How to care for your Navajo weaving
As both a work of art and a functional piece of décor, it’s essential that you maintain your American Indian textile with proper care and attentiveness. That’s why we want to give you a comprehensive list of ways to clean your Navajo Rug to extend its life and quality.
Basic and Extended Cleaning
Here are just a few things you should remember for proper care of your Navajo
√ Avoid machine washing, steam cleaning or ironing.
√ Never “whip” or use a beater bar on Navajo textiles.
√ Do use a smooth floor attachment to vacuum your rug by hand.
√ Turn and or rotate the weaving from time to time to help with even wear.
If your weaving does need an overall cleaning, you can use a foam rug cleaner for wool rugs offered by Woolite or OxiClean. To remove minor stains, OxiClean has a good stain remover. We have been known to use white wine to blot out red wine (and then sometimes to finish it off with a little OxiClean)
Safe, Bug-Free Storage
If you own multiple Navajo textiles and routinely swap them out for décor changes or to maintain their quality, it’s important that they are stored properly. As such, there are several methods you should use to protect your wool from sunlight, moths, or moisture. These include:
- Rolling rugs in the direction of the warp threads.
- If folding, also fold in the direction of the warp for the first folds to prevent creasing.
- For museum storage you can also use acid-free tissue paper or unbleached muslin while rolling.
- Textiles can be placed in a cedar chest or any chest or cabinet can work with added cedar chips or herbs (such as lavender) to ward off moths.
Direct sunlight can fade the colors in your Navajo weaving. We recommend using a UV treated window or film on windows to reduce (in some cases eliminate) sun damage. When placing Navajo rugs in or around your home, try to avoid direct raw sunlight, spots of light shining in through windows, or broken illumination. Also, rotate your rug regularly to keep colors and fabrics balanced.
Apply Velcro to a thin piece of wooden lathe about ¼” thick and 2-3” wide; the length of lathe should be just shy of the length of your weaving. Tack the wooden lathe to the wall with small nails for proper security.
You may also keep the sticky back on the Velcro and tack the full strip to the wall, but you may need a few more small nails for this process. Then simply press the weaving to the Velcro. This method works well when hanging a weaving on a curved surface or around a corner.
Both methods make it easy to vacuum or rotate the weaving. We recommend 2-3 times per year.
Note: Historic weavings may need an additional strip of Velcro sewn to the Weaving, so it can adhere to the Velcro on the wall.