ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners

Flatwoven Rugs
Inherent Cleaning Problems


Flatwoven rugs, or 'flatweaves,' comprise numerous types of rugs with names such as:

·         Berber

·         Dhurrie

·         Drugget

·         Killim (kilim or kelim)

·         Navajo

·         Rag Rug

·         Soumak

·         Zapotec.

These rugs are usually handwoven in a tapestry-like construction and have a flat surface without a distinctive raised pile. Many flatwoven rugs are reversible.


Currently, the most popular flatweave types are the Dhurries with cotton or wool face yarns, kilims with wool face yarns and rag rugs made of cotton or polyester fabric scraps. Dhurries are traditionally woven in India and Afghanistan. Kilims are usually woven in Turkey but are also produced in other countries. Rag Rugs are woven in many countries, including the United States.

These popular rugs provide excellent service, along with good value and a pleasing appearance. Unfortunately, they also characteristically exhibit some problems that may become more apparent when cleaned.


Irregularities in Weaving

The warp, or lengthwise yarns are generally cotton in most of these types of rugs, although they may be wool or occasionally silk in older or finer rugs. These lengthwise yarns are hand-wound onto the loom before weaving. Irregularities in foundation of warp and weft positioning and tension and weave structure appear in woven goods from even the best weavers.

Additionally, there may be a range of variations in yarn twist and diameter. Cleaning reveals these inherent irregularities, (which may or may not be visible before cleaning) in the form of curling, rippling, striping or buckling in the rug. The sides or edges of these rugs are especially prone to curling.

Weaver Markings that May Bleed

Some flatweaves may have pattern markings placed on the warp by the weaver. These are usually marked with colored chalk or ink (red, blue or black) to aid in the weaving. The markings are completely hidden as the rug is woven, but since the markings are seldom colorfast, they can bleed during cleaning. Since the cleaner has no way of predicting this inherent problem in advance, it is not the cleaner's fault.

Dye Bleeding or Color Run

The yarns on the surface of the rugs are sometimes bright, bold colors that may bleed when cleaned. At ABC, we take precautions to avoid this condition by using the most appropriate cleaning techniques. Even despite cautious handling of such rugs, there is some unavoidable risk of dye bleeding (or color run) during cleaning. It may not be possible to remove dyes which have bled.

This problem is linked to poor dye selection and improper dyeing and handling during manufacture. In addition, most dyes are weakened by age, exposure to sunlight, atmospheric fumes, pet urine and spills, etc., all of which contribute to dye bleeding before, during, and after cleaning.

Fraying Fringes

Many flatweaves have fringes that are continuations of the warp yarns which are part of the rugs' weave structure. All fringes fray and darken with age and dirt. Only special chemical treatment can lighten the fringe color. Aggressive treatment, however, may weaken the fringes. If the fringes have frayed or have pulled off your rug, our ABC professional repair technicians can repair or replace them for you.

Limited Cleanability

Flatwoven rugs have limited cleanability because their flat surface readily shows soil dirt, dust, spills, and stains. Many Dhurrie rugs are designed in pastel colors and thus always appear to be more soiled than darker rugs. Flatweaves should be vacuumed regularly and cleaned more frequently than other rugs.  Application of some type of stain protection may be advisable.


Please feel free to call our office at 272-1566 if you have any questions about the cleaning and/or repair of your flatwoven rugs.  We are proud to assist you with the combined experience of over 100 years in the cleaning and repair of these and other rugs.

Please click here for our Pick Up and Delivery Policy and our Pick Up and Delivery Service Areas.

If you do not live in our service area, please feel free to call our office at 607-272-1566 and arrange to send us your rugs by mail or through a delivery service such as Fed Ex or UPS.

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"The Cleanest Clean You've Ever Seen."


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


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