Rag rugs have been made for centuries and most of the techniques are used today. The art of crocheting has also been done for centuries, but braided and woven rugs naturally have been around the longest. Historic crocheted crafts were mostly laces and doilies, until about the 18th century.
Rag rugs in the olden days were made from torn rags or old clothes. So, sometime a choice of colors wasn't available. The rugs were more of a functional floor covering and not to decorative. Although decorative tapestry style rugs were around, only the well off used them. Stacey uses new fabric cut into strips to provide you with a longer wearing rag rug and have a wide variety of color choice.
The rugs are of course machine washable and can be put into the dryer until damp. Remove from dryer when damp, reshape if needed, and lay flat on floor to finish drying. Some special instructions will be given for brightly colored fabrics, and rag rugs with some different techniques. Just like all clothes can not be washed the same. They get softer with each wash! Shake out or vacuum the dirt between washings is all that is needed.
For brighter colored rugs they can have a presoak first in water with about a cup of vinegar or salt to set in the colors. If you have a top loading agitation washing machine you can lift the lid up for about an hour to soak, then set the lid down to finish washing. You can also soak very soiled rugs this way with some soap. Top loading agitation washers can be harsh on rag rugs, so use it on a softer setting. Front loaders work great, although you can't really soak your rugs. Front loaders do the best for washing rag rugs. You can also use vinegar to take out smells in your rugs.
Many people suggest not to use bleach, you can if it is like your cotton sheets. Use good judgment on how to soak or wash your rag rugs and they will last a very long time. Stacey has always been hard on her rugs, especially the ones she made. She washes them on heavy duty on her front loader and uses bleach on fabric you normally wouldn't add bleach and they are still doing just fine!
You have found a great rug at an Estate sale or an auction. Is it really a true vintage rug? Chances are it is just an old worn in rug. The introduction of polyester came after 1950. Making an alternative for brightly colored fabrics. A cotton/poly blend with the introduction of better dyes make the decorator fabrics of today.
The art of making rag rugs is not lost. In fact, crocheted rag rugs are more common and easier to find than 20 years ago. With the introduction of the internet...anyone can find one easily.
Knowing these factors might help in finding that true treasure rug. But, don't dismay that you might not have an antique rug. An old rag rug cost less than a new one and still has a few good years left because of the durability of them.More useful information: