Maintaining Your Oriental Carpet: Moth Control

  • Oriental rugs need regular owner care
  • Pest control is critical for rug maintenance
  • Damaged rugs need professional repair immediately

As stewards of these art pieces, there are some things we need to do ourselves, on a regular basis, in order to keep oriental rugs in the excellent condition they deserve. One of the critical elements of care is pest control.

Pests, particularly moths, are a real danger to your rugs. Moths love to hide in dark areas, making us unaware of their presence. I’ve written before about how they will lay eggs in inferior webbed padding, but this isn’t the only place they’ll be found. A skirted couch sitting on a rug, will be an attractive home for moths. I also want my clients to be careful about storing their carpets in the attic or in a closet. Those are usually terrible places for rugs. We’ve all had our wool sweaters in the closet for a season and then take them out to wear and discover a hole. The closet is warm and dark, a happy environment for moths. They will lay eggs that grow into larvae and eat the wool threads while they are growing.

For clients who have moth problems, I recommend regular treatment at their home with foggers. There are those made especially for moths. They can be bought fairly inexpensively, usually at a hardware store or online, and they will kill both flying moths and larvae.

The lifespan of the adult flying moth is about 21 days. Once they start to fly, they find a dark place to lay a new set of eggs. Understanding this, the trick to using a fogger is that you need three passes. Not all the moths will be destroyed with the first fogging. You have to wait for about two weeks, and then do it again, so any larvae left from the first round that has now developed into a moth will be taken care of. Then, it needs to be done one more time, about two weeks after that. With the third fogging, all the moths that might have been in your home should be taken care of. You still want to be vigilant looking for new ones. If you’ve had them once, you can get them again. Anytime you see a new hole in a sweater and especially if you see any of them flying around, you need to fog like this.

Please be extremely careful when fogging. Follow the instructions on the product you’re using, get all the kids and pets out of the house for at least several hours, and cover anything that might come in contact with your cooking or eating utensils. You need to put all your food away. You’ll want to wipe all your countertops off before you put any food on them. The foggers are effective, but they need to be used properly.

If you do end up with a repair that needs professional attention, do not delay it. When rugs are damaged, putting off the professional repair that is needed is tempting; if you’re careful, no more damage will be done, right? There have been so many times when I see a rug with delayed repairs that would have cost half as much, or even saved the rug, if only they had been done in time. If you think about it like a car, you wouldn’t want to delay fixing an oil leak because it could quickly ruin the entire engine. It’s the same thing with a rug. A relatively small amount of damage can turn a rug into a “rag” quickly. If you need professional repair, please visit us at Sara’s Oriental Rugs – we would be delighted to help you!Sam Ramazani is an Oriental carpet educator, appraiser, broker, and skilled repair craftsman. With his daughter Sara, he owns Sara’s Oriental Rugs in Louisville, KY, providing beautiful handmade rugs, as well as expert rug cleaning and repair.


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