If you have an area rug, you may be concerned about the look of its fringe. The tasseled border of your rug can be long or short, but regardless of the length, dirty or frayed fringe can make your rug look unsightly. Here are some tips to keep your fringe looking its best.
Professionally clean your fringe.
If your rug is constructed of wool, the fringe may not look terrible even if it's dirty. Wool fibers, like other animal hairs, have cuticle layers. Dirt tends to be absorbed into the layers, so dirty wool fringe often appears dull but not heavily soiled. A professional cleaner should be able to clean the deep layers of the wool fibers without damaging the fringe.
Cotton fringe does not have the natural cuticle layers of wool, and it may quickly become discolored by dirt. Nevertheless, the fibers are difficult to clean. In addition, white cotton fringe is already more fragile due to its color.
Cotton fringe that is white was bleached during manufacturing. This bleaching process weakens the fringe fibers and can cause them to break or tear easily from stress, such as tugging. If a tassel is broken too close to its tied base, portions of your rug can unravel. It's best to leave the fringe cleaning to a professional.
Cut the fringe.
If your fringe is uneven or frayed, cutting it can make it look neater. However, avoid cutting your fringe too short. Tassels that lead to the foundational threads of your rug can cause unraveling. It's fine to shorten your rug tassels, but be careful not to cut too close to the fringe knots.
Retie untied fringe.
If the tassel knots of your fringe have come loose from abrasion or improper cutting, make sure that they are re-knotted by a rug restoration company, like Tashjian's Oriental Rug Service. Due to the effectiveness of professional "end stop" stitching, professional re-knotting can last the life of your rug. However, if a stitch is erroneously attached to a damaged foundational thread, the stitching can cause several rows of rug knots to unravel. A rug specialist may be able to re-secure the rug edge, but the unraveled rows will be lost.
If the fringe of your area rug is no longer in good shape, it may be professionally restored. Visit a rug restoration specialist to review your options. Even fringe that has sustained significant damage may be reparable.