Before You Start
You should be aware that certain rugs should NOT be folded. They include machine made, hand tufted and ANY hand knotted rugs with dry rot or a stiff construction.
Prior to folding your rug, check carefully for any dry rot or areas that are not easily pliable (easy to fold). Does your rug feel “brittle”?
As you fold, listen carefully for cracking or popping - if you hear this, STOP IMMEDIATELY.
If you are going to store your rug, you should have it professionally hand washed at a reputable specialist rug plant (a surface clean at home is not sufficient). If your rug is not properly cleaned before storage it is far more susceptible to pest infestation such as moth.
For the purposes of storage, the less you fold the rug the better.
A rug folded for long term storage may take time to settle out as creases usually occur, usually , but not always, these creases do come out over time, through use.
There are occasions where folding can damage your rug; never fold your rug unless you are VERY attentive to it’s condition. Older and stiffer rugs are significantly more prone to cracking or splitting.
ALWAYS BE VERY CAREFUL.
Optimal storage temperature for rugs and carpets is between 45-75 degrees Fahrenheit, 7-24 degree Celsius in a non-humid environment.
For purposes of long term storage, always roll the rug with the direction of the pile. This will result in a looser roll; however it will protect the pile from crushing in the long term.
For purposes of quick transportation/shipping, roll your rug against the direction of the pile. This results in a tighter roll, allowing for a smaller final size.
If you are shipping your rug, remember that some carriers have limitations on both weight and the dimensions of the packages they ship. Some carriers may offer a discount, depending on how your rug is folded. Try folding your rug several ways and giving all dimensions to your carrier. Important information includes length, width, height and/or diameter. They may ask you to add or combine any number of these dimensions. Remember to add a couple inches to each measurement to compensate for any wrapping materials.
Also get the weight of the rug (most rugs are around 3/4 lbs. per square foot).
Depending on the size of your rug or carpet there are a number of ways of making your rug more compact.
Packing your Rug
Below are a series of photographs that show how to fold your rug, depending on it’s size: