Caring for Rug Fringes


Russ, in Rug Rehab at Steamway Craftmen Cleaning Services, Ames, IA.


Many area rugs have fringes. Fringes come directly from the basic structure or “skeleton” of the rug.  They are those cords which run through the entire rug and are woven around as the rug is made.  Sometimes these cords will be tucked under and a different fringe will be sewn on.  Either way, fringes get their share of damage and need to be taken care of.  If not cared for properly, the entire rug may be susceptible to unraveling.

Even regular use, things like vacuuming and foot traffic, can cause fringes to untwist and deteriorate.  Things like changing the direction of the rug, causing foot traffic to cross it differently, can help.  Likewise, there are issues that rug cleaners must be aware of when cleaning fringes.  Most fringes are made of cotton (a cellulosic fiber) and can develop what’s called “cellulosic browning” after getting wet.  This is a discoloration (brownish-red stain) that is caused by a natural gum called lignin.  Lignin is present in cellulosic fibers such as cotton, linen, and jute.  Exposure to moisture can cause the fibers to turn brown. If a rug dries too slowly, cellulosic browning may occur.  The best way to avoid this discoloration is to dry your rug quickly.  Steamway Craftsmen has high powered fans that help dry your rugs as quickly as possible.  A high ph shampoo can also contribute to cellulosic browning.  Shampoos with high ph levels of 10 or more should be avoided whenever possible.

Another thing to watch for when cleaning rug fringes is dye.  Certain dyes may escape a rug as it is cleaned and can be picked up by the fringe.  Bleach will get your fringes clean, but at what cost?  Bleach can weaken the fibers and change the texture of the fringes, leaving stringy, deteriorated fringes that can break.  If fringes have been damaged by bleach in the past they may break off if you try to scrub them.  In this case it is best to hand wash them gently with a mild acid rinse.    

Call Steamway Craftsmen at 515-232-8938 in Ames, Iowa to keep your rugs looking their best.  We have trained and certified technicians and have been serving the Ames, Iowa area for over 40 years.  We look forward to caring for your rugs!