The most important factor in maintaining and preserving carpets is to keep them clean. Dirt and contamination not only diminish their beauty and appearance but also cause damage to them. It’s obvious that carpets with a light background and high pile or those that are exposed to dirt and wear need to be cleaned more often. The best way to get rid of dust, grit and dirt is to clean the carpets with normal hand brooms.
Although this method takes a long time, still this is the one that we recommend. Powerful vacuum cleaners with rotary brushes should not be used to clean the rugs as these many loosen the knots and cause them to be used. It’s also recommended to use a vacuum cleaner with a beater on the back of the rug, once every few months. By this method all the grit, and the dust can be removed.
Water and humidity can cause damage to a carpet. Whatever the cause may be, on this occasion the steps which should be taken at once are: with a towel, or a non-dyed cloth sponge the excess water until completely absorbed on both sides. Then this area should be dried with a hair-dryer, the heat of which should not be strong; or it should be exposed to a moderate sun. After this process, by rubbing with fingers, the pile of the wet carpet can be reset to its previous position.
If tea, coffee, juices, alcohol, shoe polish or any greasy substance stains a carpet, the first step is to absorb it immediately with a non—dyed cloth, blotting paper or tissue paper. Sponging with wool or silk and a compatible solution for removing the specific substance (tea, wine, and grease) should be done till the colouring substance has been wiped off. Each of the stains has a different technique for removing it. Many common substances are best removed from rugs and carpets with the following methods:
a) Soft drinks, milk, coffee, tea, alcohol and chocolate can be removed by a mixture of lukewarm water and soap or non-alkaline detergents.
b) Eggs and bloodstains can be removed with mixture of salt, non alkaline detergent and lukewarm water.
c) Human and animal urine is best removed with white vinegar with lukewarm water.
Clean grease, shoe polish and fatty substances with non-alkaline detergent and white vinegar.
When fat spills on a carpet, it should be first gathered with a spoon, then a piece of non- dyed cloth of white blotting paper should be over it and pressed slightly with hot iron. With this method the fat is absorbed.
The most important factors to preserve carpets and rugs for a life time and future generations is to keep them clean, to take good care and restore them immediately when damaged or rotted. Normally a carpet should be washed every two or three years. When touched by hand, if the pile and the fibre of the rug are rough and sticky or totally dirty, depending where the carpet has been spread and the frequency of its wear and tear, then the time has come for it to be washed. One can also ascertain when to clean a rug by folding a corner and tapping the back by hand.
If any particles of grit, dust or pieces of wool fall off, then the rug should be washed. A carpet can also be washed at home with particular attention. To test and see if a rug is colourfast or not, it’s enough to wipe a full-designed part of the rug with a damp white cloth, If the colour stains the cloth, then the rug should be not cleaned at home.Never wash antique, silk and carpets that are not colourfast at home. these should be taken to professional rug-cleaning establishment. They are equipped to shake; wash and dry rugs with specially adapted modern and mechanical facilities.
The process of hand cleaning carpets in the home takes experience and patience, but can be successfully accomplished. The materials and products used to was rugs are very simple and elementary and most of them are in every household; a pail, a brush with soft bristles, the lenght of which should not exceed three
centimeters (made of natural fibres), soap or special carpet shampoo without any acid elements.
In the process of hand washing, the first step is to mix one cup of shampoo to ten cups of warm or lukewarm water. It’s better to add two spoonfuls of natural white vinegar to prevent the colours from running. After preparing the solution, lay the rug flat on a hard, smooth and dry surface, i. e., on a terrace, balcony, with the pile of the rug facing upwards. Plunge the brush in the shampoo solution. Start from one corner moving gradually upward and downward into the pile until all the rug is thoroughly cleaned.
Try not to brush hard as this action seriously damages the rug. Never soak or plunge the rug in the solution because too much wetting may hurt and rot the foundation. It’s not necessary to wet and clean the back, warp and weft of the rug, as this part is not exposed to dirt, as the pile. After the washing process, a brush should be used to carefully remove the left over shampoo powder and dirt; the rug thoroughly cleaned with lukewarm water and gently brushed in the direction of the pile. Then, if the weather permits, the rug can be taken out to the open air with utmost care. Sunlight is the best means to dry a rug provided it is not strong otherwise it causes the colour to fade.
