refers to any damaged portion of the rug where the warps and wefts are torn, cut or ripped. They can been seen from the front and back of the rug. Holes can be repaired, but if left alone, may enlarge slightly during the wash process.

MOLD/MILDEW is a result of exposure to moisture and water that is not dried quickly enough – it begins to form mold spores. If your area rug has advanced spore growth, it is most likely irreversible. Once the growth occurs, it is impossible to get rid of it. With that said, we can cleanse spore growth from area rugs if it is mild and stop further deterioration. Mold is often caused over time by potted plants, water coolers, pet water dishes or slab leaks.

MIS-SHAPEN Over time rugs will expand and contract with exposure to moisture and humidity which can cause them to become misshapen. Rugs with cotton foundation fibers experience a distortion of shape when the cotton shrinks but the wool fibers do not. This is not easily preventable nor correctable and may result after a rug is washed the first time.

LATEX DECAY happens over time to rugs that have been glued to their backings, or have a border that has been glued around the edges. The borders will begin to lift off and you will see yellowing on the back of the rug. Latex deterioration of the border is repairable, decay of the backing is not and may prevent proper treatment and washing of a rug.

SPROUTS refer to loose threads that appear to be ‘sprouting’ above the pile. It’s usually not a cause for concern. You may notice this after cleaning or vacuuming. Many rugs use hand spun or hard twisted yarns of wool. The twisting of the yarn by hand can result in inconsistent number of twists, which results in longer strands. The knot is still intact and fine, but the strand is a bit longer than the rest. No reason for alarm – your rug is not damaged or defective. They can be easily trimmed.

TEXTURE (Pile) DISTORTION is when there is a change in the rugs original pile direction, then pile distortion will occur. Bloomed, crushed or fuzzy pile is usually considered as pile distortion. The most common causes of pile distortion is the accumulation of the soil and foot traffic. The pile and texture distortion can be improved during the cleaning process, but will not always be corrected completely.

UNKNOWN STAINS are difficult to identify and treat and often will not come out completely if at all.

URINE stains from pets are the most common and difficult stains to remove from an area rug. These stains require a deep treatment to break down the crystallized urine and remove it from the rug before washing. Urine stains may lighten, but often will not come out completely.

VISCOSE/RAYON/ART SILK/BAMBOO or BANANA SILK are all variations of the same fiber. It is one of the weakest fibers on the market, and difficult to clean. Please see our blog post on viscose, to understand the risks involved in purchasing and caring for a rug of this type.

VOMIT stains can be permanent. Successful removal depends on what the person or pet ate and how acidic the vomit is. We can always remove the odor and any residue to leave the rug clean and fresh.

WATER STAINS are caused by an excessive amount of water exposure when that water is not removed promptly. You will see a yellow/brown coloring where the water was. These are most noticeable on viscose, silk or natural fiber rugs. Water leeches impurities out of its surroundings and often leaves permanent stains.

WHITE KNOTS are foundation fiber tie off points and are a by-product of the weaving process and are not damage. With age, wool pile begins to wear from foot traffic, and the white knots (which used to be shorter than the wool pile) begin to be revealed. Newer rugs that have been sheared to a shorter pile can also have exposed knots. Dirty rugs make the knots grey and not very noticeable. A really good wash will make these cotton knots pristine white again (especially if you have a skilled rug specialist doing the work), and they suddenly “appear” when you may not have seen them before.

WINE STAINS are difficult to remove. The successful removal depends on the fiber of your rug and what type of wine it is. We cannot always tell you ahead of time if the stain will come out completely.

TEA WASHED FRINGES are identified easily. We point these out to you because the fringes on many rugs are intentionally tinted to look aged. They will stay this way after the wash, so we want you to know that they are clean, not dirty.

EXCESSIVE WEAR on FRINGES means that a portion of the fringe is unraveled, missing, uneven, short, deteriorated etc. This is caused by a lot of foot traffic and vacuuming and should not change after a wash.

LOOSE FRINGES are those that have worn down to the point where the structure of the rug is compromised. The point where the weave ends and is tied off to the fringe is becoming loose and unstable. We usually recommend repair for this to prevent further deterioration of the rug.

YELLOWING FRINGES can happen over time with aging or improper cleaning. It is not reversible so if your rug has yellowing fringes, it will likely come back to you the same way.

FRINGE ROT is the same as dry rot, just localized to the fringes. This is an irreversible condition.

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