NEED MORE INFO? CALL US AT (928) 445-1718

We are happy to help our walk-in clients also, however, we are often out on area rug deliveries and may not be available if no appointment was made.  

Stiff and Brittle Rugs - What Causes Them and Can They Be Fixed?


Ruthie here once again with Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care in beautiful Prescott, AZ.  Today I just wanted to touch on a condition that I HATE seeing in area rugs that come to us - stiff and brittle.  This is one condition that no rug should ever have because it is a very strong indication that the rug has DRY ROT.

What is Dry Rot?  It’s a weakening of the rug fibers that can (and will) cause rips, tears, splits, and even holes in your rug.  Both extreme moisture and overly dry conditions can cause dry rot in rugs.

One of the major causes of dry rot is animal urine deposits.  Urine has “salt crystals” that hold moisture and cause rug fibers to remain wet for way too long.  It also has an acidic nature that creates the perfect recipe for dry rot when combined with excessive moisture.  You can try your best to spot clean these spots as they happen, but you won’t be able to completely remove all of the urine salt crystals in your rug’s fibers.  

Your area rug will become stiff and crusty with urine salt crystals when there is a big build up of urine deposits that have happened over the course of several months (or even years in some cases).  Dry rot and urine will make your rug stiff - not just the urine!  Unfortunately, unless there is already damage to these stiff areas of the rug, it is impossible to determine the presence and extent of dry rot prior to cleaning your rug.

Obviously, it’s necessary to flush out the urine salt crystals from your rug.  Fully removing urine from rugs requires special neutralizing solutions and the right equipment and technique - something that we here at Arizona Oriental definitely have!  Once the rug is clean, however, it can split, tear, or a hole may appear because of the dry rot in the fibers. I always stress to my clients with rugs in this condition that their rug is damaged and they must accept the possibility that these rugs may tear or split in the cleaning process.

Another big cause of dry rot is SUN DAMAGE, especially here in Arizona!  It’s important to keep the curtains and blinds closed when you’re not home to protect your textiles.  Your rugs aren’t the only ones at risk of dry rot from sun damage, either - your upholstery, wood furniture, and even your wall-to-wall carpet is susceptible to sun damage-induced dry rot.

Other causes include over-watering plants, moisture seeping in from a ground foundation, or anything that may produce enough moisture for your rug to absorb and not dry quickly enough.  Even plastic chair mats at your desk can cause moisture to get trapped in your rugs!

Restoration for rugs with dry rot can become quite costly, depending on the extensiveness and damage done.  It may even be impossible to correct, especially when the damage is widespread throughout the rug.  Missing foundation and face fibers can be added in to rebuild the rug. However, this is a very time consuming skill that comes at a high price from very experienced rug weavers.  Here at Arizona Oriental, we work very closely with rug weavers, enabling us to provide a wide array of repair options, even for dry rot.

Till next time, enjoy your beautiful art for your floor and remember a clean rug is a rug that can last you a lifetime!

Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care serves Prescott, Prescott Valley, Sedona, Flagstaff, and much of the Northern Arizona areas.  We meet the highest standards in professional cleaning of area rugs with rug wash specialists having earned the highest training, including certification as WOOLSAFE FIBRE CARE SPECIALISTS through the WOOLSAFE ORGANISATION.  Such extraordinary certification ensures our client’s area rugs receive the highest quality care.

Give us a call for more information about what to do with your stiff and brittle area rug at 928-445-1718, visit our website at, or stop by Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at our rug washing facility at 565 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (pick-up and delivery also available). 06-06-2019

Fill Out Form