Why Persian Rugs Bleed And How To Fix It

It’s natural to feel anxious after you discover that some of the colors from your prized Persian rug have started to run or bleed. After all, you would have paid a significant amount for the rug and a color bleed is not what you expected.

The first thing you should know is that color bleeding is not at all unusual in Persian rugs. These rugs tend to bleed a little because of the way they are made and the materials used. This is not something to worry about but there are things you can do to reduce the bleed to keep your beautiful Persian rug looking as bright and colorful as the day you bought it.

What Are Color Runs/Bleeding Dyes

Color Bleeding In A Persian Rug
Color Runs When The Dye Doesn't Bond Strongly With The Wool Fibers.

When fibers are dipped in dye, a chemical bond forms between the fiber and the dye substance.

The strength of this bond influences whether or not the color will tend to bleed or it will stick fast on to the fiber.

Some dyes do not bond strongly with the fiber. Instead they just sit on top of the fiber, coloring it superficially rather than bonding to it. When this happens, the color tends to run or bleed when it is washed in water. The rate of the color bleed depends on the materials and the dye used as well as the dyeing technique.

What You Need To Know About Natural Dyes

Natural dyes are generally obtained by heating certain plants, lichens, mollusks, and minerals in water. These adhere to fibers at varying degrees. Some form strong bonds with the fibers, others form weaker bonds.

Weavers employ different techniques to strengthen the weaker bonds. One such technique is the addition of mordant. Adding mordant helps to improve the colorfastness of natural dyes so they are less likely to bleed easily.

Vegetable Dyes

How To Preserve The Colors Of Your Persian Rugs

Avoid Direct Sunlight
Sunlight can be highly damaging to the rug dyes. If sunlight hits the rug directly, it fades the dyes only in the area that’s exposed to the sun. This uneven fading mars the look of the rug.

Ideally, you should position your Persian rug in such a way that it is not directly exposed to sunlight. If that’s unavoidable, you should try and ensure that the entire rug receives equal exposure to avoid patchy faded areas.

Deal With Stains ASAP
Stains are unavoidable but you can mitigate the damage by acting quickly. The best thing to do is use a clean dry paper or terry towel and blot up the substance.

Water Spills On The Rug
Water Spills On The Rug

Just blot lightly, folding the towel repeatedly so you’re only blotting using the dry area. Do not rub the area vigorously and do not use any chemical, ammonia, vinegar or chlorine to remove the stain.

All of these will just break the fibers and create a white spot in the area.

Avoid Dry Cleaners
Your regular dry cleaner may not be the best person to clean your Persian rug, even if they claim they have experience in this area. Most dry cleaners use chemicals to clean all rugs. While this may be okay for synthetic rugs, they will cause the colors to bleed in a Persian rug, damaging it permanently.

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