Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ in Toms River provides healthy cleaning services for homes and businesses, including carpet cleaning and area rug cleaning. Continue reading for information on tea-washed area rugs:


Tea-washed rugs are very common in today’s marketplace. Tea-washing gives rugs an antique sepia tone effect.

A tea-washed rug has been overdyed with a brown or golden dye and treated with a chemical to darken a rug and make it look older. This treatment is also called herbal wash or antiqued.

Traditionally, this effect was achieved by packing rugs in tea leaves, but today it’s almost always done with chemical treatments or dyes and these treatments can cause three main problems.

First, the chemicals used to tea-wash the rugs can stink. This isn’t always the case, and higher-quality tea-washed rugs should have no odor at all. But sometimes lower-quality tea-washed rugs can smell pretty bad.

Occasionally, someone is sensitive to the chemicals used to create the tea-washed effect. Again, this problem seems to occur more frequently with lower-quality tea-washed rugs, but if you or someone in your family is chemically sensitive, this is something to keep in mind.

Finally, the tea-wash treatment is not permanent, meaning it will wear off and wash off over time and when it does, the treatment will come off unevenly.

High-quality tea-washed rugs shouldn’t have odors, and most people won’t have a problem with the dyes used in high-quality tea-washed rugs. However, even a high-quality tea washed rug will eventually lose its tea-wash treatment although not as fast as a lower-quality rug.

When rugs are tea-washed, they can be soaked in the chemical or dye solution or the solution can be sprayed under the rug. These different methods of application will affect how the rug looks when it starts to lose its tea-washed treatment.

Because tea-washing changes the appearance, it can be used to hide previous color bleeding or stains in a rug. Sometimes, unethical rug dealers will tea-wash a rug to hide existing damage. As the tea-wash wears off, the original damage is often revealed.

Over-the-counter household spot removers are too aggressive for wool face yarns and will almost always take some amount of the tea-wash treatment off. However, even gentle washing can take the treatment off as well, and when it comes off, it won’t come off evenly.

The important thing to know about tea-washed rugs is that the tea-wash effect is not a permanent part of the rug. In most cases, this dye will wash off, wear off or fade over time. When this color loss happens, it doesn’t happen evenly, especially on lower quality rugs.

The chemical treatments stick to wool better than cotton. So, cotton fringes can lose the tea-wash effect fairly quickly, followed later on by the body of the rug.

If you have any questions about tea-washed rugs or any other rugs, call (732) 244-8080, and we’ll be happy to help. And please let us know if you like this video in the comments below.