The usual reason for wanting to remove a fringe from an oriental rug is because it has become ragged and many of the threads have become loose or detached. Fringes on genuine hand-knotted rugs are extensions of the warp threads which, with the weft, form the structure for making the knots, and are therefore an intrinsic part of the rug. Machine-made oriental rugs, however, have fringes added to them after manufacture, and removing these will cause little damage.
Authentic Hand-Knotted Oriental Rugs
Step 1: Assess the Damage
Examine the fringing at each end of the rug to determine the extent of the raggedness and damage. Fringes usually deteriorate about 10 to 15 years after the rug was made, and can become practically nonexistent within another three or four decades.
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Step 2: Check the Ends
Check the ends of the rug carefully, to see if the ragged fringing indicates damage to the rug. Once the structural threads lose their tension, extensive reparation may be required to forestall serious damage to the shape and pile of the rug.
Step 3: Choose the Best Option for Your Rug
Do not cut the fringe off the rug. The three available options are to turn the rug so that it receives less foot traffic on that particular part, to turn the fringe underneath the rug to prevent further wear and tear, or to enlist professional help to repair the fringe and the warp threads of the end of the rug.
Step 4: Prepare a Strip of Fabric
Cut a strip of cotton fabric 1 inch wider than the fringe and long enough to run the whole width of the rug. Place this strip under the fringe and smooth out the threads so they lie on the fabric. Place a similar length of cotton fabric on top of the fringe, fold the edges in and pin.
Step 5: Tack the Threads
Tack three horizontal lines along the length of the fabric, catching the threads of the fringe in the stitches. Fold the rug back on itself so that the underside is exposed, and fold both outside edges of the fabric pocket inward by 45 degrees, remove the pins and tack into place.
Step 6: Fold the Pocket
Fold the whole pocket under the edge of the rug and apply two short strips of masking tape to hold it to the back of the rug. Turn the rug back and lay it on the floor. Repeat for the other end of the rug. This is a temporary solution until you can have the fringes repaired by a professional.
Manufactured Oriental Rugs
Step 1: Check the Damage
Check to see if the attached fringing is coming loose from the rug or if only the threads are showing signs of wear and tear. Examine the fringing to see how it is attached to the rug; removal requires careful selection of the holding threads to avoid damaging the overbinding on the ends of the rug.
Step 2: Cut the Fringe Off the Oriental Rug
Use a small pair of scissors to cut the holding threads all the way along the ends of the rug. Don't rush -- spend time making sure of the exact threads being trimmed as you cut the fringe off the oriental rug.
Step 3: Examine the Overbinding
Check along the overbinding of the rug, using a pair of tweezers to pick out the remains of any threads left when removing fringe from the oriental rug.
If the fringe threads get caught by the vacuum cleaner, gently fold them under the rug before using the machine and spread them out again when you have finished. This is one of the reasons why people want to remove the fringes.
Check the qualifications and credentials of the rug repair professional. Genuine oriental rugs need careful handling by an expert in their care and management. When having a hand-knotted rug fringe repaired, the fringe color must match the warp and weft threads. Bleached fringing is not appropriate and will contrast too much with the dusky colors of an authentic oriental rug.