Let’s begin with the basics. What is a rug fringe? Simply put, a fringe is a strand of fiber which woollen or silk piles are knotted and twisted into, and finally tied around the edges of a rug for aesthetic purposes. It is merely a by-product of the weaving process and has little to add to the usefulness of a rug.
Keep in mind, however, that if even a single one of those strands becomes untied, wears off or is torn off, the remaining knots or strands might follow suit and begin to unravel too. Now THIS has a major impact on the rug and its value.
Most machine made rugs have their fringes sewed or glued on after they’ve been created, in which case you can simply tear off the old fringe and get a new one if necessary. However, with hand woven rugs, those fringes are their very foundation, which is why getting rid of them is extremely difficult.
So what can one do? Well, you can…
Wool is one of the best fibers for a rug because it manages to hide dirt amazingly well. Its fiber consists of various layers of cuticles thanks to which the rug fringe doesn’t look dirty after the accumulation of dust and debris, but rather just a little duller than usual.
Cotton rugs are a different story. A majority of rugs today are woven on a cotton foundation, which doesn’t hide dirt quite as well. To clean cotton fringes, you just have to scrub them till they shine. There is no other way around this, unless you….
Cut them short!
It’s a simple solution to the ‘don’t clean the rug or the fringes will fall out’ problem. And some people find long fringes annoying because they just seem to get in their way. Well, in either case you can simply trim them to a length of your liking. Shorter fringes are also less likely to be caught by a vacuum cleaner or snagged by your shoes.
But remember – in hand-woven rugs, their fringes are their foundations, which means that cutting them very short will lead to the unraveling of the rug’s knots. If you’re hesitant to try this, then you can….
Just flip the rug over, fold the fringes down and back, and put masking tape all over them to secure them into their new position. Avoid using regular tape because it will leave behind an extremely sticky residue (which is very difficult to get rid of). And voila! No fringes. Your rug will look almost the same minus the fringe!
Rug fringes can add to or detract from the look of a rug, depending on your personal feelings towards them – and how well they are maintained. By keeping them clean or removing them altogether if they get too messy, you can make sure that your rug looks great, no matter what.
How do you feel about rug fringe on your rugs? Love it? Hate it? Couldn’t care less? Let us know in the comment section below!