What Is Color Run in Oriental Rugs?

rug dye bleed

Color run is a common issue in oriental and other decorative rugs made from natural fibers. The intricate weaving of contrasting colors makes these rugs beautiful. But having a rich red right next to a brilliant ivory does mean there’s a risk that some of the dye will bleed from the darker color into the lighter area. It’s common for pale areas of a rug to take on a pinkish or discolored tinge.

What Causes Dye Bleed?

  • If excess dye is not washed from the yarn before weaving, it may migrate when the rug is first washed.
  • Some dyes are simply not colorfast and will run upon contact with water because they were not properly set.
  • Even a fairly stable dye may bleed with prolonged exposure to water or pet urine.
  • Added colors painted on to the fibers to touch up or brighten a rug after weaving will often bleed into surrounding areas.
  • High heat during cleaning and the use of high pH cleaning agents can cause rug dyes to run. Silk rugs tend to be more susceptible to color bleed than wool rugs.

Preventing Color Run During Cleaning

Colors may run if an alkaline cleaning solution is used (it breaks down the acid bond between the fiber and the dye). At-home carpet cleaning agents are typically alkaline, and the residue will build up in the rug over time, leading to color bleed. This is one reason to avoid cleaning natural fiber rugs at home. They need to be professionally washed. Even then, care is required to prevent damage.

A professional oriental rug cleaning company, like Ayoub N&H™ Carpet & Rugs, always dye-tests a rug before washing to determine the likelihood that the colors will run and to identify the correct cleaning agent to use. We may apply a stabilizing solution that temporarily reduces the risk of dye bleed during cleaning. Previous color run can sometimes be reduced or corrected using careful hand-application of whitening (color stripping or oxidizing) agents. However, reversal of dye bleeding cannot be guaranteed.

To have your Oriental rugs properly cleaned, contact us today. Ayoub N&H™ offers local pickup and delivery services for your convenience.