How to Wash an Oriental Rug. Part 2
Note: This article originated in Australia. Some of these terms and cleaning products are foreign. However, if you are thinking of wahing your own rug, the following is an excellent explanation of how to do it.
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Step 4 The Preparation (continued):
The Zen of running color. A rose is a rose is a rose. My personal belief is that if a rug has running color then it should be washed (quickly and carefully) and the colors be allowed to run (as little as possible). A running dyed rug is a running dyed rug. The dye is intrinsic to the climate, the people, the oeuvre, and is part of the paradigm that is the rug, I mean, why worry? I believe a dealer is dishonest/ignorant/incompetent if he/she sells an unwashed running dyed rug. It can be a time bomb to the owner who is to become emotionally attached to it! Some old synthetically dyed Luri rugs look even better as "mud and blood" and some Turkish tourist rug shops equate "mud and blood" with antique value and wash to achieve that end.Pre-wash cleaning. Preferably you will have had the rug upside down in it's normal place in the home for a few weeks to gently loosen the base fibers, releasing deep grit. If you have just bought the rug it may be carrying moth or disease mites so start here. In the open, beat the rug upside down. Turn it over and vacuum. Repeat till dust and especially grit more or less ends. You may hang it on a line to do this if the rug is strong and you are careful. Do not vacuum your valuable antique rug, brush with a straw broom instead.
Step 5 The Wash
Firstly fill the rug with water. This will take longer than you think. Lift up the sides to ensure the back is wet enough to verify you have completed this step. You may roll the rug up and unroll it to help the absorption of water.Secondly lightly squeegee the excess water from the pile/nap, being careful to only stroke in the direction of the pile/nap.Now is the time to apply the soap solution. Using the soft brush or your bare or rubber gloved hands massage the suds into the pile in a circular motion. Walk over the rug like you're treading grapes for wine. Now squeegee again and your white suds should be a shade of coffee and cream. To see an alternate way of washing click on
Step 6 The Rinse
This is possibly the most important step. Fill again with water and squeegee again. Repeat and repeat until there is only pure clean water coming out. You may wish to turn the rug a half at a time and tread grapes from the back to help release the grime. It all depends on the thickness and how dirty the rug is. You may have to resoap and repeat the wash process again. As one of my teachers, a certain Mr. Beztchi in Iranian Azerbaijan would tell his workers, "don't stop until you can drink the rinse water".
Step 7 The Drying
Following the final rinse you should repeatedly squeegee out as much water as possible. Leave to dry for an hour or two in the sun. Find some grass or lawn and turn the rug over and complete the drying upside down. The lawn is very important as it stops the build-up of static electricity, destroying the sensitive lanolin molecules inside the wool fibers. You may turn back to dry the pile/nap for a while and complete the drying upside down if the rug is thick. A thin rug will dry in a day and a thick rug may take two with even further drying on a third.
Whew! Not easy is it? If you’ve got to this point and you are shaking your head, please explore our Oriental rug page or call us at 303-530-0646 for expert professional oriental rug service and even FREE pick-up and delivery.