CARPET CLEANING TIPS


First of all, here is what you absolutely must not do with your valuable carpets.


Be careful! Silk and antique carpets must be washed solely by professional carpets-cleaning establishments.

Go and visit a museum to contemplate an antique Persian carpet (which means produced before 1895.) Your carpet can also age so well. What’s the secret? It is easier than you can imagine. A carpet is conceived to be walked on; it is destroyed by moths, intense and permanent moisture and above all wrong maintenance practice.


  • Rotate the carpet. You must not leave Oriental carpets in the same position for too long. They often have to be rotated at 180 degrees so that the wear pattern will be even. If carpets are in direct sun they will age evenly by rotating them. The type of carpet determines how often you have to rotate it; pieces laid at entranceways have to be rotated more often, whilst pieces placed in bedrooms much less frequently.


  • Very strong heat. Any direct or strong heat source which the carpet is constantly subjected to, dries the natural oils and organic compounds contained in wool, making it mat and friable just as the wool taken from a dead sheep. Therefore it can damage carpets. Direct sunlight. Carpets should be used and kept in well lit areas to prevent any damage caused by moths. However, keep in mind that long-term direct sunlight exposure will make colours fade. This is another reason explaining why carpets have to be regularly rotated to let their coloration remain even.


  • Pets. Most pets love carpets and in a house covered with carpets keeping domestic animals, especially if they are not trained, provides a serious problem to the carpet. Should cats find a carpet with face downward or folded, they will struggle to tear it up, thrusting their claws into the fibres and will no doubt achieve a successful result. The acid existing in urine seriously alters the colours of the carpet and if the accident repeatedly occurs over time this will rot the foundation. The urine stain must be removed immediately; if it is left on the carpet too long it will be almost impossible to wipe it away.


STAINS

Come pulire i tappeti

If you accidentally spill some fluids on the carpet, you have to deal with the stain immediately, dubbing away the spillage with a clean cotton wad. It is also recommended to insert a sheet of newspaper under the carpet to protect the floor from eventual dye stains.

Afterwards clean the stain with some Marseille soap, then rinse and dry it as fast as possible. Pay attention to dry it lifting up the wet parts. Never use stain removers unless you are sure about the colour fastness of your carpet.

HOW TO REMOVE STAINS


Be careful: ‘warm water’ refers to water at a bearable temperature to wash oneself, not exceeding 45 degrees, and not hot water. 

  • Urine: Remove excess moisture by dubbing the stain with an un-dyed cloth. Sponge the area with clean, lukewarm water and repeat this operation several times. Mix two tea spoons of white vinegar with half a litre of lukewarm water and wipe the stain with this solution. After a few minutes rinse it with an un-dyed cloth that is wet with lukewarm water. If necessary repeat the process. Let the area dry placing layers of white blotting paper or a non-dyed cotton cloth above and under the wet area. Press it under a stack of heavy books.


  • Tea, coffee, soft drinks, juices, milk, ice cream, alcohol: Absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Sponge the spot with clean, lukewarm water. Mix a tea spoon of non-alkaline detergent with half a litre of lukewarm water and clean the spot. After a few minutes rinse it with a sponge that is wet with clean, lukewarm water. If the stain remains, repeat this operation. Then dry it by dubbing the area with a non-dyed cloth or with the aid of an hairdryer on minimum mode.


  • Solid or liquid chocolate, sauce, shoe polish: Dub excess moisture. Sponge the stain with lukewarm water, removing the spill as much as possible. Add a tea cup of a mild carpet shampoo without any detergent or soap to four tea cups of lukewarm water and thoroughly rub the spot. Then accurately rinse the area with clean, lukewarm water and dub it until it is dry.


  • Blood, eggs, grease: Absorb the spillage. Sponge the stain with clean, cold water, removing as much of the spill as possible. Mix half a tea cup of salt with one litre of water, and wipe the stain with a sponge that is wet with this solution. Rinse and dub the area until it dries. If the stain remains, mix two tea spoons of non-alkaline detergent with half a litre of water. Sponge the spot again and then rinse it.


