Most rugs are highly practical and serviceable furnishing items and can be cleaned and invisibly restored, with varying degrees of expense and success. There is a point at which the price you paid for your rug is such that you should have it cleaned or restored by a trusted expert. Otherwise it should be thrown away or re-cycled and a comparable, or better version, purchased.
Prices for cleaning vary tremendously depending on the process. There are plenty of carpet cleaning companies who say they can clean rugs, when in fact they know nothing about the product nor the best way to clean them! This is especially true of higher quality or older handmade wool or silk rugs.
Rugs can be wet cleaned, either on a hard surface with the use of water and specially formulated chemicals and a power brush or placed in an immersion tank to soak and then be brushed. They can also be dry cleaned with the use of crystals, which is required for tufted rugs which are held together with a glue backing.
NB. There are a few cleaning and restoration companies who are known to grossly overcharge for their services, especially in London, so please ask me first as to who to trust. Please contact me with images of your rug and for details of an expert in your area.
All handmade rugs – whatever their pile material – can be invisibly restored as the damaged area(s) can be cut out, new warps and wefts inserted and the pile re-knotted. This process will almost always end up with you having an invisible mend on the front, whilst only an expert can spot where on the back the work has taken place. As restoration is highly skilled and time consuming – and therefore expensive – you should weigh up the cost with the price of replacing your rug. Rugs with sentimental value are always worth restoring!
Tufted rugs can be restored but this is very often not worth the expense. Restoration is a costly process and unless you have a very large tufted rug with an obvious area of damage we would advise you to replace your rug.
Machine made or power loomed rugs cannot be restored (to the best of my knowledge!) which is their great drawback.