As we get ready to move, having sold our home for... less than we could have imagined a few years ago... this is a perfect time to identify what we really want or are able to keep and what should be given away, sold, or scrapped.
One item that came into our possession last year was a Persian rug owned by my mother's parents and passed down to her and then given to me when she moved into a retirement community. Because we already have all of the rugs we want or can use, I decided to give it to my oldest son in California. There are some logistics to such a decision.
First the rug should be cleaned. With our 1-year old grandson around, we do not want him playing on a rug that has years of dirt embedded. Cleaning such a rug is not cheap. We were quoted $4 per square foot for this 9 ft. by 12 ft. rug. You do the math. I decided to do it myself.
A bit of history here.... My mother's parents owned an oriental rug store and rug cleaning plant during the 1st half of last century. My parents took over the business in the 1950s and I was working in it by the time I was twelve. I learned how to clean rugs "the old way" as well as with what were then modern cleaning equipment. So, despite my older frame, I took on the task.
Note... this should be done on a warm, sunny day.
Wet down the rug front and back and scrub. I use an old Sears floor scrubber for which I purchased some new soft nylon bristle brushes.
After scrubbing, squeegee the water from the rug. I purchase a 24" janitor's squeegee with a rubber blade two decades ago and it is still usable. It comes in handy for cleaning an inch or two of wet snow off the driveway or getting the water out of the garage when I clean it down.
Then mix some carpet shampoo [I use the concentrated ZEP from Home Depot and somewhat sparingly. The soap has to be rinsed out later and you'll be there forever if you make the solution too concentrated. Once again scrub the rug both front and back. I simply fold the rug a little past center to do each half of the back.
Remember that you want to use softer nylon bristles, not the hard, stiff type used on tiles.
After you squeegee off the soap, you rinse off the back halves and then...squeegee, rinse...squeegee, rinse...squeegee the front. It is important to get the soap out because it will otherwise leave a film on the rug fibers that hold dirt. Soap will also tend to turn the white fringes brown as the rug dries, so I use a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar to cut the soap at the fringes. Of course, this has to be squeegeed off as well.
Then you vacuum as much moisture out of the rug as you can. I use an old carpet shampoo machine, but a wet shop vacuum may work also if it has a smaller hose and narrow slot nozzle.
Roll up the rug tightly. I purchased an 8 ft. furring strip for additional support and rolled the rug around that. You'll see why on the next step. This rug was well over 200 lbs. even after the water was extracted. That's a two man job, so I enlisted my neighbor to help roll and move the rug.
Find a nice spot to position the rug on end. This will allow it to drain off much of the excess water you could not extract by vacuuming. Then roll it out in the sun to dry. Depending on the temperature, sun, and wind, this could take anywhere from 8 hours to 2 days. Obviously, the thickness of the rug affects drying time.
You will need to turn the entire rug over to allow the back to dry or fold it in half to dry each half of the back side.
Finally, a good vacuuming when the rug is done drying and it is set for use.
In the case of this rug, we plan to take it to a local oriental rug store and purchase a good rubberized felt pad. Never use foam pads under an oriental rug. You want to add cushioning, but not allow something heavy to cause a sharp indentation which could damage the rug weave.
Then we will have the dealer ship the rug inside of the pad for protection to California where the 4th and 5th generation of the family will enjoy it.