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How to Clean Fine Rugs

When we lived in Denver, a girlfriend used to take her rugs to Robert Mann Oriental Rugs for cleaning. She had a fine antique rug and a few high quality woolen pieces that she'd clean about every 6 months, owing to her son's severe asthma. The price seemed fairly reasonable. My (very quality conscious) friend informed me that Robert Mann's was the best place in town for expert rug repair and cleaning--with no harsh chemicals.

When Curt and I invested in a good quality wool rug (above, under the dog), I took it to Robert Mann for cleaning once, and observed the process:


1. A worker ROLLED OUT a rug on a concrete floor with a drain.
2. He HOSED IT DOWN WITH WATER from a garden hose,
3. SQUIRTED LIQUID SOAP onto it, and
4. SCRUBBED every inch with a PUSH BROOM. After a thorough scrubbing
5. and a good RINSE,
6. the rug was LAID OUTSIDE TO DRY.

I was told they use dishwashing liquid from the grocery store--no particular brand.

"No!" I exclaimed.

"Yes," they said.

"So you scrub the rugs with dishwashing liquid and a push broom and that's ALL?"

"We wash the finest rugs this way, cotton or wool, unless they're extremely fragile. You can do this yourself on your driveway."

"I should put something under the rug to protect it from the driveway, right?" I asked.

"No, put it right on the driveway--but not on any oil spots! Also, test for color fastness before you wash your rug. Place it in the grass to dry."

"That's it?"

"That's it."

I learned something that day! We don't have wall-to-wall carpet, so we have a lot of rugs that need to be washed from time to time. When spot cleaning isn't enough, I take the entire piece outside for a good scrub down, confident that I am not ruining it. No harsh chemicals, no special tools needed--just liquid soap and some elbow grease!

(If you google "Robert Man Oriental Rugs" and you will see that he is well regarded in his field for cleaning, conservation, and restoration of oriental rugs.)

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Sep. 27th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
Too funny!!
That's the way I've cleaned my rugs for years thinking when I could afford it I'd take them in for 'professional' cleaning. Thank you for dispelling my mental myth!!

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