Were you lucky enough to acquire a Navajo rug and realize you needed more information on keeping it clean? If you own Navajo textiles, you need to know how to clean a Navajo rug properly to stop the fading and deterioration of the fibers.
Navajo textiles are full of tradition, culture, and historical significance. Navajo rugs and blankets are woven on the loom by the Navajo Native American people. The style of weaving is unique and passed down through generations to create amazing functional art. Navajo rugs are traditionally used on the floor in lower-traffic areas or as wall hangings.
Navajo weaving is a joy to own, but learning how to keep the colors fresh on a Navajo rug can be a process. So much can go wrong while cleaning a Navajo rug. The delicate fibers and dyes degrade if mishandled, wasting your investment. A stain ruins the look. Explore appropriate cleaning techniques to ensure you return your carpet to looking its best without accidentally destroying it.
How to Keep the Colors Fresh on a Navajo Rug
Navajo rugs are stunning pieces of functional art, rich in history and culture. They look fantastic in an array of spaces and make excellent interest pieces. Yet, cleaning a Navajo rug is more complicated than cleaning your average textile.
Even those experienced in working with oriental or Persian rugs may face challenges with safely removing a stain from Navajo materials. Many Navajo pieces must have the dye set before they are cleaned and can be easily damaged and even destroyed during cleaning.
Thankfully, there are steps to take to keep your Navajo rug clean and stain-free. Find out how to clean a Navajo rug with your vacuum cleaner, spot cleaning, a Navajo rug cleaning service, and a few tips on how to avoid damage.
What Are Navajo Textiles?
Navajo weaving is a form of Native American or Indian art created by the Navajo people. An authentic Navajo rug is built on the loom by Navajo weavers. It features a recognizable flat weave and blocky colors.
Southwest American textile culture is known for its Navajo rugs, and contemporary Navajo weavers explore color, geometry, the alphabet, and pictorial images using natural and synthetic materials.
Navajo Indian weavers employ vertical looms. The waft thread is a long, uninterrupted strand of yarn attached to the loom in a continuous figure-eight design. Few carpets made by the Navajo people have fringe. Wool or cotton is used as the warp and wool as the weft in most Navajo rugs.
Synthetic yarn is in the weaving of very few authentic Navajo carpets. Modern variations that combine wool and synthetic materials are an exception, though. There’s an array of popular patterns, including Grey Hill designs.
How to Clean a Navajo Rug With Your Vacuum
Using your vacuum cleaner is one of the most efficient methods for keeping the colors clean on a Navajo rug and avoid letting your area rug smell like mildew and mold. Regularly vacuuming your rug and rug pad helps collect dust and debris and keeps the fibers in excellent condition.
However, never use a vacuum with a brush or rotating brush head, as this degrades the weaves. Use a handheld or upright vacuum cleaner with suction only to carefully vacuum your Navajo rug. Vacuum your piece at least once a month or when the colors become dull or dirty.
Vacuuming is the least damaging and invasive way to keep your textile clean. When done frequently, it prevents the need for further and potentially destructive cleaning.
Spot Cleaning a Navajo Rug
Spot cleaning is an area rug cleaning technique that addresses a small problem spot rather than the whole textile. Spot cleaning is helpful for Navajo rugs as it limits potential adverse effects.
When you spill a drink on your Navajo, Persian, or Oriental rug, it’s crucial to understand how to properly spot-clean it to prevent a problematic stain from forming. Act as soon as you notice the spillage.
Wear some rubber gloves to protect your skin from the dye. Use paper towels or absorbent cloths to soak up as much liquid as possible. Use a patting and dabbing motion, never a rubbing motion. Place the used towels in the plastic sack for easy cleanup as they become drenched.
Continue gently blotting the Navajo rug until no liquid lifts from the weave. If you notice dye running from the rug onto your cloth, use a clean cloth for each colored section to avoid blending. Use a fan on the low setting to help dry out your rug.
Trust a Navajo Rug Cleaning Company
If you’re finding yourself struggling to get a dark burn mark off a large area rug or Navajo blanket, solicit the help of a Navajo rug restoration and cleaning service. Navajo-owned and operated rug cleaning services are familiar with the dyes and weaving techniques and understand the caution required during cleaning.
If you struggle to find a Navajo rug cleaning company, try a Persian rug cleaning business and check if they have experience working with Navajo textiles.
What to Avoid on Navajo Textile Rugs
You’ve probably heard horror stories of people destroying their textiles in an attempt to remove stains from a patterned Navajo rug. Many of the cleaning methods we default to for delicate fabrics are entirely inappropriate for Navajo weaving.
Practices like regular dry cleaning and carpet cleaning cause the dyes to run and risk degrading the yarn. Unlike other rugs, Navajo textiles cannot be beaten or shaken out, which risks breaking the fibers.
Steam cleaning and ironing are also disruptive and cause the colors to run. Instead, you can follow our guide to get stains out of a rug without a shampooer to keep the delicate fibers intact.
Set your Navajo rug on the floor with the rug pad, or mount it on the wall out of direct UV light to prevent fading.
Did this article give you ideas about how to keep the colors fresh on a Navajo rug? It’s horrifying to notice a stain on your authentic Navajo rug or blanket, but don’t panic. While Navajo textiles are notoriously tricky to clean, it’s not impossible. Resist the urge to rush in with traditional cleaners, as these may destroy your rug.
Vacuum your Navajo area rug frequently to prevent harmful dirt, dust, and debris accumulation. Address a fresh stain with careful spot cleaning as soon as it happens.
This eliminates the liquid from the weave before it can set in and become a much more persistent blemish. Navajo textiles are culturally and historically poignant and well worth the extra care it takes to maintain them.
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