Should You Worry About Oriental Rug Imperfections

Oriental rugs are completely handmade from start to finish. It’s almost impossible for any weaver to produce another rug that’s exactly the same in every way. This means no two Oriental rugs will be identical in every way. Interestingly, it is the same handmade nature of the rug that also results in a few imperfections. These may be caused because the weaver sourced materials for the rug from different locations or used a different combination of plant parts to create the dye. Or it could simply be due to the rug not being machine made.

Common Imperfections Seen In Oriental Rugs


Abrash refers to the color variations that are commonly seen in Oriental rugs. This happens because weavers make the dye using plant parts sourced from their surroundings. They then dye the materials in lots. The color variations may result either because the dye was created using plant parts sourced from different locations or because the intensity of the dye varied from one batch to another.

Rug Fading

Exposure to the sun is the most common cause of rug fading. While this may lighten the coloration a bit, the fading does not really mar the rug’s appearance. It will just give it a softer look. To avoid fading, try to place your rug in such a way that it does not get the direct sunlight. If that is unavoidable, make sure to rotate your rug once or twice a year so it fades evenly.

Rug Shedding

Most Oriental rugs shed when they are new. This is simply the loose bits of fibers that were still embedded in the rug pile after it was sheared. The shedding will reduce and eventually stop after all the loose fibers have fallen off.

White Spots

White spots are more common in older rugs. These are in fact the knots from the foundation that lay hidden under the pile when the rug is new. Normal wear and tear over the years causes the pile to get worn down, which makes the knots noticeable as white spots. If these white spots in your rug bother you, the best solution is to get the rug spot-dyed by an experienced Oriental rug dyer. Do not try cutting these visible knots. It will only make a hole in the foundation, worsening the problem.


Sprouting occurs when imperfectly twisted strands of yarn loosen out after vacuuming or cleaning and stand out above the rest of the pile. The easiest way to fix this is to use a sharp pair of scissors and cut the strand down to the length of the remaining pile. Don’t pull the strand as it may unravel the knot and damage your rug.


Crookedness is not at all unexpected because of the handmade nature of the rug. Weavers don’t use high tech rulers or guides when weaving their rugs. Don’t discount a rug because it does not look absolutely straight to you. The crookedness adds to the unique character of that particular rug.

So should you buy an Oriental rug if you notice any of these imperfections? Absolutely! Don’t let these minor flaws deter you from owning a unique piece of art. It is these many little and large imperfections that give every Oriental rug its own distinctive character that sets it apart from any other rug in existence.

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