Copied from the DIY Website…below is the feature article from Episode DQOC-104 – Talking Dirty With The Queen of Clean, Linda Cobb
- Cleaning Oriental Carpets – Aired on July 6, 2006 Host, Linda Cobb interviews Bob Carr, graduate of Auserehlian Oriental Cleaning School.
Trends in floor coverings change, just like everything else, but if you are lucky enough to own an oriental rug, you have artwork for the floor (figure A). Some are inexpensive and machine made, but others are genuine oriental or Persian rugs, kaleidoscopes of wool knotted by hand. These rugs are so durable they can last for generations — and when something is on the floor for that long, it can get really dirty, so proper care and cleaning is essential. In fact, according to rug expert Bob Carr, a recent study shows that a 9-by-12 oriental rug can hold up to 87 pounds of dry soil without ever looking dirty!
The best way to preserve an heirloom rug is a thorough cleaning. And good rug cleaning, according to Carr — a certified rug specialist and the owner of Carr’s Rug Cleaning — should incorporate the following steps:
- Very aggressive dry soil removal. Getting rid of the dry soil is a multistep process, starting with compressed air. This process sucks up the dirt and blows it away. For a normal cleaning this is done three times front and back.
- Thorough washing. Carr’s company uses the Auserehlian cleaning system, named after the Colorado man who designed the system. It consists of a wash pit that holds 300-400 gallons of soft water, enough so that each rug floats when it’s put into the pit (figure B). Hoses on one end fill the pit, and filters on the other end help drain the dirty water away from the rug.
- The first step after the rug is placed in the pit is to rinse it.Next, the rug is shampooed. With the water as a buffer, the agitation is mild. A neutral-pH shampoo is best since a high pH can damage the fibers. When the top is clean, the rug is flipped over, and the process is repeated on the back.The rug is rinsed and at the same time a 30-gallon lawn-roller is rolled over the rug to force out leftover soap and dirty water (figure C). Any remaining dirt is forced out of the back of the rug using more compressed air.The rug is then draped over a beam and hoisted above the pit, where it is again rinsed while hanging in the vertical position (figure D). At this point, the rug is checked for cleanliness, and if evidence of dirt remains, the rug is then rewashed.The pile is brushed so it will dry correctly; the fringe is inspected and, if necessary, washed with a special tool. Finally the rug is allowed to dry, a process that takes at least 24 hours.
- Expert Home-Care Rug Tips
- Don’t clean the rug yourself, especially if you live in a humid area.
- Blot spills thoroughly.
- If the colors bleed, take the rug to a professional.
Oriental Rug Tips
Bob Carr offers these tips if you are in the market for a real oriental rug.
- The real clue is on the back of the rug. Scrim cloth indicates that a rug is handmade but not hand-knotted. These rugs are made with tufting guns and have a layer of latex applied to hold all elements of the rug in place.
- For rugs without cloth on the back, there is still a way to tell the genuine article from an imitation: white lines that run up and down on the back of the rug indicate it is a machine-made rug, not a hand-knotted one (figure E).
- Hand-knotted rugs have lines that run in a horizontal pattern, left to right (figure F).
Whether your rug is handmade or machine-made, it will get dirty. A deep cleaning is the best way to bring the patterns and colors back to their original glory.
If you are looking for a qualified rug cleaner in your area, look for someone who is a certified member of the National Institute of Rug Cleaners