Sometimes rugs are improperly stored and end up becoming a meal for bugs. This can even happen to rugs sitting on a floor for years without being moved. Carpet beetles and moths regularly make full meals out of undisturbed areas. Sometimes, however, light bug infestation can be remedied, and the carpet or rug can be restored. Here’s Aladdin’s tips to protect rugs from being eaten by insects.
While rugs are in storage
If you’re putting a rug in storage, here’s how to properly take care of it to protect it from bugs.
Washing will remove any bugs that may have stuck onto the rug, while also removing any impacted contaminants or dirt – that can also eventually dry out the cotton foundations of the rug, and potentially cause dry rot. You can usually tell if a rug has dry rot based on if it cracks when you roll it up. Dry rot can also be caused by improper washing out of any soap residue. Most professional rug washers will apply an insect repellent to the rug as a final step to washing.
Rolling up and Wrapping
We don’t recommend folding up rugs, as it stresses out their foundational fibers. It’s best to roll rugs tight from the bottom end first (when you pet the rug, if you’re going with the grain it will lead you to the bottom end.) We recommend rolling silk or older wool rugs with pile pointing outwards, and wrap in plastic for protection. If you’re rolling your rug with the pile inwards, wrap it in paper as opposed to plastic – but choose Tyvek paper rather than regular brown paper. NEVER WRAP WOOL WITH PLASTIC. Wool carries a lot of natural moisture, and wool wrapped in plastic can start “sweating” causing mildew.
Make sure to keep rugs stored in high areas, far from the possibility of being affected by a flood. Never store heavy items in top of a rug, as the weight over time can cause extreme foundational damage to the rugs. Always check any rugs in storage on an annual basis to make sure that all packaging is securely intact. If the rug was truly professionally cleaned and had insect repellent placed on it, you can check up maybe once every two years, but you will need to reapply repellent every two to three years. Tyvek paper, however, can be rescued.
If your rug already has bugs
- If your rug has an infestation, inspect it far from any of your other rugs, to prevent them from spreading.
- Consider sending the rug to get fumigated by a licensed pest control facility.
- If the infestation is only in one area, cut out that area to make it smaller, but still usable.
- Measure the cost of any reconstruction versus a simple disposal and replacement of the rug.
- Rugs eat carpets from the inside out, so you never really know how much damage was truly done.
- Bugs don’t like sunlight or air, which is why they hide in dark areas. If the rugs have very limited bug action, simply take it outside into direct sunlight and leave it there for a few hours (making sure both sides of the rug are directly exposed to the sun) and then brush it with a stiff bristle brush to remove any bugs or larvae.
- One action you can take is to place infested rugs inside an airtight plastic bag with a ton of mothballs, seal it, and leave it for a few weeks. When you reopen the bad, don’t breath any of the air coming from it, as the majority of mothball fumes are poisonous.