Updated: Mar 7
Wash a rug is a labour-intensive heavy job. Yes hose it down, but returning a rug to its former glory requires a lot of skill, knowledge and finishing processes to eliminate any further damage to the rug.
The process begins by beating the rug. The beating is carried out in a machine but in certain cases maybe laid down upside down first onto a grid walked on for a few days as we work to remove the excess dirt.
The wash bath is then prepared using the correct ph water to ensure against colour run. A mild Turkish soap is used as it doesn't strip the natural oil ‘lanolin’ from the rug.
Full immersion enables the rug to be washed front and back, which loosens the grit and helps dilute stains from within the rug. Heavily stained areas are then treated further with an appropriate stain remover to continue to dilute the area. As you can see this rug had quite a large starch stain which had affected the colour. We advised our client not to treat the area with any chemicals as this would create a chemical reaction, instead we recommended to sluice with a neutral ph water, such as soda water and blot prior to bringing the rug for cleaning. Once neutralised we replaced the colour using specialist textile dyes to blend the area.
Finally, we brush the pile in the direction of the pile to loosen and open up the fibres. Water is then extracted using a large machine prior to hanging to dry. It is the moisture left in a rug that causes rot and shredding like paper.
Once dried the rug is then beaten and brushed again plus any other finishing processes required re ‘polishing’ or ‘pumicing’ depending on the materials and finishing wash prior to being ready to return.
All stains are technically possible to remove, but can outweigh the value of the piece, leave a definitive ring around if in a plain area or at times are just too stubborn without using harsh chemicals which may cause other problems. If it is impossible for a stain to be removed from rubbing through home chemical treating, we remove the affected area and restore appropriately.
Rachel Bassill - Proprietor - The Rug Studio