Flatweave Rugs (Woven by Hand)

Hand woven rugs with no pile are referred to as “flatweave” rugs. Kilims, dhurries, Navajos, and tapestries fall into this broad category. Some are reversible, and some are not. Some have fringe, and some do not. They are woven by hand from natural fibers (primarily wool, cotton, and silk).

  • Quality wool is a durable and strong flatweave fiber that can take years of use and still look great. It hides soil well.
  • Cotton and silk do not have a great ability to hide soil. They look dirty quickly in traffic areas.
  • Flatweave rugs used on the floor need to be rotated regularly (and reversed if the rug is reversible) to even out wear and tear, and any sun fade.
  • Tribal flatweaves woven on nomadic looms may have uneven edges and buckling that are structural characteristics of the weave.

Hand woven flatweave rugs can last for decades if properly cared for. Fiber protector can help protect the rug from spills, and a proper pad will act as a shock absorber to reduce wear.


Regular vacuuming protects the longevity of all rugs, however, with flatweave rugs this can be a challenge. Strong suction vacuums, as well as rotating brush vacuums, must be avoided. Vacuuming must be done with a hand held vacuum hose with attachment, or an extremely light vacuum specifically designed for delicate surfaces.

Your goal will be to regularly remove the dust settling on the surface of the rug to prevent it from causing wear to the fibers when the rugs are walked on. Use a horse hair upholstery brush to remove surface dust in open areas. Vacuum the surface of the fibers with a hand held vacuum tool as often as you need to sweep the nearby floors. For hanging flatweaves, a horse hair brush can be used to brush the front and back edges quarterly to remove surface dust and to deter insects. 


Colorful and tribal flatweaves are likely not colorfast. Quick clean up is critical to prevent dye bleed. Applying fiber protector to rugs can help boost repellency so spills will be less likely to cause permanent staining, and protector helps repel soil so vacuuming is more successful. Use corn starch or other absorbent powder (NEVER baking soda) to cover the spill to help absorb it up, then vacuum away the powder when fully dry. With many drink spills, or pet accidents, professional cleaning will be needed. 

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