In rainy and wet weather it is advisable to dry the rug at home on a special wooden frame where the current of air penetrates facilitating the drying operation thus leaving no humidity. Avoid drying a rug on lawn as the moisture that the grass contains may seriously harm and damage the foundation, the warp and weft. In no occasion place rugs near direct heat-fireplaces open fire, stoves, radiators and floors where warm water pipes pass underneath. Intense heat damages and dries the fibres and the oils of the wool causing it to lose its lustre and making it brittle.
After both sides of the rug have dried completely and when touched by hand the warps and wefts feel soft, it can then be laid back gently to its former place. When a rug is still damp it should never be folded as humidity gradually penetrated and rots the foundation. Before washing a rug, all the dirt, grit, loose fibres and fluffy wool should be removed by beating the back gently with a cane beater. Companies specialised in cleaning oriental rugs have mechanised beaters. During the hand cleaning process if not completely removed, the remaining dirt transforms into a thick substance, like mud or sticky cement. Subsequently, while removing this dirt the rug gets hard and rough and it may also shorten its life.
Repairing the carpets should be carried out after washing the rug. From the hygienic point of view this process is essential as the restorer can handle a clean rug better, without any danger to his health. A very tiny particle of design and the natural colour also appear clearly on the surface when the rug is clean.
Small rugs should never be cleaned in the washing machine, the detergent, the water temperature, the movement and the squeezing most probably may ruin the fibres, the wool gets stiff and hard. Many rugs have gone to pieces when cleaned in the washing machine.
Rugs should be washed only in specialised professional rug-cleaning companies and never in dry-cleaners. The solution used by the dry-cleaners ruins the wool, the warp and weft.
Tinea Pellionella” is the scientific name for the moth that is a tiny butterfly, 9 to 12
millimeters long.In the first two to three weeks of their lives, the female moth lays about a hundred eggs between the folds of rugs and other
woolen textiles. In one of the stages of its growth, the eggs of the butterfly are transformed into larvae. These larvae cause damage to fibres of the rug by weaving webs on the wool and creating tunnels inside the fibre.
To protect the carpet from damage by moths, use compatible moth repellent available in the local market.When storing a carpet have it cleaned and washed and protected by use of mothballs.Yet another way to combat moth is to frequently spray the front and back of the rug with anti-moth capsules containing insecticide fumes.
1. Keep the carpet protected from sunrays by heavy curtains or shutters.
2. No object that is damp or likely to cause dampness should be places on the carpet.
3. To prevent localised wear and tear, occasionally move or turn the carpet so that the normal pattern of traffic is spread uniformly over different parts of the carpet.
4. Carpets should not be spread under doors. The lack of space between the bottom of the door and the carpet can cause the carpet to fold and suffer excessive wear and
5. On hard surfaces such as marble or linoleum the carpet should have an underlay or padding made of polyester to prevent sliding of the carpet, especially silk ones.
6. The runners that are placed on stairs must be fixed on both sides with metal rods to prevent them from sliding. Once in while the runners should be pulled by a few
centimeters up or down to ensure uniform wear and tear.
7. If the carpet is spread over stone surface or on mosaic, it should be ensured that the Joints are not sharp and uneven
8. The leg of a chair, sofa, table or any other heavy item of furniture damages the pile of the carpet. A small piece of linoleum, wood or other similar type of material should be put under the legs of these objects to protect wear and tear of the carpet.
9. The portion of the carpet that remains under the bed or under any other piece of furniture should be frequently exposed to sunlight and fresh air, as the lack of these might lead to growth of moths.
10. Keep the carpet clean. It’s the most important recommendation. Cleanliness ensures longevity and perfect form.
In a house covered with rugs keeping domestic animals, especially if they are not trained provide a serious problem to the carpet. The acid and pollution existing in urine and residue affect chemically the fibres of the rug and alters the colours of the wool hence rotting the foundation. Most cats love oriental rugs.They sharpen their claws by thrusting them into the fibres and play with the fringes of the rug thus pulling them out. It is therefore recommended into keep the untrained pets away from rugs. If damaged, the rug should be cleaned and repaired immediately.