ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners


Paper Shag RugPaper Shag Rug

Paper Rugs?! Yes. That is right. Such a product actually does exist today. Surprisingly, this type of rug is not entirely new on the market.

Below is a photograph of a rug made entirely of cigarette papers. It was made in South America. With the price of cigarettes today, it was probably also quite expensive.

Tobacco Paper RugTobacco Paper Rug
Closeup of Cigarette Paper RugCloseup of Cigarette Paper Rug

Paper rugs are novelty rugs. They can be artsy, interesting, amusing? But buyer beware! Besides being expensive, a paper rug can end up being even more costly to those who do not know what they have.

We will tell you why in this article.  


First we need to look at the ‘care comments’ that can be found from such companies as Coastal Style Paper Rugs:

  • Regular vacuuming is the best method for keeping its appearance fresh. We do recommend daily, or at least weekly, vacuuming with a good quality vacuum. 
  • Clean-up of spills is dependent on the type of spill, and we recommend you follow our stain specific recommendations. 
  • The important thing is to try to clean the spill without the use of liquids. 
  • Dry spills are easiest cleaned by scraping the material with a blunt blade (such as a teaspoon or butter knife), gently scooping up the material from the edge towards the center. 
  • Liquid spills should be immediately blotted or patted dry with a clean absorbent cloth. 
  • Do not rub the spill area as this can force the liquid further into the fiber.

This information leaves many questions unanswered:

  • Would you really enjoy living with a rug that requires DAILY vacuuming?
  • How exactly would you tackle a juice spill on your paper rug if you cannot use liquid to help clean up a spot?
  • Is there a special paper spill remover out there such as a huge eraser?
  • If you are too aggressive, perhaps you could use some White-out to fix it up!
  • Are these rugs really eco-friendly?
  • Are these rugs contributing to the better health of your indoor environment?


If we compare the benefits(?) of paper rugs to those of wool rugs, it becomes apparent that the wool rug will win every time:

  • Wool is a completely renewable resource and it grabs contaminants and dust from the air like an air filter.
  • Wool helps keep the air in a room naturally cleaner and has many pockets in the fibers to hide the grit.
  • You do NOT have vacuum a wool rug more than every few weeks to keep it nice and clean.



Just about every rug that comes in for cleaning at our ABC rug plant has some type of spill on it. The care instructions for the paper rug says to clean without liquids. When was the last time you tried to clean a spill without a liquid? You might be able to pack the area with salt or cornstarch or baking soda to help absorb away the spill element, but you will not get it all which means there will be residue left behind.

If that residue is sugary (if you have kids) this will end up being a meal for insects and if that residue is a little smelly (if you have pets), that will be odor that you may only be able to remove with scissors!

The benefit of area rugs in general is that they can be removed from the home to properly and thoroughly washed. With a paper rug, you are removing the possibility of your rug washing clean. With a floor covering that will have countless feet, shoes, and paws on it, just how clean do you think you can keep that rug in your home?

When you are done with a paper rug, you can always use it as packing material for any shipments you have with FedEx! But if an 8x10 rug is just under $1000,that would be some pricey packing material.


Mold feeds on many things, paper being one of them. Paper is absorbent, and even without a direct spill there could be issues in a high humidity environment. If there were to be several spills over time, it would be difficult to get the twisted fibers completely dry if they ever get wet.


It is frightening to think about bringing highly flammable items in the home. There is no way around this problem simply because paper burns. Every holiday season we see items that ignite from a candle tipped over, or an electrical spark. All it takes is one drape, or a sofa, or a rug to ignite and make a small problem a tragedy.

By the way, this is another reason to have wool on the floor because wool  self-extinguishes so does not carry a flame. This is why airplanes have their fabric and carpet made from wool.

Unfortunately, people do not realize how many of their furnishings or floor coverings are flammable until after a tragedy hits.


A rug is placed on the floor to add to the ‘look’ of a room but it should also feel good to walk on or sit on. It is hard to imagine a paper rug meeting that expectation.

Paper rugs are made to have the ‘look’ of natural fibers like sisal, jute, and hemp. Those fibers are not the easiest to maintain and care for, but they are all VERY strong. Paper is not. And, once again as a reminder, nothing outlasts a fiber like wool.


Paper rugs are called ‘eco-friendly’ but they should be called disposable. It is going to be only a few years (or sooner if they have a major spill or a pet accident) before they end up in a landfill. Compare to a wool rug that will last decades and can be handed down generation after generation.


At ABC, after a thorough inspection, if we feel your rug cannot be cleaned satisfactorily, we will make you aware of any problems and make a recommendation for you. 

The recommended method for cleaning any handwoven rugs has always been to give them a bath. 

Washing Rugs in the RiverWashing Rugs in the River

Our methods are refined quite a bit from when rugs were washed in rivers but it is still rug ‘washing’ and is necessary to thoroughly clean a woven rug properly. Save your money and lots of disappointment. Buy a wool rug!

Paper is meant to be shredded or flushed!!

Remember that we are always happy to help you with a purchase of any rug. 

Some of the information in this article has been rewritten with approval from Lisa Wagner,

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


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Did you know that our ABC Responsible Care Spotter can get those pesky spots out of your carpet and will work equally as well on your clothes and upholstery?

Stop by our office and pick one up.  They are $5.00 + Tax but if you have carpets or upholstery cleaned in your home or business, just request a free one from your Technician.

And don't forget to fill out the form above to download your free ABC Spotting Guide!  

Oriental and Area Rug Washing at ABC Oriental Rug 

Rugs on the wash floor are gently scrubbed before thorough rinsing.

Gentle scrubbing continues. Note the wringer in the background-the next step in the washing process after rinsing.

After thorough rinsing, the rug is sent slowly and carefully through the wringer to take out as much of the water as possible before being hung on racks in the drying room. 

Rugs are hung on a rack in the temperature controlled drying room until completely dry.