Fringe: A Love/Hate Relationship

Some rug owners LOVE it… most rug cleaners HATE it. Why the drama?

When the rug is new, the fringe tends to be bright white and immaculate. It looks brand new.

Rug owners often send their rugs to be professionally cleaned because the fringe tassels have become dirty and gray. They want them back to white and brand new.

This white is not natural. It never was. These pearly whites are not raw, just like the Hollywood smiles (despite their coffee consumption). These pearly whites are enhanced with hydrogen peroxide or other bleaching agents.

This white fringe will also be “enhanced,” you’ll know that if you use chlorine bleach repeatedly on cotton tees, they will turn yellow and tear. This means the fringe will tear and break from foot traffic or even your vacuum cleaner.

Both rug owners and cleaners who are not skilled make the mistake of using hydrogen peroxide or bleaching agents to “clean” up the fringe.

Unfortunately, bleach is not an effective cleaning agent. You will need to use a cleaning solution and some elbow grease to remove dirt from your fringe. The majority want to avoid taking the time to do it right, so they reach for bleach.

What would happen if you washed heavily soiled cotton shoelaces in hot water with bleach?

You’ll get a hint… it’s terrible.

You can clean them by soaking them in water, scrubbing them with a scrubber, and using some detergent. How can you make them look brand new after years of abuse? Anyone can find that a difficult task.

This happens to rugs that have been left uncleaned for over a few decades, and the fringes are VERY dirty. Owners expect a miraculous. Many rug cleaners dislike edges. The less experienced might grab bleach to achieve a quick look.

Many people do not know that bleaching the fringe by the rug manufacturer before it is sold can cause deterioration in the cotton fringes. This can be made worse with subsequent attempts to “whiten.”

China is known for its aggressive whitening. You can see their particular fringe here.

I don’t like fringes, particularly long fringe tassels. Sometimes I wish to grab some scissors and remove those strands completely… but I always have to stop myself.

The fringe tassels, you see, are the foundation warp fibers in a handwoven rug. It is, therefore, a big NO-NO to cut them off, as the rug will unravel.

It is better to hide the fringes behind the rug. Use masking tape (masking leaves little adhesive on cotton) or fabric to cover the fringe and hold it under the rug.

Hide the fringe to avoid having to bleach them to make them WHITE. They also won’t break and cause the rug knots to pull away, causing the rug to unravel.

Well-made handwoven rugs should last for several lifetimes. They should last longer than us, our children, and even our grandchildren.

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