Wear and Holes

How can you best go about repairing an Oriental Rug? First, learn what causes the rug to age.

  • Oriental rugs on the floor + sneakers and shoes + dirt = wear.
  • Use + regular beating and washing = reduced wear.
  • Add to this an oriental rug with good wool density and better quality wool (many new rugs are made with soft Merino wool) and it means wear is slowed down. However, rugs will wear.
Wear To The Edge / Selvage Of An Oriental Rug

Wear To The Edge / Selvage Of An Oriental Rug

A Few Tips for Reducing Wear

  1. Over the years heavy usage will cause the pile (wool, cotton, and silk – in descending order of durability) to wear, eventually to the hand tied knot heads.
  2. Next in the wear cycle you will start seeing the usually light colored foundation threads (warp and weft).  If you wish to reverse this process now is the time to check with an oriental rug professional on one,  is the rug worth restoring, and two, what would it cost to repile the worn area.
  3. Two options exist –
    1. The first option  is to re knot the rug, thus putting pile back into the rug.
    2. A second less expensive option is to “Kashmir” the worn area.  This is an embroidery type of stitch which, while putting wool back into the rug, does not create new pile. Do this before the wear becomes a hole. Re-piling or embroidering an oriental rug, while expensive, is much less expensive than restoring a hole.


Oriental Rug Fringe Repair

Worn Rug Fringe Being Repaired

Rotate your rugs at least once a year to shift wear patterns and more evenly distribute the fading effects of any sun on the carpet.  While some colors fade faster than others (ie natural green and yellow) no color is immune to fading.

Just like in any other trade, there are good and poor repair and restoration services.  Be careful who you pick.  Check previous work and references.


A common and inexpensive method to mask the worn areas of an oriental rug is using art pens, to color over the light colored foundation with a color that matches the original pile color, something you can do yourself.

      • This may make the rug look better, but will not slow down the wear process.
      • Why not move that worn beauty somewhere there is less traffic?

About the author:
Tad Runge has been buying, selling, washing and repairing vintage oriental rugs in Maine since the 1970s.  He is the latest generation of Runges to buy and sell old oriental rugs a tradition started in the 1880s in New York by his Great Grandfather Edward Runge.
His shop A.E. Runge Oriental Rugs is in Yarmouth, Maine 207-846-9000

Filed under: Oriental Rug Care

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