The global community has decreased in size. The most popular rungs finding their way into people's homes are rugs from Peru, Navaho rugs, Indian rugs, and the ever-popular Persian rugs. Homeowners bring home exotic rugs as mementoes of vacations, to remember a special time in their lives, or to bring a touch of the exotic to their homes.

These rugs are often hand woven from natural fibers, dyed with homemade dyes. These fabrics and colors are not made to handle the harsh solvents and chemicals used in our cleaning products. Raw wool, linens made from plant fibers and animal fibers react different than synthetic fibers.

Many home decorators bring home exotic rugs that are made to last a generation or more. This gives them the false belief that the rug is durable and can handle the wear and tear of the daily suburban family home. This is a myth. These rugs last because they are not cleaned with harsh cleaners and detergents that break the fibers.

Vacuuming exotic rugs can destroy them. The fibers are hand spun, and are looser than machine spun threads. Vacuum cleaners and rug shampooers can easily remove thousands of fibers, destroying the rug's integrity within a matter of seconds. Hand tied rugs are notorious for their fragile state. Persian rugs cannot tolerate any vacuuming. They need to be carefully, and gently brushed. A soft bristled brush used in the direction of the fibers will protect the rug.

There are some basics that home decorators need to understand before buying an exotic rug. First, do not buy the rug from a tourist trap, or at the vendors down the road from your hotel. These rugs will probably be factory made knock-offs.

Exotic rugs are expensive. It can take five to ten years, and $10 000 to export a room sized Persian rug. It is disheartening to finally receive your rug and find that your treasure is exactly like twenty others for sale at a local exotic rug store.

Placement is the most important considerations for protecting an exotic rug. Never place the rug in the sunlight. There is no Scotch Guard protection, IUV protection, and no mold coating on exotic rugs, things that are standard on commercial rugs. Exotic rugs should not be placed on damp surfaces or in places where mold grows, and never walk on exotic rugs with bare feet.

Exotic rugs should never be used under dining tables and in areas where people eat, smoke, or use air fresheners. These things will become imbedded into the fibers dulling the color and damaging the fibers. Some exotic rugs cannot be cleaned, even with water. The natural fibers and colors will not tolerate a cleaning.

Do not use baking soda or other coarse products to clean or prevent odors. These products will break fibers, especially if the rug is on the ground and the product is ground into the rug.

However, dirt will break the fibers and create a strong odor if it is not removed. There are some safe ways to clean an exotic rug. The most common method of beating natural fiber rugs is to hang them outdoors and beat them, gently, with a broom. A good airing in sunlight can kill bacteria, reducing odors, and killing dust mites.

About the Author:

Bob & Tammy Sedona advises home decorators on rugs and flooring care from their web site at She invites you to download their FREE home decorating guide at

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