How to clean your carpet

In Morocco, Ramadan in the early summer is a time when locals often give their homes a thorough cleaning. This notion of seasonal refreshment feels good for the soul and because many of you ask about how to clean your carpets, we thought we’d present some tips here on the blog. We put some questions to our favourite expert on the subject Clive Rogers, who is used to looking after valuable, often huge rugs for various city venues and country houses. “We recently cleaned a carpet from the Shard that required six people to move around wet and then re-install,” he told us. Read below for his top tips on how to clean your antique rugs at home without such assistance!

A batch of rugs laid out for a professional clean

Is there a technique for judging how dirty your rug is?

“Tap or flick the carpet from the backside to examine unsettled semi ingrained dust. Do this on a hot dry day as atmospheric humidity will constrain loose particles. Shaking out your rug not only gets rid of dust and reduces the danger of moths, but is also good for a rug that has been getting puckered or isn’t lying flat.”

How often should you clean a rug?

“It’s beneficial to prevent dust from becoming ingrained with occasional light hoovering, back and front. Over-zealous washing with detergents can remove patina and can degrade the structure in some cases, so it’s best to avoid using harsh detergents where possible. Repetition of cleaning depends on the usage e.g. for commercial, every six months whereas light domestic up to five years between washing can be fine.”

What is the best way to clean the rug at home in between professional cleaning?

“Hair shampoo works but you need to rinse out all agents. A good tip is take your rug to the car wash, but don’t use their industrial strength agents and take care not to apply too much water pressure. If the carpet does get thoroughly wet it’s important that it also gets thoroughly dry again to prevent rot – over a fence outside on a dry day is fine.”

Rugs laid out to dry in a field in rural Morocco.

What’s the best way to spot clean a stain?

“There are propriety products on the market for this, but always test first by doing a patch test on a square inch at the edge. Apply very hot water to a paper towel, put it on the rug and then stand on it to see if there’s any movement in the colour right away. You can tackle grease with detergent (rinsed) and candle wax by ironing with brown paper layers. if you spill red wine then first apply water to dilute the spill before mopping it up with a kitchen towel straight away.”

What’s the best way to deal with animal hairs from pets?

“First shake out the rug, then brush, shake again, gentle brush again, hoover, gentle brush. You should always brush in the direction of the nap. When vacuuming, use a strong setting for pile rugs and a less strong setting for flatweaves and Kilims. Don’t forget that it’s not only the front that needs vacuuming. Now and then flip it over and also do the back.”

When it’s time to take your carpets for a professional clean, find Clive’s details here.

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