Get listed in the Spick and Span Directory

Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

Old rugs homemade

Posted by stevegunn (Steve Gunn), 5 February 2004
help required been to look at three homemade rugs over 80 years old Shocked Shocked apparently in them days rugs were often made like this.The rug is made up of old clothes compacted together and dyed anyone got any idea how i could clean them Huh Huh

This is one for the old timers might bring some memories back Wink
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 5 February 2004
Hi Steve,

My grandmother used to tell me about these type of rugs (not that I can remember them of course Embarassed)

In the 'old' days they (usually peg rugs made from rags) were taken outside on a nice day, hung over the washing line and beaten to remove all the loose soil... it was called the 'Halliday' method ( hung over and beaten  Wink  Grin )...only joking with the last bit.

Wet cleaning, as we know it, hadn't been invented.

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 5 February 2004
Hi Steve,

If I were not sensitive about my tender years, I would admit to watching 'rag rugs' being made  Wink

I have cleaned two or three of these, many years ago, and they can present several problems.

Firstly they cannot safely be pre-vac'ed with an upright cleaner, so beating (from the back) is the first stage, followed by air-only vacing from both sides.

Secondly, several different dyes could have been used, so pre-testing must incude each - I would sugest all test areas be covered with terry towels, topped with a pressure board and left for at least 20 mins. Alum, if you can locate some, can be a useful stabiliser for some home-brew dyes.

One of the rugs I cleaned was somewhat fragile in that I felt that some if the rag pieces may be drawn into the extraction tool and be pulled out as the tool advanced. (This was more likely due to the fact that felt-like materials were used). It was also extremely dirty. The solution to this was to treat it as an antique tapestry and clean through a muslin nappy held firmly in place.

Another option is not to machine extract but, haveing treated the rug with the chosen cleaning agent, to construct a press composed of seveal layers of terry towels, then the rug, then several more layers of towel, topped by a weighted presure-board. The whole sandwich is left for 6-8 hours, with the inner layers being changed after 30 mins., then at hourly intervals.

Clearly this latter method is not suitable for on-site cleaning but if you take the rugs home they would take up little time each evening  untill done.

Subject to pre-testing, one of the micro-splitters, at high dilution (1:20)  may well be suitable.

I do not need to comment on pre-qualification to a man of your experience, so I close with a wish of good luck.

Posted by John_Flynn (John_Flynn), 5 February 2004
Also been of mature years, I remember brodding this type of rug!! we used a sugar sack for the backing and cut up old coats etc, we also had a special frame to make them on.

Mymother, bless her 92 next, used to hang the rug over the outside clothes line and beat hell out of it with a tennis rachet shaped beater.

Ah lad those were the GOOD OLD days Wink Wink Wink Wink
Posted by endresult (endresult), 5 February 2004
Try this Steve!!

Posted by Dave_Parry (Dave Parry), 5 February 2004
Where do you put the chemicals ?
Posted by stevegunn (Steve Gunn), 6 February 2004
The rugs were of such sentimental value to the woman I walked away.I tested for dye transfer and guess what the dyes did transfer I did not want to ruin this womans only memory of her mother her words not mine.

This page is a thread posted to the cleanitup forum at and archived here for reference. To jump to the archive index please follow this link.