What Are Tea Washed Rugs?

Are Tea Washed Rugs Antiques?

Tea washing gives rugs an antique sepia tone (reddish brown) effect

tea wash - antique rug

Tea washed rugs are chemically treated with a brown or reddish brown dye to make the rug look antique. Tea washed is also known as antiqued or Henna wash. Tea wash was orginally done by stuffing the rugs in tea leaves.

4 Problems Assoicated With Chemically Process Tea Wash Rugs

1.People can have sensitivity to the chemicals, especially people with allergies.

This is something to consider before buying a tea washed rug. Higher quality tea washed rugs are generally sensitive free.

2. Smell

The chemicals can smell. Of course, just as in any industry there are high quality and low quality. Higher quality tea wash rugs will not have a odor, nor cause sensitivity, but low quality treatments probably will.

3. Tea wash is not permanent

The tea wash will wear off over time and will come off when the rug is washed. Again, the higher the quality of the tea wash rugs the longer it will last. But whether the rugs are high quality or low quality, eventually the tea wash will come off and it does not come off evenly. It will be blotchy, but there is not way of knowing how blotchy the results will be. And you can always have the tea wash re-applied.

4. Tea wash can be used to hide previous problems

Some unscrupulous rug dealers will try to hide damage or stains with tea wash. When the rug is washed the tea wash comes off and out come the stains and or damages. Of course, you will never know about the stains or damage until the rug is washed.

How Do I know If I Have a Tea Washed Rug?

antique rug rug with fringes in front of a chair

The chemicals used in tea wash rugs adheres to wool better than cotton. So you may notice the color loss in the fringes first. You can try rubbing in the direction of the pile with a dry clean white cloth (this is called cocking) to see if any dye comes off.

Also, spot removers that you buy over the counter are too strong and aggressive for wool and will remove the tea wash. If you’re going to try with method (not recommended) make sure to try it in a small inconspicuous area, like the fringes or a corner.

We test with a 24 hour process to determine the colorfastness of a rug and let out clients know of what to expect. If you have any questions regarding your rugs, please feel free to give us a call or schedule a cleaning and we will be happy to help.



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