When storing an oriental rug for an extended period of time, there are some guidelines that need to be followed to ensure your rug looks just as good when it comes out of storage as it did when it went in.
1. Make sure your rug is clean
You can clean your oriental rug yourself (and you should be cleaning it regularly), but before storage it is best to get it cleaned professionally. Washing removes any bugs, dirt, and contaminates that have accumulated over the years. A professional cleaner will be able to clean the rug much more thoroughly, and will spray it with an insecticide that is safe to use on wool. A professional will also ensure that the rug is completely dry before it is stored. Storing a damp rug will cause mold.
2. Roll your rug
You can fold an oriental rug for storage, but that can create permanent creases and can damage the foundation. Roll the rug around a support tube with the pile facing in. With older rugs, the foundation may be weak, in which case it is best to roll the rug with the pile facing out to lessen the stress on the foundation. For short term storage, you can then wrap the rug in Kraft wrapping paper, or something similar. However, it tears easily and is not water resistant. For long term storage, use Tyvek paper, which is tear and water resistant and allows the rug to breathe. Never use plastic. Wool has high moisture content so wrapping it in plastic cause odor problems-or worse, mildew. If you do take your rug to get professionally washed, many places also offer wrapping services.
3. Find proper storage
Store your rug in a clean, dry place. Avoid attics and garage, as they are not temperature controlled. Find a place that has natural light and air flow. However, avoid a place that has too much light, because that can cause the colors to fade. A room with blinds or curtains is good. Avoid storing your oriental rug directly on the floor if possible, but avoid storing it directly on concrete. Concrete retains moisture which can be damaging to the rug. Keep the storage area clean to prevent rodents and bugs.
4. Check up on your rug
If possible, check on the rug annually to make sure the packaging is secure and there are no signs of rodents or bugs. Unwrap the rug and check for damages. If the rug was professionally cleaned and wrapped then you can get away with check it once every two or three years.
An oriental rug is a big investment, so it’s important to take care of it, even when you’re not using it.