There are many reasons why people at one point or another need to store their rugs or kilims for an extended period of time. If you follow just a few guidelines, you can minimize many of the risks associated with storing your valuable rugs and kilims. Unfortunately, there is no way to eliminate the risks of moth damage completely, but follow these guidelines, and you’ll at least minimize the risk of having your rugs or kilims damaged while they are in storage:
1. Whenever you store wool rugs or kilims, you should always have them professionally cleaned first. Moths are attracted to dust and dirt; storing a dirty carpet is very risky and greatly increases the chances of having your piece damaged by moths.
2. Wrap the carpet or kilim in a cotton sheet or any other natural material that will allow the rug or kilim to “breathe.” Never store your rugs or kilims in plastic. Plastic or other similar sealing material provides the ideal humid environment for moths to flourish and devour your wool items.
3. Store your rugs and kilims in an area that is exposed to cross-ventilation. Closets are among the worst places you can store your wool rug or kilim because it provides an ideal dark and stagnant environment to which moths are attracted.
4. Keep your rug or kilim away from other wool products while it is in storage.
5. It may seem obvious, but never store your rug or kilim in an area that you know has had a moth infestation.
6. Every few weeks, open your rug or kilim for a day and place it an area where it can be exposed to some sunlight and cross-ventilation (although you may not want to place an antique rug in direct sunlight if it will cause it to fade). Examine the piece for any signs of moths or moth damage and if you find any, take it as soon as possible to a professional Oriental rug cleaner and restorer to have the problem addressed. Do not procrastinate and give moths more time to extend the damage.
Lastly, remove your rug or kilim from storage as soon as you can find a good home for it. Rugs and kilims were made to be enjoyed so never store them for longer than you have to. Follow these guidelines and you’ll go a long way to minimizing the risk of having any damage done to your handmade rugs and kilims while they are in storage.