Care of Oriental Carpets With Moths

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Oriental rugs, especially antique rugs, can be priceless, irreplaceable objects in the home. Unfortunately, moths do not discriminate. They will eat any fabric or material that gets in their path, including your precious Oriental rug. Take precautions to keep your rug safe before it is destroyed by munching pests.

A Moth's Lifecycle

  • Contrary to popular belief, the flying moth itself is not what eats your clothing and rugs. Instead, the flying moth lays eggs in the material, and when the eggs hatch into larvae, the larvae eats the rug for sustenance while it is growing. Some moth infestations are completely invisible, with the only telltale sign being an occasional moth flying around your home. Other infestations are more noticeable, and the larvae create a white web across the rug. The web resembles a spiderweb. If you notice small holes in your rugs, or you see moths in your home, begin to take steps to prevent the moths from infesting your Oriental rug before they cause damage.

How to Clean a Moth-Infested Rug

  • Keeping moths from eating an Oriental rug requires frequent vacuuming and other maintenance to prevent larvae from developing into mature moths. Vacuum the entire surface of the rug at least once a week with a strong carpet vacuum. Pay special attention to the corners, fringe, and any other areas where moth larvae may hide. Once a year, flip the rug and rug pad over and thoroughly vacuum both sides of both the Oriental rug and the rug pad. Pull both the pad and the rug away from the area where it sits on the floor and thoroughly wash and vacuum the floor. If you are still having problems with moths, spray the entire area with a non-staining insecticide that contains pyrethrins and is approved for use in the home. Spray the rug thoroughly and keep the room well-ventilated for several hours after spraying.

Storing a Rug to Prevent Moths

  • If you own an antique rug that you have no place to display, you must store the rug so it is not damaged by moths, whether it is being stored in your attic or a storage unit. First, spray the rug thoroughly, front and back, with an insecticide containing pyrethrins. Wrap the rug in thick plastic, or an acid-free cardboard paper. Place cedar chips inside the coil of the rug, then seal the entire rug in a plastic bag. Avoid placing moth balls and other strong-scented moth repellents inside the bag, as it will make the rug smell like these repellents for years to come.

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