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By Karen Youso

RISMEDIA, May 12, 2008-(MCT)-Odors, unless caused by pets or mildew, have to do with how the rug was made. Typically, odors occur when rugs are made by punching fibers into a latex backing, sometimes called hand-tufted. It’s the type of latex used that causes the odor, which is sometimes described as a burning rubber smell, moldy or acrid. It can start within weeks or over time. Odors can become more noticeable with high humidity or when there’s less air movement in a room. Cleaning or treating the rug won’t help. It’s best to move on.

If it isn’t a punched rug, however, cleaning may solve the problem. A rug cleaner can help you identify the type of rug and determine whether it’s better to clean it or throw it away. But don’t invest in cleaning if the rug is punched unless the cleaner will guarantee odor elimination.

The next time you buy a rug:
– Learn about
the different types of area rugs: hand-knotted, hand-tufted, machine-made, etc. Although not all machine-made or hand-tufted rugs will have odor problems, they are more likely to cause problems.
– Buy from a reputable company or store, one that will be around if you should have problems. Carefully review the company’s return policy.
– Keep copies of sales slips and all materials that come with the rug purchase.
– Be careful when buying secondhand rugs, especially those you can’t “nose test,” such as from online sites such as eBay or Craigslist. What seems like a good deal may not be.

(Includes information from Keljik’s Oriental Rugs in Minneapolis.)

© 2008, Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.