Sunshine on Your Rugs: Yes or No?

is sunlight on rugs good or bad

Sunlight is a well-recognized mood enhancer for human beings. We thrive in living environments that let in plenty of natural light. In a home, that can mean having lots of windows and even skylights to let in the sun. But all that UV radiation can cause slow wear and tear on furnishings. For example, natural fibers that are exposed to ultraviolet rays eventually become brittle and prone to breakage.

A rug’s colorful dyes are broken down by sunlight as well in a process called photodegradation. The dyes used to give a textile its beautiful colors contain compounds called chromophores that absorb light in particular wavelengths, letting only certain colors of the light spectrum reflect off and reach the eye. UV radiation agitates these compounds and causes the chemical bonds to break so that they no longer absorb light in the same way as before. When this happens, the colors fade and appear bleached. This is why an ideal location for an oriental rug is a fairly low traffic area in an interior portion of the home.

Rotate, Protect, Repeat

Retouching the intricate pattern to restore the color of a Persian rug is a complex and costly process. This is why it is important to keep rugs away from regular exposure to direct sunlight. If you really want to place a rug in a sunlit spot, remember to rotate the rug on a regular basis. This at least keeps the fading more even so one end of the rug does not appear lighter than the other. Rotation has the added benefit of evening out the effects of foot traffic. Outfitting windows with UV blocking film is another inexpensive way to slow down sun damage for your rugs.

The Exception to the Sunshine Rule

Sometimes, short-term exposure to sunlight is actually a good thing for natural rugs. For example, a wool rug that has been exposed to moisture may become a haven for mildew. Hanging the rug outside on a clothes line gives it a chance to air out and dry quickly. UV radiation is also a natural microbe killer. A good dose of sunlight can reduce the likelihood that the rug will develop an unpleasant odor from mold or bacteria. Hang your rug with care to avoid stretching or damaging the fibers, and be sure to take the rug indoors before evening so it does not absorb moisture from the night air. For more advice on how to care for and restore your rugs, contact Ayoub N&H™ Carpet and Rugs today.