The dark side of the rug.

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Pet your rug. Go ahead – pet it!

All pile rugs, just like your pet pooch or kitty or gorilla (hey – we have ALL kinds on this blog!) – the fur has a direction to it. You can tell when you are petting with the grain…

…or against it.

The grain points toward the bottom end of the rug. This is the end where the weaving process began, so as those knots are twisted around two warp threads, they end up pointing downward.

Weaving rug on a loom

This means that when the rug is on the floor, its wool (or silk) pile is pointing toward one fringed end, and pointing away from the other.

Because the pile reflects light differently, you end up with some very distinct LIGHT and DARK “looks” to every pile rug. Take a look:

View from bottom end, looking INTO the pile.

View from top end, looking WITH the pile.

Now…if you happen to take a rug out for its regular washing, and you were to lay the rug down in the opposite direction, with it suddenly looking quite different to its owner…

…could you understand how there might be a problem?

Technically, no problem at all. No damage per se. But, the “look” of the rug they live with day in and day out would suddenly be different.

It’s important to note which end (top or bottom) is where in the room before you remove it, and to open it in the same direction again when you return it so you can avoid any comments like “what happened to my rug?!?”

Especially if you are dealing with SILK rugs, which reflect light much more dramatically than wool does, you can have a very vibrant difference in the look of the rug.

This is why when you spill anything on a silk rug and try to dry it, and the pile gets tussled or matted, it can look like soil because it can appear very dark afterwards. (By the way silk is a horrible choice for a floor rug, because foot traffic will always make it look blotchy. Though silk is a strong fiber, I recommend hanging and enjoying the pieces rather than stomping on them and having them always look “a little dirty” even when they are not. Plus, with any spills silk is a dangerous beast to try to correct spill damage, many tend to have dyes that will bleed with spills.)

So, remember to PET the rug and determine the direction of the rug pile before you remove it from the home. I like to roll the rugs from the bottom end, which makes for a tighter roll.

And after they are thrilled with your cleaning then you can recommend that they rotate the rug for the upcoming year to help even out any traffic wear and sun light exposure.

Happy rug cleaning!

– Lisa