I have limited experience in the rug shopping area. Let me be even more honest – I have no idea what to look for. At our old house, Matt picked out his office rug based on design, our old dining room rug was a hand-me-down, and we had a custom-bound area rug made for our den.
As luck would have it, A Cleaner World has an excellent source, think Greg Henderson, with a head full of rug-related knowledge. Here’s what he told me:
- Look for a rug with a tight weave, which will be able to handle more foot traffic, and fairly long fibers. There are two tests for this. First look at the underside of the rug to make sure it is tightly woven. Second, run your fingers through the fibers to make sure they stay in place.
- Decide on fiber content, which will affect the durability of your rug. Even though it is more expensive than synthetic fibers, wool is the best fiber for high traffic areas because it rarely shows a worn path, holds its color well, and is naturally stain resistant. The stain resistant part is particularly appealing to me given that we will be placing this rug in the dining room. Greg isn’t discounting synthetic fibers, however. He suggests that they might be a great option for rooms with less traffic, like bedrooms.
- Check for color fastness. Given that it is going in the dining room – both a high traffic room in our house and the place where my 8 year old son will eat, I know regular rug cleanings will be needed. The last thing I want is to enjoy it for a year and then have it fade or bleed after one cleaning. Greg suggests testing it before purchasing by taking a white handkerchief along when shopping. When you find that perfect rug, dampen the cloth with hot water and rub it over a colorful place on the rug. If the color on the handkerchief is light, then the dye is strong. If the color on the handkerchief is dark, then there will most likely be color bleed into the lighter colored fibers.