If you want to store an Oriental rug while it is not on display in the home, there are certain steps you must take. Learn how storing Oriental rugs properly can help increase their longevity and appearance.
John: Welcome to the Rug Gallery, with Sam Presnell. The Rug Gallery is an Oriental rug company and carpet store in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m John Maher. I’m here with the owner of the Rug Gallery, Sam Presnell. Hi, Sam.
Sam: Hi, John.
How Oriental Rugs Can Be Stored
John: Sam, today we’re talking about storing Oriental rugs. If a person wants to keep the oriental rug, but doesn’t want to display it at this time, how can Oriental rugs be stored?
Sam: Well, it’s pretty simple. You may have to ask a rug store for some wrapping and maybe you can just find some craft paper at the craft store, you know like four feet or I think it’s four and a half feet or as far as the width of it [goes]. Basically, you want to wrap that rug and you want to be able to also sprinkle some moth crystals or moth balls in to the edge of it to keep any bugs or moths out of the rug while it’s being stored.
That’s the big problem when you store rugs, as [they can] have moth damage and then the moth damage can be devastating and very extensive. You’ve got to be very careful of that.
Wrapping an Oriental Rug Properly
John: Can you describe that again with the paper? Are you just wrapping just the outside of the rug?
Sam: You roll it up. You don’t want to fold it if you can stay away from it. I’ll say the rugs 9’x12’ is just a standard size. You’re going to roll it up with the nine feet wide. When you get down the last couple of feet of that rug, let’s say about three feet from the edge of the rug, take some moth crystals you can buy at any hardware store or probably any Kroger’s or any grocery store and just sprinkle it on the last couple of feet and then roll it the rest of way up. Then at that point, lay out the craft paper or, if you want to go to a store that has plastic tubing or whatever that you know, [is] wide enough to put the rug in to. Lay the craft paper out on the floor and make it about a foot longer than your rug on each side. Just roll the rug up with the brown paper and then seal those edges with some tape- duct tape or masking tape or whatever and that’s what you have to do when you’re doing the wrapping.
John: Right. You end up with the rug rolled up and then the paper, basically covering it on the outside, kind of like you would wrap a present.
Sam: Correct. Exactly.
What to Avoid When Storing Oriental Rugs
John: What are some things not to do or to avoid when you’re storing Oriental rugs?
Sam: This is one that I always get. The problem lies in the way they store [a rug]. I’ll take it to their garage or to their basement and I’ll lay it on the cement. As you know, cement changes with temperature, it can sweat, you’ll get some wetness [and] it may get damp and then you get that old mold and that can be just totally devastating. Dry rot the rug out and just the rug just falls apart at those ends where it’s damaged, so definitely keep it off the ground.
If you’ve got to put it on a cement area like a basement or a garage floor, get some two by fours or something you can put a platform down and get it off of the concrete. So it’s resting on wood or something that’s not attached to some place. Make sure it’s not near an area [like a hot water heater]. If the hot water heater goes bad and you get water all over the floor, that’s not going to affect the rugs. Get off the floor high enough and keep it away from areas that could possibly get wet. That would be the big things. Lot of people will just roll rugs up. They’ll put in wrapping on them and put them underneath the bed, put them in the closet.
Keeping Moths Away When Storing Oriental Rugs
Sam: [Then] what happens is, our friend the Miller Moth. I mean, you may not think you’ve got them. You have them.
Sam: And they are everywhere. Let me tell you once that larva gets set, that larva can eat you out of house and home. [Rugs get an] incredible the amount of damage. You won’t see a moth flying around because the larva can eat that rug for months on end before it becomes a moth. What you’re seeing is a moth before it lays the larva. If you see it’s flying around the larva, it is probably somewhere and then you’ve got to find that larva and at that point you’ve got to destroy the larva. Otherwise, you let that run and basically that’s what these larva or caterpillar type things, which become moths, eat your wool because it’s protein. They love that wool and it’s natural fiber to them and they’ll just eat it from the back, inside the rug. You won’t know. [You won’t] see moths flying around until it’s too late.
John: That’s why our parents [and] grandparents used to have moth balls in their closet, because all of our clothes were made out of wool at one time and now our clothes aren’t as much made of wool, so we don’t really do that anymore. But when you’re talking about a wool rug, you still have to be cautious about it.
Sam: Yes. I don’t think young people today realize that. I mean that was very, very common for us growing up in those days, to have your closet moth balled or whatever and you would hate the smell of that and you’d think, “Well good thing you hate the smell because the bugs don’t like it any better, either.” It keeps them out of there. It doesn’t stop them, but does deter them and usually they’ll try to find an easier, less potent way to get what they want.
Storing Oriental Rugs in the Attic
John: Right. If moisture is a problem and your basement is kind of too wet like you said, you don’t want that rug to be on the cement floor. Is putting a rug in an attic a good idea? Or do you end up with the same types of problems because of the cold and heat?
Sam: Exactly. The cold and heat doesn’t bother me as much as potential leaks. I mean, that’s what I’ve seen happen in the past. I guess I’ve just seen the worst scenarios happen. One person would say, “You’ve got to make sure that you check on it every now and then,” and most people don’t. You have a small leak and you’re not even noticing, it was just ‘drip, drip, drip’, and then, next thing you know you’ve got a serious, serious problem with the beautiful rug that you’re [storing]. I’m not a big fan of putting something where you never see it if you can stay away from it, but yes, you can. But if you just do some kind of reminder you know, to check on it and turn it or rotate it every now and then. That would be a big help. But, yes. That’s a good place to store it.
Consider Professionally Storing Your Oriental Rug
Sam: Another tip I want to recommend also is that there are companies out there, usually storage companies as well as cleaning companies that offer that as a service. You’ll pay so much a month for storage per rug, but if that’s something you can’t deal with in your house or not feel comfortable with it, there are companies you can hire out to that for you, too.
John: You want to look for a company that specializes in Oriental rugs storage as opposed to just throwing it into one of those storage lockers that you see at the side of the highway, right?
Sam: Good point. Yes. You want somebody [who] actually stores valuable stuff like good antiques and rugs and takes that as part of their business. Make sure they’re insured well and check with the Better Business Bureau. There’s a lot of shady characters out there. I would say, you’d just definitely want to do your homework on them as well before you give them your rug.