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How to Determine Quality of a Rug (Part 1)

A well-made Rug becomes an important portion of a home interior designing character instantly. Thus choosing an appropriate Rug for home is the first challenge for the customer. It is important to know the factors and indicators of defining quality of a Rug in order to buy the most approvable one for flooring or wall covering.

Quality of Used Materials

Like other products, first step to ending up with a high quality product is sing high quality materials. For Rugs it means first-grade, unadulterated wool or silk and hand spun. The better the used wool or silk, the better the Rug will be produced.

Good wools often have a certain luster or sheen, but they don’t shine. If a rug has huge color shift from end-to-end and it is not silk, safest way is to avoid it and it is surely at least part rayon or olefin. Synthetics don’t look like wool and rugs being produced by synthetics are better to be avoided. It is common to see rugs produced with low quality wools blended with petroleum-based artificial materials in order to approximate the sheen of good quality wool or silk. It is important to avoid these low quality materials due to their issue of becoming brittle, and petroleum-based materials can take an odd smell over time, especially when they are laid on heated flooring surface.

Another way to determine substandard wool is to check for shedding. Natural fibers often come with small amount of shedding. However plenteous amount of shedding on short-pile rug cause issues. While the material is wool, it is not made of long strands of hair, thus it is not bear longevity of the long-coat wools. The best quality wools are also hand-spun. It is easy to detect by its knobby texture, but it is harder to recognize in hand-knotted rugs.

Oriental rugs made of silk are easier to test. It is simply done by burning a tiny strand of silk. If it burns and smell like hair, then it is natural silk. Any other reaction means the rug is made of another substance. These products unlike the wool ones are extremely shiny when looking down the nap. High shine is a better chance of having actual silk. Some sellers use the phrase” art silk” and it is important to notice that this phrase stands for artificial silk.


For Rugs, there are three general classifications of dying wools used in production which are chemically-dyed, vegetal-dyed and natural wools (no-dye). There is no doubt that vegetal or natural dye wools are preferred over the chemical substances. The vegetal-dyed wools are more aesthetically pleasing than the chemical-dyed ones.

Nowadays, less than 20% of the rugs are made using vegetal dyes, due to their difficulty of working with them and high-level skill requirements that can be achieved over many years of experience. Thus vegetal-dyed rugs are often pricier than the chemical-dye ones. It is important to be aware of the sellers marketing technique which is telling customers that all products are vegetal-dyed, which is not the truth. The truth is that small amount of rugs are completely vegetal-dyed.

Another important thing to check for dying is watching for when viewing rugs is color-fastness. This can be checked by dampening a paper towel and gently blotting the towel over the back of the rug. If the dye is noticeable on the cloth then it indicates that the dyes are less than totally colorfast, thus caution should be used in cleaning procedure. It is obvious that the rug which is not colorfast, is not a great product but this doesn’t mean it should be avoided. However, this types are commonly more inexpensive than the colorfast products.

Natural dye materials are huge in numbers but a few of more common are such as Eucalyptus, Cochineal, Madder Root, Onion, Pomegranate, Saffron, Acorns, Sumac, Walnut, Indigo, Broom, Coneflower, Foxglove, Nettle, Sorrel, Yarrow, Chamomile and Turmeric.


KPI in rugs stands for Knot Per Square Inch. The easiest way to determine the quality of a rug is checking its KPI module. KPI is calculated by multiplication of the horizontal knot count and vertical knot count in one-inch area of the rug.

Oriental rugs are often classified by their knot-count as ranging from “coarse” to “super fine”. This measurement is helpful to know how much effort is put in creating the pile on a rug. It is important to be precise in counting knots. It is easy to get caught up in counting the quantity of knots on the back but it can be followed by forgetting to examine the front of the piece. Being cautious that “art silk” can have 10 times the number of knots contained in a simple nomadic piece of similar size is important. As told “art” in this phrase is used for the word “artificial” and even if the “art silk” rug has millions of knots, it doesn’t change the fact that it is not a natural silk.

More indicators will be introduced in How to Determine Quality of a Rug (Part 2).

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