D.I.Y Handwoven Rug cleaning
How to clean handwoven rugs, hand knotted wool rugs, and cotton rugs.
Q. How do I clean my flat weave (dhurrie, Zapotec, kilim, Navajo) rugs?A. For spot cleaning of spill and stains, blot dry with a paper towel. (BLOT, DO NOT RUB) Do not touch the stain or spill with your hands or fingers. The oils from your skin only helps to set the stain not remove it. After the spill has been blotted use ice cold water with a soft brush to clean if necessary. Blot dry with a towel, be careful not to rub, and extract as much water as possible.
Using a towel and stepping on the towel can pull liquid out of the rug. 90% of all stains will come clean without using anything other than cold clear water. If you have a stubborn stain you may want to try “Resolve” spray carpet cleaner. Be careful not to use too much. After applying a mist of “Resolve” use a soft brush to clean. When the stain is gone wipe off excess “Resolve” with a rag wet with cold water, repeat rinsing with cold water, then dry the area with a dry towel. It is important to remove as much soap or cleaner, and water as possible. Soap residue can act as a dirt magnet which could eventually turn a small stain into a much larger spot. There is little if any residue from cold water so it is important to rinse well and dry. A wet vac can be a handy tool for this but be sure your appliance is approved for use with water as most vacuum cleaners are not. Do not use any cleaner other than cold water on rugs that have had an herbal or tea bath. You can identify these rugs by the brown (tea) colored fringe. Cleaners will also remove the tea or herbal bath leaving a lighter colored area in the rug. The only way to restore the herbal or tea bath is to re-stain it with a wet tea bag in the specific area that needs it. We do not recommend this unless absolutely necessary.
Q. Do I need a pad for my flat weave rugs?A. No, but you will find if you do use a pad your rug will stay cleaner. We buy half inch or three quarter inch foam carpet pads and cut them to a size 1 ½ inches smaller than the size of the rug on all sides. The rug will lay over the pad beautifully. The foam pad adds a look of thickness to the rug, keeps dirt from being ground into the fibers, reduces wear on the rug, and helps to keep the rug in place. Example: rug size 48”x72” should have a pad 45”x69”
.Q. Can I use my vacuum cleaner on my flat weave rugs?A. Yes, but if your rug has fringe be careful with the beater bar on your vacuum. Fringe can easily get caught in the beater bar and damage the rug as well as the vacuum cleaner. It is best to avoid the fringe area of the rug altogether when vacuuming. If your vacuum has a switch to shut off the beater bar it is best to vacuum your rug with the beater bar off.
.Q. Can I wash my flat weave rugs in my washing machine?A. While many people have had good results using cold water and gentle cycle when washing rugs in their machines, we do not recommend it. When a rug is wet it becomes very heavy and could damage your machine. If you hang a wet rug up to dry it could lose its shape and it cannot be restored. If your rug becomes wet it should be dried flat in a well ventilated area, turned over often, and kept out of direct sunlight
.Q. How do I prevent moth damage to my flat weave wool rugs?A. The best way to prevent moth damage is to clean and flip your rugs often. Inspect your rugs often, looking for a white spider web type material and any damage. Remove any white material and spray the area with an over the counter moth spray in a well ventilated area following the directions and warnings on the can. Let dry. You are at the most risk for moth damage when your rugs are hung or laid directly on porous surfaces such as adobe walls or brick floors. All rugs that are stored should be placed in sealed storage bags with either cedar or moth balls. Home Depot sells an organic moth repellent called Ecosmart that is much more pleasant to use than moth balls and quite effective. Ecosmart is available in sprays or granules.
Q. Can my flat weave rugs be dry cleaned?A. Yes. Call your local dry cleaners to find a cleaner that has experience cleaning this type of rug. We have achieved excellent results from dry cleaners. Because of the cost of dry cleaning we suggest that you do your own spot cleaning and vacuuming and dry clean the rug only when absolutely necessary. With proper care your rug may never need to be dry cleaned.
Q. Can I use put my rug outdoors and use a hose to spray clean it? A. We do not recommend that and we find that it is rarely necessary.
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