Monday, December 19, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

How to Wash Your Oriental Rug.

Vacuum the back of the rug first and then vacuum the front.
Take outside to a (clean) flat area, preferably only slightly graded so the water will drain off.
Test the dyes before starting with a clean, white, wet (cold water) wash cloth and rub different colors to ensure they are all fast. If not, spray down the whole rug completely with mixture of 1 part white vinegar/ 3 parts cold water. Let the vinegar/water mixture settle in for a minute, before you start.

The first step is to saturate the rug with water, using the hose, front and back. Below is a really cool video and only shows the washing briefly but you'll get an idea.
Take 1/4th to 1/2 cup (for a very large rug) Ecover (for fine washables) or Orvis horse shampoo and mix into about a quart of water, then distribute all over the rug. If you have a brush with a long handle, gently brush the rug, moving in the direction of the pile.

If you don't have a brush, use the hose to foam up the detergent and loosen the dirt from the rug...let it sit for a minute and then start rinsing with a jet stream from the hose. You must rinse the rug thoroughly for at least 7 or 8 minutes and then rinse the back of the rug. Again, rinse the front, total time, 10-12 minutes, rinsing, ensuring that NO bubbles are appearing on the face or back of the rug before you end off. Flip the rug over and rinse the need to soap up the back. Then, turn it back over, right side up and rinse again. When almost done, mix another white vinegar solution, 5 parts water, 1 part white vinegar and then rinse a bit more after that.

If the rug is too heavy to pick up, roll it up and lean it on it's side against a wall and let the water drain out for a while (half hour), then drape it over a balcony or on a deck in the hot sun where air can get in underneath the rug. Ensure the rug dries in a couple of days and if needed, put it inside near a heater to dry completely. Then brush the rug in the direction of the pile.
Should look great.

I can't guarantee your rug will not run, color-wise but this procedure has worked well for me and I have washed well over 50 pieces. The strong white vinegar solution at the start helps to set fugitive dyes and at the end to remove any soap residue and set the proper PH assisting the wool look to look lustrous and beautiful. Orvis horse shampoo is my first choice as it is very gentle and leaves no shampoo scent in the wool.