When our customers seek information about safe rug storage, they are typically most concerned about how to prevent moth damage. A rug in storage, especially if it has not been professionally cleaned and properly prepared for storage, can be irreparably destroyed in a relatively short time. And the culprit can run the gamut from moths to beetles to vermin to moisture!
Any rug that is unattended (such as under furniture, in a dark area, or stored) and/or has foodstuff or protein substances, such as accumulated pet hair, can attract moths. Urine, whether animal or human will also attract moths. This is important to note if there are pets in the home.
is the larvae, not the adult moths that cause the damage. Moth larvae
can digest protein fibers such as wool, silk, and specialty hair fibers
on wool and other natural fibers, but they will also find and eat
protein substances found on synthetic fibers. That means your synthetic
area rugs and textiles made from nylon, acrylic, polyester, etc. can
also attract moths and other insects if they are dirty.
It is important to note that though you can see adult moths and larvae, moth eggs are microscopic. If you have seen moths flying around, you probably have an infestation somewhere. Even if you don’t suspect moths and you are concerned about safe storage for your rugs, you should assume your rugs are harboring moth eggs.
Unless a rug is very old and fragile, rolling it for storage is generally the most beneficial. Folding, rather than rolling a rug, especially if it is stored for a long period time, may cause creases that may be difficult to steam or clean out. If possible, roll the rug around a cardboard support tube.
Roll wool rugs with the pile side up, just as they lie on the floor. Silk rugs or fragile wool rugs would be better rolled with the pile side out so there will be less pressure on the foundation.
All area rugs should be wrapped for storage!
Wool rugs must be allowed to ‘breathe.’ Wool fiber holds up to 30% of its weight in moisture and can still feel dry. The fiber needs to take in and release that moisture.
Therefore, wool rugs that will be stored for an extended length of time should be wrapped in a cotton sheet, a canvas drop cloth, or ideally, in a permeable wrap such as Tyvek, which will keep out any insect or vermin invaders as well as spilled moisture from the outside, but will allow the wool inside to breathe.
Never wrap a wool rug completely in plastic!
Synthetic rugs, as well, would benefit from being wrapped properly for safe rug storage to prevent damage from insects, vermin, and mold and mildew.
The very best place to store any rug is in the same environment as your home, perhaps behind the sofa or on the top shelf of a closet. (Make sure to periodically unroll your rug, if possible, to check on its condition).
If you must store the rug in an area such as a basement, garage, or attic, make sure to elevate it off the floor and choose an area with the least amount of heat and humidity.
Do not use these products! They act only as a minor repellent to the adult moths and cannot kill the eggs or moth larvae.
There used to be a belief the strong smell of cedar would be offensive to the moths and cause them to look elsewhere to lay their eggs. To some small degree, this may be true. Unfortunately, the cedar will not have any effect on the eggs or the rug-eating larvae.
Mothballs, flakes, and crystals, can cause toxic reactions in some people. Inhaling the active ingredients in these products may cause irritation to the nose, throat, and lungs. Exposure to mothball vapors over a long period of time can cause headaches and may lead to liver and kidney damage.
It can also be very difficult to remove the odor of these chemicals from a rug.
Commercial products that contain the moth repellent magnesium silico-flouride are considered safe. They do not kill moths, larvae or eggs. Instead, they work by changing the taste of the wool, making it less appetizing to the insects. (Check to make sure there are no toxic ingredients added to make it more potent such as piperonyl butoxide.)
The chemical generally lasts up to 3 years or until the rug is washed again. It has no residual odor and is not harmful to people. A rug should be thoroughly cleaned and treated by a professional such as ABC before storing. These products can also help protect clean rugs that are on display in your home or office from being disturbed by insects.
At our ABC plant, we use a moth treatment which contains pyrethrins, an extract derived from the Pyrethrum daisy or Chrysanthemum. Pyrethrins can rapidly penetrate many insects and paralyze their nervous systems.
Pyrethrins are considered to be nontoxic to humans and are approved in the U.S. for use on certified organic farms. We use it carefully in our cleaning plant with the full knowledge it can also kill beneficial insects. It is also important to note it is toxic to fish and amphibians and should be kept out of storm drains and waterways. Pyrethrins are biodegradable and break down within a few days in sunlight.
Some rug cleaning companies use a much less invasive method involving large freezers. Rugs with any existing infestation will be frozen long enough to kill moths, larvae, and most eggs. They are then thawed and refrozen to kill any surviving eggs.
Please remember that any severe infestation in a home or business requires a licensed pest control operator for successful, safe, and professional results.
We provide the services necessary to properly treat and clean your rugs, including wrapping them to prepare for safe rug storage. We also have a complete rug repair department if your rug has already been damaged.
Please call or text our office at 607-272-1566 if you have any questions. We have a combined knowledge of all things rugs of over 100 years!
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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co.
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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.