Understanding Kilims and their care

A Kilim is a type of pileless rug crafted with a flat-weaving technique to create an often striking and colourful geometric design making them a popular floor covering. The weave is described as a tapestry-style weave and has slits or gaps to separate areas of colour through linking fibres. However, these rugs require special treatment to preserve their quality.

Origins and design of Kilims

Kilims are traditionally made in nations which were formerly part of the Persian Empire like Iran and the Balkans. Their use dates at least as far back as the fourth or fifth century, and today they remain much-loved floor coverings for western households.

Due to their affordability compared to pile rugs, new rug collectors often begin with them. However, despite their secondary status, Kilims are increasingly in demand and can command high prices.

Distinctive imagery can be found woven into many Kilims including a female figure with hands on her hips (fertility), an Amulet (good luck), a scorpion (protection from stings), a wolfs mouth (protection for sheep) and an eye to ward off evil.

Caring for Kilim rugs

In home care, Kilims require cleaning by hand using a mild cleaning solution and vacuuming with a soft brush attachment to avoid tears. However professional cleaning is advised to protect Kilims from any harm during maintenance. As well as preserving their weave, dye loss is another concern when cleaning Kilims. Unstable vegetable dyes are often used to create colours which can lead to migration during cleaning.

At the Rug Cleaning Studio, we use a free-of-charge dye stabilisation process before cleaning Kilims to ensure they keep their vibrant colours. Call us now for help with your rugs.

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