Maintain Your Antique Rugs with These Expert Tips from Joanna Mahserdjian

A trunk filled with antique rugs
Photography by Christian Harder

Text by Bethany Adams and Katie Ellis

Nothing makes a wintry day at home feel warm and cozy quite like a one-of-a-kind rug underfoot. Choosing an antique rug for your space is exciting, but selecting the right one can be a daunting task—and taking care of your investment is even more challenging. To help, Joanna Mahserdjian, owner of Upstate Rug Supply based in Hudson, New York, imparts her expertise on the selection, care, and keeping of antique rugs, ensuring your new favorite accessory will add comfort to your cottage for decades to come.

A portrait of Joanna Mahserdjian, owner of Upstate Rug Supply.
Photography by Christian Harder

Antique rugs are definitely an investment, and naturally, you may be concerned about the rug’s life expectancy and how it will hold up to kids or pets before you make a purchase. “One of the things that’s special about antique rugs is that they are at least a century old. They have lived a full life [before] they found their way to you,” Joanna says. “Some have been more heavily used and are distressed, while some were hung on a wall to admire. Either way, they were made to last and be treasured.” Joanna adds that antique rugs are more durable than machine-made rugs, and with some care, they can be passed on as heirloom pieces.

A table topped with folded antique rugs.
Photography by Christian Harder

Whether it’s a one-time purchase or the start of a collection, Joanna says, “buying an antique rug can be approached the same way as buying art for your walls: go with your gut and buy what you love.”

A stack of antique rugs.
Photography by Christian Harder

Rotating your rug—or even moving it to another room now and then—will help ensure even wear over time. “Depending on the amount of foot traffic, you can periodically turn your rug to even out the wear,” Joanna explains. “Using a rug pad also holds the rug in place and helps minimize wear while keeping it from shifting. Even still, handwoven rugs are quite durable!”

A trunk filled with antique rugs.
Photography by Christian Harder

Basic rug care is paramount in protecting your beautiful antique floor art, and Joanna shares that vacuuming your rug goes a long way—just use your vacuum’s hard surface setting and avoid the rug’s fringe. “When deep cleaning, you can vacuum both sides to thoroughly dust the rug. Every once in a while, with mild soap and a garden hose, you can wash smaller rugs outside and let them dry in the sun,” Joanna says. “Be sure to clean your rugs before storing them to help avoid moths. You can roll them, wrap them in craft paper, and tuck them away.”

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