Rug Storage

Rug Storage

The first step in safely storing your rugs is to learn a little about moths. Moths are picky pests that eat animal fibers such as wool, silk, cashmere, angora or fur, or any other materials that contain keratin. However, they only eat animal fibers that are idle and undisturbed. What do we mean by that? Take, for example, the portion of a rug under a bed or a couch that rarely sees any disturbances such as foot traffic or vacuuming. Or, a carpet placed in the closet or attic. These rugs would be ideal candidates for moths since they are idle; they are not being disturbed. Moths have a way of knowing which fibers are idle and when they find a suitable location, they lay their eggs.

It is important to realize that moths do not distinguish between clean and dirty wool. They distinguish between disturbed and undisturbed wool. Although a cleaning of a rug will cause its fibers to be disturbed, there will come a point in time when these cleaned fibers are going to become idle cleaned fibers. We estimate that any rug, dirty or clean, left idle for a period of at least six months is at risk of becoming infested with moths. This means that a cleaning alone will not prevent your rugs from moths if left idle.

What Does Moth Damage Look Like?

Moths do not eat cotton. Since most rugs are woven with a cotton foundation, moths eat the wool pile leaving only the carpet’s cotton foundation. The image below shows moth damaged that occurred in a customer’s house under a coffee table in the center of the living room. The carpet’s cotton foundation is left intact while there are patches of missing wool pile. The eggs and larvae have been removed.

An example of an oriental rug with moth damage.
An example of an oriental rug with severe moth damage.

Fortunately, these damages are completely repairable. View before & after examples of our museum quality rug restorations and learn more.

Can I Prevent Moth Damage Without Chemicals?

Yes. Moth damage can be prevented by regularly disturbing wool. For example, we recommend owners of carpets to vacuum every portion of both sides of their rugs every three to six months. Unless moths have already laid eggs somewhere else in the home, this method of disturbing the wool regularly will fully protect your rugs from moths. Keep in mind that this applies to all keratin containing fibers including things like wool suits and silk dresses in the closet. If, for example, moths have found idle wool in an attic somewhere, they are more likely to spread to more dangerous low to medium traffic areas.

If you are worried that moths may be in your home, the best way to find out would be to check the edges of your carpets as well as areas under furniture. If possible, check the back of the rug too. If you see areas that are missing wool but the cotton foundation remains, it is likely that you either have moths or have had them in the past.

Moth Proof Bundles

Moth Proof Bundles, or MPB’s for short, take moth protection to the next level. An MPB is ideal for rugs being stored either with us for over six months, or for rugs being stored in a storage facility. We guarantee rugs wrapped in an MPB to be moth free for up to ten years as long.

Spraying repel on an oriental rug to prevent moths.
An oriental rug wrapped in an moth proof bundle and ready for safe storage.

Storage Costs

We require all rugs stored with us for six months or longer to be wrapped in a Moth Proof Bundle.

Moth Proof Bundle $2 / Square Foot
Storage of an 8×10 or Smaller $10 / month
Storage of Rug Larger than 8×10 $20 / month