Rug Fading Can Happen. Be Careful!
Oriental rugs are beautiful but they are not cheap. If you own one of these expensive beauties, it is advisable to put a few measures in place. Measures that will help extend the life of your rug and keep rug fading to a minimum.
The first thing to keep in mind is that ultraviolet light is the real cause of fading. The other parts of the light spectrum don’t really damage your rug. Limiting the rug’s exposure to UV is key. There are a few things you can do which will make a difference. For example, if you have sunlight coming into the room at certain angles, only the few sections of the rug that get exposed to the sunlight will get faded, resulting in a rug that looks inconsistent with some faded patches and some bright patches. When you rotate the rug, it gets evenly exposed so that the rug fading is gradual and unnoticeable.
After inspecting rugs in many homes over the years, I have come to think that sunlight may be a rug’s principal nemesis—even to be feared, even, than moths. Sunlight streaming through a window directly onto a rug is virtually guaranteed to harm it, whether morning or afternoon, southern or western sunlight. Naturally dyed rugs and synthetically dyed rugs suffer equally. Colors fade unevenly and wool and cotton dry out and become brittle.
Most damage is caused by light shining through a window, of course, but often rugs fade from sunlight streaming through a skylight. Sometimes people have no idea what’s happening because it occurs at a time of day when they’re not home. In my own house I once had to replace my Plexiglas skylight with Plexiglas that had been UV filtered. A special word of caution: don’t forget that if the sun is not coming directly through your window now, it may do so at a different time of the year when, for instance, the sun is lower in the southern sky.
Helps with Protection from Sun Light
You can eliminate or prevent the problem by keeping the curtains closed or by having a window film professionally applied (window tints can be applied to your windows which filter out harmful ultraviolet light). This is the most effective and also the easiest thing you can do to keep your rug looking good longer. When you rotate the rug frequently, it prevents extended exposure to the same harmful elements.
If your rug has already suffered fading by the sun, there is still hope that it can be improved. If the fading is merely on the very tips of the pile (and you can determine that by looking closely at it), then washing the rug (professionally) may help the problem by simply abrading the faded tips of the wool. More severe rug fading can sometimes be improved by professional clipping of the entire pile.
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