Accidents will happen, no matter how hard you try to prevent them. Your best preparation for dealing with them is how exactly what you should do. In this chapter, we first discuss damage caused by water and how to deal with it, and then provide a general guide to stain removal. For quick reference, we have designed a stain removal chart that tells you exactly what to do to remove specific stains. And remember that whenever drying is involved, sunlight is best.


So necessary to life but probably the carpet's worst enemy. Accidents with water are everyday occurrences - leakage from potted plants and flower vases, wash buckets knocked over, burst pipes, leaking airconditioners, flooding. Such accidents must be dealt with as quickly as possible, as with all other kinds of damage.

If water is left on a carpet, it may cause the warp as weft to rot. Then, as the area gradually dries, it will turn brittle. Another problem that might occur from water damage is colour run. The more water that has soaked into the carpet for a prolonged time, the more severe the colour run is likely to be. If this occurs, and the damage is severe, you will need the help of an expert who can either bleach out the colour run, or even repile certain parts of the damaged area.You should not attempt to rectify a colour run problem yourself because you could make it worse.


While spills can cause damage to a carpet if left to dry, swift and correct action can be render them harmless. Home methods for removing stains may differ from those used by professionals, but the results are usually just as effective. One of the most important things you need to remember at the start is that you shouldn't try to remove a stain from an old or antique carpet. Once you've soaked off as much of the spillage as possible, seek expert help. Another important thing is the material you use to absorb the liquid. It is crucial to use unstarched, uncoloured cloth or tissue. That red colour in your towel might just get transferred onto the carpet.


In its long lifetime, every carpet will need some amount of repair and restoration, no matter how much care has gone into maintaining it. In the best of conditions, wear and tear over time will necessitate repair; in the worse case, neglect and abuse will make it imperative. There are certain typical types of damage that occur in carpets, and we shall describe them briefly, although we do not recommend that you attempt to handle any of them on your own. This is one facet of caring for carpets that must be left to the professional.

  • Churuk
    Churuk or rot is the most serious damage that can befall a carpet. This usually affects its foundation, and is caused by one of two factors - damp which rots the foundation, or long-term dirt which has worked its way through the gaps between knots and foundation. You will know what the carpet has rot when it feels brittle and sound like it's cracking when you fold it. Nothing can be done once rot has set in, and this obviously lowers the value of the carpet. You can use it, but only in a very low-traffic place, and never folded or hung.

  • Fringes
    Fringes are found at the beginning and end of most carpets. Although they appear decorative, their actual purpose is to protect the knots and pile that make up the carpet. Because of this, it is important that fringes are kept intact. In the course of a lifetime, though, fringes always require some repair because of foot traffic and pets with claws. Some carpets come without an actual fringe, but end of the woven section called a kilim. Individual fibres in this section sometimes work loose overtime, and need to be rewoven to prevent further loosening. Other carpets come with a row of knots after the kilim. These knots serve to protect the kilim from fraying, and should not be untied or adjusted. If any of the knots become undone, they should be retied.

    Foot traffic and pets often stretch or mat the fibres in a fringe. These, over time, begin to give way, and must be repaired or replaced. Long fringes are particularly susceptible to these problems, and should ideally be trimmed to about 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm) in length, which is both attractive and practical. A carpet repairer will repair the damage in one of several ways, depending on the extend of it. He may replace missing strands by sewing in fibres in matching colours; he may replace the entire fringe either by weaving a new one; or he may "stop" the ends of the carpet by oversewing, to prevent the damage going further

  • Kilim Ends or Selvedges
    Kilim Ends or Selvedges are the first stages in making the carpet after the warp threads have been strung on the loom. The kilim end is formed when a weft thread is threaded in and out of the warp threads, and then beaten down with a heavy comb. Some kilim ends are narrow, measuring less 1/4-in.(0.6 cm) wide, while others form a major part of the carpet, measuring about 6 in.(15 cm) or more. Just like the fringe, the kilim acts as protective barrier, and there is cause for concern when threads forming the kilim start coming loose. If not repaired, the threads continue to break away until the pile is reached, and then the knots begin to come apart gradually, row by row.

    Again, the carpet repairer has a few option. He can secure the loose threads by oversewing or blanket-stitching; he may choose to remove all the loose threads and then oversew the closest unbroken line of threads; or if the kilim has been completed worn away, and the knots have been reached, he may remove any loose knots, and then secure the weft thread by oversewing and sewing through a few rows of knots.

  • Side Cords
    Side Cords are formed by two or more warp threads secured by weft threads. These cords protect the pile on the carpet's sides, just as the fringe or kilim protect the ends of the carpet. In most carpets,the side cords have an extra woollen binding to make them stronger. Even so, because they are not made of hard-wearing knots, the side cords come under heavy wear and tear, and are often the first part of the carpet to require repair. No cause for alarm, though, if repaired immediately. If not, the cords may break away leaving the pile unprotected, and the knots liable to start coming undone. Repair ranges from oversewing the loose binding, to reweaving damaged side cords, to actually cutting away the damaged side cords and sewing on completely new ones.

  • Curling Edges
    Curling Edges usually result from very tightly-knotted carpets. The edges curl under, forming a small ridge that, because it is higher than the rest of the carpet, comes in for excessive wear. To prevent this wear, and to ensure flatness, treatment comes in one of two ways. Firstly, a strip of leather or linoleum about 1.5in.(3.8 cm) wide should be stitched onto the back of the carpet along the sides. The carpet will stay flat for as long as the strip is in place. The second method involves sewing through the sides of the carpet in the zig-zag pattern. The stitches should penetrate the lines and knots, and form a support which prevents the carpet from curling. Never glue any material to the curled edge, or glue the edge to the floor. The glue will make the foundation brittle and breakable. Never nail the edge to the floor as the nails will eventually rip the carpet. Some people suggest ironing the curling edge with a hot iron and damp cloth. This is a short-term solution, but the iron's heat will damage the carpet's foundation.

  • Repiling
    Repiling, which means replacing damaged or loose knots, is sometimes required, for instance when moths have attacked a carpet, when fire has singed the pile, or when heavy traffic has worn out certain areas. Repair usually done by actually weaving in new knots, using the same technique as the original weaver.

  • Repairing
    Repairing holes caused by moth attacks, acid pillage or burns can be done in two days. The first is to repile the area by sewing warp then weft threads into surrounding area before knotting; the second is by using a piece of handmade carpet as a patch to the hole. Patching strengthens the carpet and prevents the damage going any further. Never glue or tape a patch onto a carpet. The expected will happen eventually - the glue or tape will turn the foundation brittle, and splinters will form that will but into the carpet.

  • Splits and Tears
    Splits and Tears can occur not only through carelessness and mishandling, but also when a tightly knotted carpet is folded.This can be repaired by rejoining the severed warp or weft threads with new threads.