Vacuum Your Oriental Rugs with Care
Regular cleaning with a household vacuum can greatly extend the lifespan of a lovely oriental rug. In addition to removing visible clutter like pet hair, it cuts down on grit and sand that has been tracked over the rug and ground into the fibers. These sharp particles are notorious for cutting through fibers when pressure is applied by foot traffic, causing the pile of the rug to develop worn patches.
Vacuuming also helps remove dust (along with dust mites) and makes your rug less of a problem for allergy sufferers in your family. Finally, a gentle vacuuming every week or two can rejuvenate the pile of a rug, making it stand up and show off its colors and texture to the best advantage. Here’s how to get the job done right.
Get an Adjustable Vacuum!
That’s the first step in making sure you don’t damage your rug. Antique and hand-knotted rugs require much different treatment than the regular carpet or upholstery in your home. The height of the pile on a rug determines the correct setting for a thorough cleaning. A rug with a thick pile should be vacuumed at an increased height setting compared to a flat woven rug. For the gentlest approach, vacuum in the direction of the pile instead of doing a random back and forth motion.
The beater bar or brush roll should be set to “off” since oriental rugs aren’t built to stand up to that much mechanical cleaning. The goal is to gently lift dirt away from the rug without too much friction or agitation. Steer clear of fringe with the main vacuum. Instead, use a small hand attachment to clean tassels section by section without letting the strands be sucked too far into the hose. Check out these top 10 vacuums for rugs and carpet.
Use Air Flow to Your Advantage
Many people assume a high level of suction is the key to getting dust out of a rug. That’s not precisely true. It is increased air flow that gets the job done (the air has to be actually moving to transfer dust from the rug into the bag or canister). Vacuums that have a water basin are particularly good at delivering consistent air flow since there is no bag with pores that can get clogged with dust.
With any vacuum, you may find it helpful to have someone hold down one edge of the rug to keep it taut as you work. That way, air can be pulled all the way through the foundation of the rug instead of just sucking the surface of the rug up into the machine creating an air tight seal that doesn’t budge the dust. You may also hang up the rug and use an upholstery tool for cleaning. Using a higher power setting (still with the beater bar deactivated) may increase the air flow.
Remember: Vacuuming is only intended to remove light dust and grit. Your rug should also be regularly washed by a professional with special equipment and techniques to remove any embedded dirt or grime. At Ayoub N&H, our first step of the cleaning process is removing the embedded dry soil which can eliminate 80% more dry soil than any vacuum. Contact us for more information on rug cleaning services.