ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners


Disposable Patchwork RugDisposable Patchwork Rug

Disposable rugs do exist! Rug cleaners know these rugs as ‘garbage rugs, as well as ‘disposable rugs.’ They are produced by companies employing cheap labor to quickly make poorly constructed rugs they market as hand-crafted.

The Williams-Sonoma Corporation is one of those companies that sells this type of rug. The rugs are made in India and marketed under the brands of Pottery Barn and West Elm.

Here is an example of a label found on a rug from West Elm:

West Elm Rug LabelWest Elm Rug Label

It is so difficult for the uninformed consumer to see the contradictions in this label. That is why we always thoroughly inspect each rug brought to our cleaning plant at ABC and then quickly relay the results of that inspection to our customers. We are driven by our mission to educate our customers.


Here is how to really read the above label and others like it:

  • ‘Handcrafted’ does not mean ‘handwoven.’
  • India is one of the countries known for employing cheap labor and shoddy workmanship in producing rugs.
  • It does not take much ‘handcrafting’ to cut and sew together a rug from pieces of rugs. This also means there will be a backing added that will be glued to the back of the rug to keep it together. The glue  can fail or produce a very unpleasant odor that cannot be removed.
Patchwork Rug with BackingPatchwork Rug with Backing
  • The wool will wear away in the traffic areas leaving the cotton scrim foundation of the rug sections exposed. The image below shows wool where the leg of a table was and all around it the wool has worn away.
Leg Indentations on Disposable RugLeg Indentations on Disposable Rug
  • ‘Heavily washed’ could mean the pieces of rug were extra dirty to begin with or also mean the rug was heavily chemically washed.

  • ‘Richly over-dyed to create a beautiful patchwork pattern’ (perhaps to hide the fact that the patchwork pattern has come from rugs that have been cut and sewn together to form that patchwork pattern)?? Over-dyed also means the color will transfer (as they say in the next sentence). Beware that inks will sometimes be used instead of dyes and this can contribute to color loss.
  • The label says the rug has gone through an ‘artisanal dying  technique,’ which is probably the most honest statement on the label. Dyeing is the proper word for this technique. (Should have checked the spelling before putting the words on a label!)
  • If you have to keep the rug dry (and presumably use a rug pad to catch the extra dye), how do you clean up spills? (BTW, all area rugs should be placed on a pad.)

  • Of course, ‘colors and textures vary’ and ‘no two rugs are exactly alike’ goes without saying, since the overall plan is to slap together a piece of goods that will have less time put into its production than is put into the wording of the label!
  • ‘Limited Edition’ gives the producers the ability to ‘discontinue’ rugs  they receive complaints about so they can go on to find the next new quick way to make a rug cheaply, but sell it at a profit!

Unfortunately, some of these rugs sell for thousands of dollars to the unsuspecting consumer!

Please note: A portion of the information in this article was used with permission from


At ABC, we often say, if a rug speaks to you and you really love it, get it! But we also feel if a purchase you are about to make or have made is one of these decorative but disposable rugs, you should be aware of the many problems these types of rugs can bring to your home environment and the poor investment they represent. Many times these disposable rugs, with the amount of wool loss and weakened foundation, cannot be scrubbed or pressure rinsed during a thorough cleaning in our plant.

We always tell the truth about a rug’s conditions and what to expect from the cleaning you are seeking. We make recommendations, but the decision about a purchase or a cleaning or repair is always yours.

Please remember we are here to help and are always ready to give you our best advice. You can call or text us at 607-272-1566. 

We also sell rugs on consignment. You can check out what we have here or make an appointment to view the rugs personally in our office at 130 Cecil Malone Drive in Ithaca. All the rugs have been washed and had moth repellent applied.

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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co.
130 Cecil Malone Drive Ithaca, NY 14850


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