Oriental Rug Cleaning

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The first step to Oriental rug cleaning is to keep traffic across it to a minimum. The second is to ensure that the traffic it does receive is as gently shod as possible. Japan is not the only country where you take off your shoes at the door. Rug-weaving countries have the same custom. Barefoot or socked traffic is much kinder to an oriental rug--or any rug--than shod traffic. Imagine how long a rug would last if cars or shod horses walked across it every day.

FAQs on Oriental Rug Cleaning

You want to clean an Oriental rug only as often as it needs it. More often than that is unneeded wear and tear. Several tests will tell you if you need professional Oriental rug cleaning. If you don't need such services, consider using vinegar and mild detergent and temperate water.

One idea is to rub your palm and fingers in a circular motion in the nap of the rug. If they come up dirty, it's time for a cleaning. Another is to lift a corner of the rug and give it a swift little kick. Gauge the cloud of dust you raise, but remember that a wool carpet will always produce some dust. A third is to fold the rug back along a line of knots to see how dirty the warp and weft (cotton foundation) of the rug is.

If you want to tackle Oriental rug cleaning yourself, do so either in a utility room or in a driveway if the weather is good. First vacuum both sides of the rug thoroughly. Then mix a solution of temperate water and mild detergent--no ammonia or strong detergents. Shampoo with a nonshedding sponge or a soft brush. Rinse with temperate running water. Squeeze out excess water, ideally with the rubber squeegee you use on windows. Drying the rug is critical. Lay it flat to do so, and let it dry from both sides. Once the rug seems dry, vacuum again on both sides.

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