The original tribal or village kilim area rug was a sturdy product meant to last long with normal care under the trying conditions of a nomad tent or village home. However, no matter how sturdy they were when first woven, vintage and antique kilims do require that bit of extra care.
We can also be confident that today's weavers of repute take pride in their work and produce sturdy, durable kilims. So if you want your kilim rug to last long, make sure to buy one of good quality and then treat it with the care it deserves.
Proper placement is a simple preventive measure that helps to avoid or diminish the possible damaging effects of daily usage. Follow these tips to lengthen the life of your beloved kilim:
Since all textile fibers are subject to breaking and abrasion, the flooring on which a kilim area rug is placed should be even. Additionally it is recommended that padded backing, also called underlay, be placed under a kilim area rug, especially if it is to be laid directly on a hard, smooth floor rather than on one covered by carpeting. A rug pad is also great for keeping a rug in position by preventing slips and bunching, expecially for small and light rugs. They even provide additional cushioning and softness underfoot. Here is a highly recommended rug pad you can order:
Your rug should not be placed in strong direct sunlight (unless fading is desired), particularly not in a position where one part is in sunlight while the rest remains in the shade, since, over time, discoloration may occur no matter how good the dyes are.
Antique or particularly fragile kilims should also not be placed where there is heavy foot traffic. If a kilim rug is placed under a piece of furniture, felt, coasters or cups should be used on the furniture legs to spread the weight, and the kilim’s position should also be varied from time to time to even out wear. Houseplants should not be placed on or near to the kilim rug on the floor as mildew and rot may spread to damage the kilim rug. In general, kilims should be kept away from all moist areas since dampness causes fabrics to rot.
Along with moisture, moth larvae are perhaps a wool rug's worst enemy. This is usually not a critical factor when an kilim or pile rug is in use. Adequately frequent cleaning, airing and leaving under the sun for a few days are the old "tried and true" protective measures, but in our modern age there are also various moth-proofing sprays available - which you can use provided you are certain that they do not contain any possibly harmful chemicals. These websites also give some great advice against moths:
Kilim: The Sleeve
One useful way to hang a kilim is to sew a sleeve onto the back (or reverse) of the kilim (i.e., the side which is to face the wall), along and just below the edge which is to form the top of the hanging. This sleeve is a relatively narrow piece of fabric forming a slot (or bulge) towards the back of the kilim. The slot is designed to hold a straight rod just a little bit shorter than the kilim edge from which the hanging is to be suspended.
This slot must be sewn on in a straight horizontal line, not along the kilim edge or along any band in the kilim design because these edges or bands often do not form straight lines. A kilim rug suspended from a sleeve sewn on along an uneven contour will display wavy vertical folds rather than hanging flat on the wall. The rod, lath or batten inserted into the sleeve can then be attached to the wall by brackets, screws or nails, or suspended by a monofilament or thin piano wire.
Hanging Kilim: Velcro
Another means used to hang kilims is Velcro, with the softer, fuzzy part of Velcro replacing the sleeve (described above) at the reverse top of the hanging, keeping in mind the requirement for the Velcro to be sewn on in a straight line rather than following any kilim contours in order to avoid folds when the rug is suspended.
The stiffer, wiry part of Velcro tape is then fixed to the wall by any suitable method, or attached (glued, stapled) to a wooden slat, which is then mounted on the wall. Following this, the Velcro strip sewn on the kilim rug is pressed onto the strip fixed on the wall to complete hanging the kilim rug. The size and weight of the kilim area rug to be hung will determine the width and number of Velcro strips to be used, the bigger and heavier a kilim rug, the wider the strips and more of them are used.
A fine example of hanging kilims at Yosemite Ahwahnee Hotel
Should you need to store your area rug for a long period here are some "do's" and "don'ts" you’ll find useful: