Silk rugs can range from 100 to over 1,000 knots per square inch in hand woven rugs. The production cost of silk is high, and the labor in the higher quality rugs can make some of these works of art quite an investment. Many owners of smaller silk rugs will display them on the wall as art rather than walking on them.
Silk rugs can last for decades if properly cared for. Silk does deteriorate after a century, so antique silk rugs and tapestries need special handling and care to help to preserve them.
Regular vacuuming protects the longevity of all rugs, however, with silk 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. You may require different tools for your silk and wool rugs.
Your goal will be to regularly remove the dust settling on the surface of the rug to prevent it from reaching the base of the rug. Dust and grit will wear down silk fibers if there is regular foot traffic. Use a horse hair upholstery brush to groom the fibers and 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.
Most colorful silk rugs will have dye bleed when spills occur. Quick clean up is critical. Applying fiber protector to silk rugs can help boost repellency so spills can 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.