As usual, the first thing to remember when cleaning your rug is that common sense should prevail: if a rug is badly stained, damaged or dirtied, if it has been peed on a lot by your pet, if the colours have faded, run or bled into each other or there are gaping holes where rug used to be, spend the money and have it cleaned and/or repaired professionally - you won't regret it. Same goes for antique, old or silk and delicate rugs. Here's a great fact sheet on having your rugs cleaned by professionals; it gives you an idea of what's involved and how much it will cost to get it done - the information in it is intended for an Australian audience, however the principal is the same the world over.
First things first: a simple way of refreshing your carpet and maintaining it at its best is to vacuum weekly. Vacuum the entire face of the rug this way, but several times a year take the time to flip the rug over and vacuum the underside and the floor underneath. Once a year you might want to do a more thorough job: beat the rug, outside, stretched over something like a fence or sturdy clothesline or simply face down on your lawn. Follow with a vacuuming on both sides with a small upholstery attachment, using short strokes to dislodge and pick up the loosened dirt. Do not use a power or rotating head - they are far too rigorous and may damage the carpet fibres or tear the fringed edges. Make sure the filter of your vacuum cleaner is freshly emptied for maximum benefit - a model with continuous suction is best for this type of work as the small fibres of your carpet will quickly clog conventional filter systems. Finally, spray lightly on both sides with an appropriate non-staining household insecticide to prevent moth infestation.
If there is any sign of moth infestation or damage (look for a scattering of grit-like poo or white webbing and cocooning, especially on the rug's underside or in seams and creases - moths themselves are also a dead giveaway), you will need to do a more thorough job, and as quickly as possible to prevent further damage to your carpet's structure. The same goes for dried-on mud or really ingrained dirt. It's best to bring your rug up onto a hard surface to work on it - a large coffee table is ideal, although a driveway or patio (clean) will also work fine. Also ensure that your lighting is good - seeing what you are doing is paramount to success. Use a small hard-bristled brush (a stiff nail brush or something of that nature is ideal), and work over small areas of the carpet at a time with short brisk strokes, both in direction of the pile and against it - you need to be VERY careful here that you don't damage your carpet, edges or embroidered areas, so use judgment and caution rather than enthusiasm. Vacuum each area as you go to pick up the dust and dirt you dislodge and when you're finished, turn the rug over and start the process again. I also strongly recommend wearing a dust mask throughout this procedure. A further comment in the case of moth infestation: the moth larva will often establish themselves VERTICALLY in the direction of the pile and not horizontally against it. What this means is that your brushing might only remove the edge of the cocoon, leaving the actual larvae safely ensconced inside. In this case you need something to pick out the entire larvae - a metal nail file with a hooked end is ideal. In the case of kilims, they love to establish themselves in creases, or where thick weave areas abut onto thinner ones. Same technique with the nail file applies. Follow with a light spray on both sides with an appropriate insecticide, as described above.
This entire process is, needless to say, much easier to do with a second person assisting. The other person can hold the rug securely for you; look out for areas requiring spot cleaning and vacuum while you brush.
If you really need to wash your carpet and you want to try it yourself, don't despair, it's not as hard as it sounds. I can't give you any better advice than that provided here at Milton Cater Oriental Carpets. Another great article on general rug maintenance can be found here at Jacobsen Oriental Rugs, covering issues such as curling corners, warps, ripples and rug storage.
Disclaimer All information is provided here as general information only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for the advice of a properly qualified tradesman. If your rug is antique, damaged or delicate, seek professional advice, do NOT attempt to clean it yourself. Same goes for silk rugs. And as always with everything, use common sense!
Linda has a Honours degree in Marine Biology and a PhD in Ecology from the University of NSW, Australia. She has travelled extensively and is a passionate writer on subjects as diverse as the role played by women throughout history, tribal communities and their customs, symbology and ethnology, talismans and their history. Occasionally she also writes about her travel experiences, her new life on a 25 acres in the Northern Rivers region of northern Australia and her black miniature poodle Phoenix. She is currently writing her first book on talismans.
In 1989 my father Bernard packed in his house painting business and set off for two years on a backpacking trek to the remotest corners of the world. When he finally arrived in the oasis city of Kashgar, China, he was so impressed with its history that he decided to start a new life collecting and selling exotic goods from all over the world. For 2000 years the legendary city of Kashgar was a melting pot of ideas and a key trading post on the historic Silk Road. It was this unique combination of philosophy and trade that my father wanted to recreate at home.
Starting in markets in 1991, he opened his first store in the Sydney suburb of Newtown in 1994. I gave up my own career as a government scientist to join him in 2000 and soon convinced my partner Ian to join us in what was to become the Family Business.
Today our version of Kashgar stocks a hugely diverse range of furniture, rugs, textiles, antiques, handicrafts and jewellery sourced from over twenty different countries including India, Nepal, Tibet, China, Thailand, Burma, Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Our collection includes contemporary and tribal silver and gold jewellery, a unique range of headhunting curios, antique Buddhist relics and a collection of one-off necklaces, earrings and bracelets that I design and create myself using the beads and jewellery making techniques of ethnic minorities from around the globe.
Kashgar is a philosophy as well as a store. We are committed to supporting traditional artisans and small village communities by selling authentic handcrafted goods which are personally collected by us. By supporting traditional methods of design and production we hope to encourage local cottage industries which have a low impact on the environment and help ethnic minorities maintain their self-sufficiency into the 21st Century. We are particularly committed to assisting women around the world and to this end have worked with several organisations including the Hua Bin Women's Union of Vietnam, the East Timorese Women's Association and Tikondane in Zambia. Time honoured means of craftsmanship and traditional ways of life are disappearing as people all over the world give up their identity in favour of jeans and T-shirts. We see our trade as a means of staving off the inevitable encroachment of the 21st century, assisting communities to decide for themselves which parts of the western world they wish to incorporate (medicine, education) and which they wish to reject (prostitution, drug production, begging and servitude to warlords). We encourage our customers to think of the handicrafts and artifacts they buy from us as an investment: a piece of history and a way of life that may soon be gone forever.
Kashgar has recently closed its retail outlet and gone completely online.
In the past our pieces appeared in many movies including The Hobbit, Mission Impossible 2, Queen of the Damned, Scooby Doo, Moulin Rouge and Wolverine, and in many televisions series, as well as in plays, commercials and exhibitions. We've found special pieces for individual customers as well as for film sets, event management companies, hotels, businesses, consulates and embassies. The uniqueness of our stock means that we are also very appealing to interior and fashion designers with a taste for the exotic.
There is something for everyone at Kashgar - collectors, the curious, those looking for a special present or for something unique to adorn the home. Most of our items are one-off specialties; other pieces we only stock in small quantities so as to continuously offer a wide and ever-changing range of interesting products. We are also packed with ideas for decorating home and work premises that will challenge your established concepts of design and storage.
Please enjoy - Linda Heaphy
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