Cleaning tips and tricks

Cleaning your Rug
We recommend cleaning your carpet infrequently.  Instead, it is best to gently surface clean your rug in one of two ways. In the winter, after a fresh snowfall, you can take your rug into the yard and lay it face-down in the snow.  Then use a broom or snow shovel (or carpet beater, of course, if you have one!) to beat the dirt loose from the back of the rug. It’s not only a good way to clean the rug, it’s good exercise and fun for the kids too, though your neighbours may wonder what you’re doing! After giving the whole carpet a good beating, lift it up from its four corners (this is a 2-4 person job) and lay it face-down again in a clean patch of snow.  Now drag it for a few yards in either direction.  You can then start collecting the rug to bring inside the house and as you lift it off the ground simply brush the snow off of it.  If moths or carpet beetle are a concern to you, you can leave the rug outside overnight (in Calgary there are plenty of frigid enough winter nights to kill off any such critters).  Snow-cleaning rugs is traditionally done in northern Europe and northern Iran and, while a bit of work, does leave your carpet very fresh and clean. 

An alternative surface cleaning technique is to dilute regular white vinegar in 3 parts water.  Then moisten a rag or sponge and wipe the surface of your rug. You can work in all directions at first, but should smooth the pile down with your final pass.  You will not be getting the rug wet, just a little damp to the touch.  The result is a glistening rug (vinegar makes the colours bright) that is also deordorized (great if you have pets).  


When Accidents Happen   
Spills should be addressed promptly. For most spills simply blot up the mess and then dampen a white cotton cloth or paper towel with club soda or water and gently massage the stained area from the outer edges in, rubbing in the direction of the nap.  You can also pour a small amount of water directly on the stain, but you must work quickly to blot the excessive liquid so that the stain can’t spread (if doing this, the bubbles in carbonated water or club soda can help dilute and lift the stain and work well on most stains if applied immediately).  Because most Persian and Oriental rug dyes are acid-fast, adding a little white vinegar to the wash water helps prevent colors from running.  Continue the process until the stain has lifted.  Stains that have been allowed to dry can be much more difficult to deal with, however dried mud can often be simply brushed away.  

Some keys to cleaning up your rug include the following.  1) Begin by working in the direction of the nap: you don’t want to push anything into the carpet. 2) Work from the outer edges of the stain toward the middle, so that you don’t spread it. 3) Use cool liquids (water or club soda or dilute vinegar are best). 4) Avoid any powerful stain removers (such as oxyclean or laundry pre-treatment sprays).  5) If you happen to own a wet/dry vacuum, bring it out!  You can suck up the stain, apply cleaning solution (water, soapy water, vinegar water, etc.) and lift that out too.  It saves you time and keeps the rug as dry as possible while thoroughly cleaning the stain.  

For large liquid spills (say a tipped-over glass of wine) regular table salt can help to lift and absorb the excess liquid.  Just pour it over the stain and let it sit while you prepare your other cleaning supplies.   For solid messes, first scoop or scrape off solids with a spoon or blunt knife. Blot up excess liquid with paper towels or rags. Then continue as you would for a liquid spill.

If in doubt, or when facing a tough stain, please give us a call.  We may be able to walk you through the cleaning process, or the rug may have to be brought to us for professional cleaning.  Remember that time is of the essence: the sooner a stain is addressed, the less likely it is to damage the rug.

Some Tips for Common Stains*
Having the following on hand will mean that you are prepared to treat almost any accident that might happen: club soda, cotton cloths, white vinegar, mild dishwashing detergent (containing no alkalis or bleaches), 3% hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, salt.   

These simple supplies can be worked into a few simple cleaning solutions:

  • Detergent Solution: 1 tsp dishwashing liquid + 1 cup water
  • Vinegar Solution: 1 part vinegar + 3 parts water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: 3% solution used full strength. Only use this as a last resort 

For food stains such as berries, chocolate, and coffee, scoop up solids. Blot liquids. Rinse with water. If stain persists, use soapy water, then rinse. Repeat if needed.  If improvement stops, dab on hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide can bleach stains without breaking down dyes, but you should test a small, inconspicuous area first).  Wait about an hour before re-applying.

For mud stains, allow the spill to dry. Break off pieces and vacuum. Rinse with soapy water. Go to hydrogen peroxide if needed.

For alkaline stains such as cat urine and beer, you should use white vinegar.  Blot up the spill and rinse. Then use soapy water and rinse. Next apply vinegar solution with a spray bottle or a saturated towel. Blot with a dry towel; rinse. If stain persists, repeat.

For candle wax, chewing gum, ink, and nail polish

  • Candle Wax – Place a brown paper bag over the spot. Place a warm iron over the paper bag. Move iron constantly. Wait a few minutes until the wax is absorbed. Repeat if necessary. 
  • Chewing Gum – Freeze the gum with ice cubes, break off pieces and pick them out. 
  • Nail Polish – Dab on non-oily acetone nail-polish remover with a cotton ball. Blot and repeat. 
  • Ink – Dab the spot with rubbing alcohol. Repeat as necessary.  Allow to dry. Blot lightly with vinegar solution.  

* This information pertaining to stain removal is of a general nature only. While this advice is based on our best judgement, we assume no liability from the use of the above methods.

We Provide Cleaning and Repairs
When it is time to clean your rug, it’s critically important that it be done properly.  Persian and Oriental rugs are not carpets you clean with steam cleaners or strong chemicals.  Bring it to us and we will do a traditional water wash that thoroughly cleans your rug without harming the dyes or stripping the lanolin in the wool (lanolin is a great natural stain repellent and also adds that beautiful softness and lustre to good rugs).  We also clean pure silk rugs.

In addition to professional cleaning, we provide all sorts of repair services.  Perhaps you had a new puppy who decide your Persian rug would make a fine chew toy, or maybe years of use have left the selvedge on the edge of your rug looking a little tattered.  These and almost any other damage to a good rug is repairable.  We can re-weave the area chewed out by that puppy, or replace worn fringes or selvedge, fill in areas eaten by moths and make that rug look pristine again.