How is the regular care and clean oriental and/or handmade carpets?
Carpet care and cleanliness is the first and major step towards the preservation of a handmade carpet and it is the best defense against damage. There are no strict rules to determine when and how often to clean a carpet since every handmade carpet is subjected to different amounts of wear and dirt. The following advice and information are basic general instructions that the average carpet owner may exercise in the care and cleaning of oriental carpets.
The best recommendation is regular brushing with an old-fashioned hand broom with natural bristles or the use of an electric sweeper. Remember that it is equally important to brush the underlay of the carpet and the floor beneath. Utilizing a vacuum cleaner will never damage the carpet if only cleaning is made by the nozzle attachment rather than the revolving brush attachment.
Washing or cleaning?
How often a carpet needs to be cleaned, obviously depends on the amount of traffic and the type of carpet. Such cleaning may vary from every six months to once every two years. A carpet with a light colored background may be sent out to be cleaned more often, but it may be less obvious if the carpet is dark and intricate patterned.
The first indication that a carpet needs cleaning will be from the feel of the pile, which may feel coarse and harsh to the touch instead of velvety and smooth as it should be.
How should preparation for washing be?
Preparation is as important as the washing process itself. First of all, test the carpet for colorfastness by rubbing a brightly colored area gently with a damp white cloth. Then examine the carpet thoroughly to make sure it is not in need of repair. Since the carpet becomes slightly fragile when it is wet, it is advisable to carry out most repairs before washing. As re-piling is done more successfully after washing since the color can be matched more accurately. Before washing, brush and beat the carpet thoroughly to remove as much loose dust as possible, because dust and dirt are more damaging when wet rather than dry. Finally find a flat, clean hard surface on which to clean the carpet more easily.
How to dry carpets
Small carpets can be pegged by the kilim (flat woven edge part) on a clothesline. Large ones are more easily dried on a hard clean surface like concrete or paving stones. Do not dry on a lawn, since the base will absorb the moisture of the grass. If the weather does not permit outdoor drying, then prepare a room in the house. Let the carpet dry flat in a room with warm air current heating system. While it dries don’t walk on it and don’t place anything on it. The warp, weft, and pile of a completely dried carpet should feel soft and pliable.
Remove the dried dirt and shampoo powder by gently brushing with a soft dry brush or by using the vacuum cleaner.
Is there anything I should know for drying?
Washing machines and dryers must never be used for any delicate hand-made item. Vibration, high water temperature, and harsh detergents will cause irreparable damage. It may even reduce the carpet to shreds. Many people must have seen or heard Eastern weavers washing their carpets in streams and rivers. This has led many owners to wrongly believe that a complete soaking is good.
This process, in fact, is only used for brand new carpets. They are washed very quickly, then laid out to dry immediately in the baking sun. Some firms that advertise themselves as expert carpet cleaners use electric rotary brushes. These machines were designed for use on machine-made carpets and should only be used on such items. Again, dry cleaner firms sometimes advertise themselves as carpet cleaners. Their services may be useful for machine-made carpets, but an oriental handmade masterpiece should never be subjected to strong chemicals that these firms use. The damage may become apparent only after several months and it may be irreparable.
Is there a specific cleaning method?
Lay the carpet with the pile-up on a hard flat surface.
Dip the brush in the liquid (a mixture of soap, vinegar, and lukewarm water) and apply it in gentle and even vertical strokes.
Vigorous brushing or scrubbing will not clean thoroughly and is likely to damage the carpet in its wet vulnerable state.
Start in one corner, brushing up and down, with and against the pile with even overlapping movements.
Once the carpet is brushed lengthwise then brush horizontally or from side to side across the pile.
By now the carpet should have been thoroughly cleaned. Finally, by the time the carpet dries, the pile should be running in the right direction.
Try to apply the cleaning solution sparingly, so that the foundation does not become wet. It is very difficult to dry a carpet thoroughly since it is firmly encased in the millions of tight little knots.
If the carpet is laid on the floor while the warp and weft are even slightly damp, they will probably start to rot and in a few months, the base will be extremely brittle.
During the entire cleaning process handle the carpet as carefully as possible, since while it is wet, it is extremely fragile and it is very easy to cause damage.