When you hear the word "Antique" you know that the item in question is old, but what about just making items look old?
It is done all the time with furniture finishes and clothing and it is also done with area rugs too. It is very easy to make a rug look old and yellowed, but it can be easy to remove with improper cleaning. Back in Sept of 2008 I wrote about a lady who's rug changed from a golden colour to a off white after she had used a carpet shampooer on it. This was because her rug had been "tea washed" to make it look antiqued and when she added warm water and shampoo it removed the tea wash.
Tea wash is done by using any of the following actual tea, herbs, synthetic or chemical wash and is applied to the rug after it has been made. A tea wash can also be applied to the fringes as well.This is done because a white fringe doesn't look good on a golden coloured rug.
The fringes are tea stained after the rug is made. Here is a little video about tea stained fringes.
It doesn't make a difference whether the rug is wool or synthetic, machine woven or hand knotted. If the manufacturer wants a golden fringe they will dye them after a rug is made. Here is another blog post about tea stained fringes on a wool Dhurrie/flatweave rug.
Now not all golden fringes are tea stained. Some are actual dyed cotton that remains golden colour the life of the rug, minus any spills and dirt. It is always best to push back the last row of the rug fibers to see if the fringes are a different colour. Rugs that do have tea stained fringes are not a bad rug to buy, just as long as you are aware that the fringes may faded back to white.
Here is to many beloved tea stained rugs, RugloverMary.