Braided rugs were an important part of early American homes. The craft had its beginnings in the US in New England where winters are cold and rugs were needed for warmth. The rugs were made mostly in rural areas and where access to expensive imported goods was not available.
Originally, braided rugs were handmade by the people who used them. Since nothing in the household was wasted, the material for the rugs came from any available fabric, new or used. Individual braids were made of three stripes of cloth. A round or oval braided rug starts in the center and the braids are sewn together in a coil until the desired size is reached. These rugs are reversible and considerable skill is needed to assure that the rugs lies flat.
Today, most braided rugs are made by machine. Individual braids are made of a central core wrapped by natural or synthetic yarn. The cores are made of a variety of materials, the worst being paper. The braids are sewn together by machine using a nylon filament thread and can be sewn in oval, round, square, and rectangular formats.
These rugs can have the following issues and so you want to choose a cleaner who is experienced with cleaning these rugs and knows what to look for so that your rug is not further damaged:
1) Slits - Braided rugs can have delicate filament and many times it can be broken but can be repaired. Caustion needs to be used when handling these rugs.
2) Paper core - some braided rugs have a paper core - these rugs cannot be submersion washed or they will fall apart.
3) Color fast - some of these rugs have dye bleeding issues
Below is a large 10x15 braided rug we cleaned for a customer. His grandmother made it and it was quite beautiful in excellent condition considering how old it was.