Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cleaning a Hooked Rug

Did you know that you can clean your own hooked rug?

If it's really, really dirty, you might want to have it professionally cleaned. Or, if it has really tough stains, that again might require professional help. But if it's everyday, simple soiling, you can probably do it yourself.

First, a hooked rug must be vacuumed. You don't want to see any loose strips of your rug sucked into a vacuum, so first carefully check your rug for any wayward strips. If you find loose strips, it's time to repair the rug before it gets any worse.

If you don't find any loose strips, you can continue with rug cleaning. There are a couple different techniques for the vacuuming process, so use whichever works for you.

The first is to lay a window screen over your rug, and using the wand attachment to your vacuum, vacuum the entire rug edge to edge.

The second is to instead just secure a section of pantyhose over your wand attachment with a strong rubber band, and then vacuum. Either method will prevent loose strips that you aren't aware of from being sucked into your vacuum.

Be sure to vacuum both sides of your rug. Over time, much dirt, dust and dust mites end up in the rug foundation. Vacuum slowly and carefully, taking your time. The vacuuming is quite important - if you don't vacuum, all that dirt will turn into a muddy mess in your rug when it gets wet, making it much more difficult to clean.

Test your rug for color fastness. With a wet q-tip or a wet clean white rag, test any colors in your rug which are red, purple, brown, blue, black, or any other strong color. If testing produces any color bleed - STOP. Your rug needs professional cleaning to prevent colors from bleeding. If you see no bleeding of color, it's probably okay for you to clean your own rug.

Read through all the following instructions first, so you are familiar with all the steps and materials necessary.

Throughout the cleaning process, handle your rug gently. Wet rugs can come apart if handled roughly, so treat your textile with gentle respect.

Materials - you'll need a bathtub, baking soda, at least two or three clean old towels, and a sweater dryer or something similar for drying.

Now for the actual cleaning -
  • Fill your bathtub about halfway with tepid (not cold but not hot either) water
  • mix in a cup of baking soda
  • add your rug, carefully laying it face up in the tub, making sure all of it gets evenly wet
  • swish the water around it for several minutes, lifting the rug from underneath with your hands - just a few inches - to make sure all surfaces are treated
  • drain the tub, moving the rug to one side so all the dirt and grime can be rinsed away (I carefully and loosely roll the rug from the short side to accomplish this step)
  • rinse any accumulation of dirt from the tub, then refill with more clean, tepid water
  • again swish water around the rug to rinse, repeating this step until you see no more dirty water
  • while it's still in the tub, roll rug from short end and press out excess water - do not twist or stress your rug, or you may damage the foundation
  • slip a clean dry old towel under your rug and remove from the tub
  • unroll rug while still in towel, then re-roll both together; press entire roll with your hands to force excess water into towel; unroll and re-roll with a second clean dry towl, repeating this step - the idea is to get every bit of water out of your rug
  • allow rug to air dry - do not hang it, or you may over-stress the foundation - instead lay it on a sweater dryer (available from your local department store) or other support
Now your rug is clean and you can enjoy it's wonderful design and beautiful clean colors!

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