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Cleaning oriental rugs

Posted by Alan_Harrison (Alan_Harrison), 20 September 2003
In my business I clean only oriental rugs. I use a Prochem steameasy 400 and overall get good results using a product called Liquid Woolsafe. (well no complaints at least) There are several recouring problems that crop up. Some rugs are very soiled and require several cleaning cycles to get a good result. Even then, by putting the rug face down and vacuuming with a beater bar cleaner will produce large quantities of grit not removed by the cleaning. I've designed a beating machine that I'm about to have fabricated by a local engineer. this I hope will release even more grit that can be vacuumed from the surface of the rug. Before I go ahead I'd be interested in comments about the equipment that I'm using. The Prochem machine I bought on recommendation of my local supplier but as far as I know he only offered Prochem machines.
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 20 September 2003
Are you cleaning them in the customers or on your premises?

if you are doing them in your premises then I heard of a company in the States that hangs them up and blast them from the back with compressed air.  but laying them upside down and giving them a good vac will vibrate a lot of dirt out.

As for cleaning them in the customers home I've heard that wool oriental rugs respond very well to acid based shampoos, (Chemspecs oriental rug shampoo is often used) perhaps a 2 stage cleaning process will get them cleaner a good shampoo with a rotory machine and then a woolsafe rinse with your steameasy.

How are you cleaning the fringes?

Posted by Derek (Derek), 20 September 2003
Hi Alan

From your post I assume that you clean Orientals in your own workshops.

Plant cleaning operations that I have visited over the years have invested in a 'Vibo-beater' which is a machine that you can insert a rug into and subject it to a vibration/ beating action... this is done front and back, boy does it move the dirt.

Two Company's that use Vibrobeaters are W.E. Franklins (Sheffield) Ltd... in Sheffield obviously and Thames Carpet Cleaners in Henley-on-Thames.

Hope this helps.

Posted by Mr._One_Step (Mr._One_Step), 21 September 2003
Hi Alan,

I use a Holloway pile lifter vacuum for the purpose of dry soil removal. I place the rug face down on an oversized waterproof plastic sheet and then run the pile lifter across the back. Itís amazing how much dust and particulate matter this will dislodge. I them vacuum the plastic sheet to remove the collected dust and again place the rug facing down on the sheet and repeat the exercise just to be sure.

I then pre-test both the pH of the rug previous cleaning residues, stability for the cleaning system I intend to use and also test for the colourfastness against of my designated cleaning solutions. When Iím happy to start and if wet cleanable I will pre-spray with a acid side WoolSafe approved preconditioner, agitate with a contra rotating twin brush machine either a Sebo Duo P dry powder machine or Duplex depending on the soil level and then extract at 400psi with my portable using a Woolsafe approved acid rinsing agent.  I clean the fringe by hand with an edging brush (brushing away from the rug) and again with the same pre-conditioner. I finally rinse and set up air movers to speed dry the rug laying flat.

If the fringe has browned either through previous Ďprofessionalí cleaning or the customerís attempts to brighten the fringe then I will post spray with a 7 % solution of white acetic acid and dry extract as much excess moisture as possible without rinsing. This removes the browning without damaging the cotton.


Steve Carpenter

Posted by Alan_Harrison (Alan_Harrison), 26 September 2003
Thanks for your replies.

A nice man at Chemspec has offered to lend me a Pile Lifter to try out. It sounds a bit agressive but some of the rugs I get to clean havn't been cleaned for 20 years and need a good thrashing. There's another post on fringes that I'm following. I think that browning is a universal problem and I use Prochem fringe whitner. This leaves a powder residue that can irritate some poeple and their pets. I'm going to try some of the suggestions on the fringes post and see how I get on. I think I might go ahead and make a beating machine. An instersting poject for the winter..


Alan Harrison

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