By Cat Morris
When we lived in Denver, a girlfriend used to take her rugs to Robert Mann Oriental Rugs for cleaning. She had a beautiful antique rug and a several high quality woolen pieces that she’d clean about every six months, owing to her son’s severe asthma. This quality conscious friend, owner of many fine antiques and the most beautiful linens I have ever seen, informed me that Robert Mann’s was the best place in town for expert rug repair and cleaning. The best.
When my husband and I invested in a small, good quality wool rug, I splurged and took it to Robert Mann for cleaning once. AS I paid, I caught sight of a worker on the other side of the warehouse space washing a rug. I was so surprised by what I saw that the folks in the shop invited me to observe the process. I couldn’t believe it:
- A worker ROLLED OUT the rug onto a concrete floor with a drain.
- He HOSED IT DOWN WITH water from a green garden hose,
- SQUIRTED LIQUID SOAP onto it, and
- stood on the rug while he SCRUBBED every inch with a PUSH BROOM. After a
- and a good RINSE,
- he laid the rug OUTSIDE TO DRY.
“What kind of soap do you use on the rugs?” I asked. The answer was dishwashing liquid from the grocery store–no particular brand.
“No!” I exclaimed.
“Yes,” they said. And here’s how the rest of the conversation went:
“So you scrub the rugs with any old dishwashing liquid and a push broom, and that’s ALL?”
“We wash the finest rugs this way, cotton or wool, unless they’re extremely fragile. You can do this yourself on your driveway.”
“I should put something under the rug to protect it from the driveway, right?” I asked.
“No, put it right on the driveway–but not on any oil spots! Also, test for color fastness before you wash your rug. Place it in the grass to dry.”
I learned something that day! We don’t have wall-to-wall carpet, so we have a lot of rugs that need to be washed from time to time. When spot cleaning isn’t enough, I take the entire piece outside for a good scrub down, confident that I am not ruining it. No harsh chemicals, no special tools needed–just liquid soap and some elbow grease!
I never paid another person to wash my rugs. No way.
Next month’s topic: 10 things you can do this month so save money.