Years of being folded and rolled, or heavy compression from furniture or large objects such as coffee tables, chairs, couches or other may render your oriental rug with a depressed pile. No need to fret, as these indentations are most often temporary. While one option is to simply leave the rug as is, a more successful and common practice is to steam free the natural fibers into their original pile position. This write-up is specifically intended for those rugs which are of wool pile with cotton foundation and weft, however may sometimes be used with other fibers so long as you check with your local reputable Oriental Rug store. Prior to beginning this process, please read this article in its entirety.*
Begin your process of inspecting the carpet for any stains or soiling
which may be in the vicinity of the area being steamed. Also take note
of any other areas which may benefit from steaming, as the process is
somewhat time consuming. Steaming will render your carpet very moist and more susceptible to absorbing dirt and debris from the surrounding area. Designating an area for your carpet to dry out thoroughly is essential, as is proper care to establish a dirt and dust free environment underneath the rug with
plastic or other clean material.
The rug photographed above is an Indian interpretation of a Bidjar Design. The carpet had been subjected to the weight of a heavy desk and application of weight to simulate an extended period of time under high compression.
The steamer we use as seen in the image above is a standard commercial quality textile steamer. You may rent one from your local home improvement store: DO NOT USE a wide upright steamer. This unit has a small extendable hand held steaming head.
The indentation for which we will be steaming is approximately a 1" diameter circle, however the process of steaming will be the same for almost any situation of pile compression, creasing or heavy folds.
You may begin the process of steaming on the reverse side of the carpet. Locate the problem area on the face of the rug, and begin applying steam through the reverse side of the carpet in small circular motions as seen above. Steam should be distrubuted evenly, without concentration in one area for much longer than 5 seconds. Do not apply heavy hand, allow the steam to penetrate without application of hard or significant pressure.
After application of steam to the reverse of the carpet, you may move to the face of the rug as seen in the two images above. Working with the direction of the pile is best, however circular motions should be fine. Slow and delicate back and forth motion is not recommended, however may be necessary for extreme cases. Agitation is not a good technique. Steam should be distributed evenly, without concentration in one area for much longer than 5 seconds. Do not apply heavy hand, allow the steam to penetrate without application of hard or significant pressure.
Repeat process of steaming both front and back if the pile has not returned to the original height of fibers around the affected area. Once the pile has sprung back to its' original state, you may carefully bring the rug or carpet into a drying area. IMPORTANT: Establish an area for the rug to either hang or drape to dry. Do not attempt to accelerate drying process with exposure to sun, as it is best to allow the rug to dry naturally in its own time.
*A carpet being subjected to high heat should always be clean, and fee
of any dirt. We suggest your rug be thoroughly shampoo washed, as any
dirt, stains or other soiling may become set permanently into the
pile. There are many other processes which are less invasive to remove
these indentation such as soft brushing of the pile fibers (no agitation), slight application of cold water, or allow the organic
fibers of your rug's pile to naturally spring back to position through
use and enjoyment.&nbs