  • Nail polish: Oriental carpets are made of natural fibres. Acetone will indeed remove most any nail polish. Using an eye dropper, apply a small amount of acetone to the stain. After a few minutes dub the area with a non-dyed cloth until it dries.


  • Wax, butter, greasy substance: Remove the spill as much as possible using a not very sharp knife or a brush. Cover the stain with a piece of packaging or white kitchen paper and gently press it with hot iron, on mid-temperature mode. Repeat the process until the paper has absorbed all the greasy spill. Then mix two tea spoons of non-alkaline detergent and two spoons of white vinegar with half a litre of lukewarm water and dilute the stain with this solution. Rinse the area with clean, lukewarm water. Finally dry it with the aid of a hairdryer on minimum mode.


ROTTEN CARPETS


A wet carpet will rotten in the long run. To prevent this it is recommended to eliminate the rotten areas, creating a hole that will need restoration.

If rotten areas are very large, you will have to assess whether having the carpet restored is convenient or whether it would be enough to sew a lining to the back side of the piece. This solution would strengthen the weakest parts of the structure through thin and tough threads.


CARPET EDGES


The edges of the carpet consist of warp strings extending off the weave to form the carpet selvedges and fringes. These parts are likely to frail and unravel over time. As soon as the carpet shows the first signs of this process, a conservative restoration should be carried out to bind the interior structure of the carpet.


CARPET SIDES


The sides of valuable silk weave carpets, luxury carpets, with high knot density are especially prone to curling since these pieces are tightly knotted and thickly napped. As a consequence the carpet is not perfectly stretched. It may occur that the carpet gets torn where it folds and the only possible thing to do in these cases is restoring the inside structure; a very complex and delicate intervention that can only be performed by a particularly skilled craftsman.


MOTHS


Not only do moths cause very serious damages to the carpet, but they are also very hard to find. Moths live and thrive in dark areas and eat up wool. They usually survive well in the pile and lay millions of eggs in very few weeks. They eat a carpet's wool off of its cotton foundations. So, even though the carpet looks undamaged, it will lose wool when vacuumed. If that is the case, you are recommended to spray the carpet with special disinfectants and keep it in air-tight sealed plastic bags for at least one month. After washing it vigorously, you can have it restored. A good trick to prevent the threat of moths is placing a vase containing some feathers in the same room of the carpet. Moths will no doubt prefer to lay their eggs on feathers that on your carpet.


MINOR REPAIRING


Anyone can carry out minor repairs simply with the use of a solid needle and assorted wool yarn that can be found in handicraft shops or well-stocked haberdasheries. The corners of some carpets are prone to curling; this inconvenience can be prevented by stretching the carpet. If this is not enough, then a much more complicated intervention is required, which only a professional can carry out.

If the carpet tends to dry, the problem arises from the fact that wool is prone to lose its natural oils. If that is the case a very easy repair is enough: just lay the carpet on a flat surface, wipe each side of the carpet with a handful of untreated wool from a newly sheared rump. In this way you will add some natural lanoline back to the piece.


Carpet RestorationRESTORATION


If the carpet is seriously damaged it needs to be restored. Restoration is such a difficult and demanding process that only skilled professional craftsmen can perform it.

The goal of restoration is to preserve the carpet and preventing any damage from getting worse (conservative restoration) or restore the piece to its original state (full restoration). Firstly, restorers analyse the piece to assess its overall state of repair, establish the period in question and its intrinsic value. According to this assessment they then decide the kind of intervention. The carpet is washed in order to work on clean, soft and elastic fibres and see the real colours.

On account of the knowledge and skill it requires, this operation is rather expensive and is therefore recommended only for valuable carpets, provided that the restoration is cost-effective (its cost should never exceed the price of the carpet itself).


HOLES



Holes in carpets can be caused by cigarette burns, animals, by violently dragging objects on their surface etc... If the carpet is very dirty, fibers lose their elasticity and tend to break and frail, especially in excessively dry environments. Restoring a hole means weave a part of the carpet from scratch. This task is particularly complex and requires the intervention of a specialist.

Our Oriental carpets are woven solely by hand and thus are all one-of-a-kind pieces. Variations in colours and patterns are inevitable and guarantee the authenticity of these products.



See also Cleaning carpet and How to wash  carpet