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Caring for Navajo Textiles
Navajo textiles are items of great beauty and durability. Whether placed on the floor or displayed as wall hangings, Navajo textiles will last indefinitely with proper care.
Use a thin carpet pad with felt top and non-skid back to prevent slippage and cushion the rug from wear. (Durahold Rug Pads are a good example)
Gently vacuum floor rugs with a non-rotating attachment. Vacuum both sides and periodically turn the rugs over to insure even exposure to sunlight and wear. Never use an upright vacuum.
Vacuum wall hangings in the same manner and turn seasonally.
Keep rugs and wall hangings out of direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light causes fading and deterioration of wool fibers.
Inspect your rugs on a regular basis for evidence of harmful insects. Contact a professional Navajo rug cleaner if you see moths, carpet beetles or damage. Some websites recommend freezing a rug in a plastic bag to kill moth eggs, but this is not a fool proof method unless you keep the rug in the freezer for the full 30 day moth breeding cycle. To be on the safe side, and to protect your valuable investment, always consult with experts.
Never use mothballs or crystals. The chemicals in these products can damage your rug.
Do not whip, snap or vigorously shake your rug to clean it. These motions may break the foundation threads.
Do not wash your rug. Moisture may make the colors bleed and cause mildew. Immediately blot spills with a dry cloth. Consult with a professional Navajo rug cleaner if there is a permanent stain.
Do not slide dining room chairs or heavy pieces of furniture back and forth across your rug. Eventually you’ll wear holes in the textile.
The current recommended method for hanging a Navajo textile is to use 2” wide, self-adhesive Velcro strips. In order to avoid damage to your wall paint from the Velcro adhesive, first screw a thin wood batten (1/4” shorter than your rug) onto the wall. Then apply a “hook” strip of Velcro to the batten. Gently smooth and press the top edge of your rug into the Velcro strip. While this method is satisfactory and distributes the weight of the rug evenly, with repeated turnings for inspection and vacuuming, the Velcro may eventually cause damage to the rug fibers. A better solution is to hand sew a 2” cotton strip onto the back side of the rug and attach a “loop” Velcro strip to the cotton. Then press the “hook and loop” Velcro strips together. Keep in mind that while this method is better for the rug, it is more time consuming and requires re-sewing the cotton strip to the other side of your rug if you rotate it.
Most important to note is that nails or tacks should never be used to hang a rug as this will damage fibers and cause the rug to sag.
If your rug requires long term or seasonal storage, here are a few tips to ensure its lasting integrity and beauty.
Store your Navajo rug in a cool, dry place away from moisture, preferably in a cedar chest or closet. Roll the rug from the short end, around an acid free tube, and wrap with acid free paper. Never fold or flatten Navajo rugs or store them in plastic bags. If you are unsure about the cleanliness and condition of your rug before storage, have a professional Navajo rug cleaner inspect your textile.