Is It Time to Get Your Persian Rugs Cleaned?

Persian rugs cleaned

It’s springtime, approaching summertime, in Sydney and that brings new growth and warm weather, great for tourists and natives alike to be out and about. This can also be a time when a lot more outside debris is being tracked indoors and onto your beautiful Persian rugs. A dirty Persian rug will not reveal the vibrant colours that it should.

Did you know that some wool rugs can hold up to a kilo of dirt per square meter, before you can even see it? That’s a lot of dirt being ground in, causing a negative effect to the carpet fibres. This sand and dirt gets into the warp and weft of the carpet and causes lots of damage. Because it’s hard to see, rugs are often not properly cleaned as frequently as they should be.

Is it time to get your persian rugs cleaned download

Protect Your Investment

A Persian rug is often the focal point of a room. As such, it can receive a lot of wear and tear. Persian rugs are works of art. They are often heirlooms, passed down from generation to generation. Or they’ve been purchased as a long-term investment. A high-quality Persian rug can last for decades with proper care and cleaning.

It’s a good idea to get your Persian rugs professionally cleaned at least once every three to four years, depending on traffic, use, location and other factors. If you’re not sure whether your rug needs cleaning, there are some steps to take to determine how dirty it is.

  1. Very lightly dampen a clean white cloth and gently rub it against the rug’s surface a few times. If dirt shows on the cloth, the rug needs cleaning. Be careful not to use too much water in the cloth in case the rug’s dyes are not colourfast.
  2. Pick up the corner of the rug and kick the underside. If there is a cloud of dust, it needs cleaning.
  3. Fold a corner of the rug over, with the backside facing you. You’ll be able to see the crevices where your vacuum can’t reach. If you see dust and debris lodged there, get the carpet cleaned.

Should You Have Persian Rugs Professionally Cleaned?

It’s generally a little less expensive to clean your rugs yourself and you can probably find tips to do so. However, because your Persian rugs are an investment, it’s important to know that there are mistakes you can make that are difficult and expensive to fix. For instance, some rugs are not colourfast and it’s possible to cause the colours to run. Wool rugs, as another example, need to be dried in a way that prevents shrinkage and damage to the structural fibres.

Mistakes made in cleaning can be very costly to fix and in the worst case, impossible to recover. Surface cleaning your rug occasionally is okay if done carefully, and the rug is well maintained, but nothing is a substitute for professional rug cleaning.

A well-cared-for Persian rug can last a century, remaining beautiful and functional. However, its lifespan will be considerably shortened if it’s not adequately cleaned and maintained. Professional Persian rug cleaners have the knowledge and experience that is necessary to clean, as well as preserve the long-lasting beauty of the rugs.

Will Any Professional Carpet Cleaning Company Suffice?

When we refer to “professional Persian rug cleaners”, that doesn’t mean your regular carpet cleaning company who comes into your home for the cleaning. These professionals don’t have the knowledge and experience needed to properly clean a Persian rug, which requires special treatment. They will not know to dust your rug, nor will they use cleaning chemicals and materials best suited to valuable wool or silk rugs.

Standard carpet cleaning companies may not use the required washing process on your rug. Failure to do so may result in colour runs. These flaws may show up immediately during an improper cleaning or the next time the rug is cleaned. Because these companies clean carpets in the home, they will not be adequately dried, leaving the fabric brittle and at risk of degradation.

Many standard carpet cleaning companies use steam to clean carpets in your home. This process uses a hot water extraction machine. This method saturates the top part of the rug, never reaching the bottom half. The cleaning solution is sprayed on the rug, then immediately extracted by the vacuum, thereby leaving the bottom layer of the rug still dirty.

Steam cleaning can be especially harmful to Persian rugs made of wool and silk. The dirty water remaining in the carpet leaves it soggy, causing browning or wicking, mildew, shrinkage or damaged backing.

Steps to a Professional Persian Rug Cleaning

There are specific steps followed by professionals in the rug-cleaning process.

1. Inspection
The rug will be carefully inspected for wear and tear, stains, small tears, structural integrity and UV damage. They will recommend any repairs or restoration they deem warranted. They will also detail the cleaning plan.

2. Dust Removal
Thorough dusting is a critical step in rug cleaning. The professionals will vacuum the rug with a powerful commercial vacuum cleaner that sucks up the fine, accumulated dirt and dust that most home vacuums cannot. But even that process cannot remove all dirt and dust particles. Most rugs will require additional steps, including placement on a vibrating machine and manual beating with a length of hose. In Iran, they often use a branch from a pomegranate tree. In some cases, even these techniques can leave some dirt behind. When this happens, the rug may be soaked in water dissolve any remaining particles.

3. Spot Treatment
Any spots or stains will be treated, as appropriate. Specialized cleaning materials and processes will be used, based on the type of stain encountered. All cleaning products are specifically made for Oriental and Persian rugs, so they will not harm or discolour them. As with the dusting step, treating stains prior to washing the rug is important in making sure the rug is cleaned uniformly.

4. Washing and Rinsing
Only after thorough dusting and stain removal is complete, the washing process begins. The rug is soaked with water and cleaning solution. Only cleaning solutions that are intended specifically for Oriental and Persian rugs are used because they maintain the lustre of the fabric. The solutions will be applied and hand-brushed into the fibres of the rug, in the direction of the rug pile. It’s then rinsed with clean water to remove all cleaning solutions.

5. Extraction
Commercial suction machines will extract as much water as possible from the rugs. Modern techniques now even include the use of a centrifuge to spin excess water out.

6. Drying
Finally, the rugs are hung to dry in a temperature-controlled room. Because the cleaning solutions used are quick-drying, the rugs are normally completely dry within 24 hours.

Bijan Exclusive Rugs uses an ancient Persian method which is to dry the rugs on a flat surface in the sun. Sunlight, in modest quantity, can help revive some colours and is the most environmentally sustainable option.

7. Final Inspection
The Persian rug cleaning professionals will inspect the carpet to make sure that it is thoroughly cleaned and stain-free. They will also ensure that any strands of high-pile are carefully clipped. Lastly, the rugs are combed with a special brush to align the pile to its natural path and fringes are combed and trimmed. Silk rugs are also ironed in the direction of the pile.

Note: A thorough professional cleaning process will take 2 to 3 week to complete.

Stains Can Be Very Harmful if Left Untreated

Accidents happen, and they sometimes cause spills on your Persian rug. To learn how to prevent and treat stains on your rug, check out our blog on Preventing Stains on Your Persian Rug for some tips.

As noted in the previous blog, there are stains that are relatively minor and can be cleaned up yourself. The key is catching it as soon as it happens. If left to penetrate and dry into the carpet fibres, it becomes more difficult to treat and remove.

Persian rugs cleaned

Pet stains are especially challenging. To most people, their pets are a part of their family. But pets can sometimes have accidents. If left untreated on your Persian rugs, they can result in damage above and beyond an unpleasant odour.

Pet urine doesn’t stay on the surface of rugs; it penetrates the fibres and spreads to the backing and floor beneath. Because pets can sense where the previous incident is located, they tend to continue to urinate in the same spots. You may not even be able to pinpoint the spot until several incidents have occurred.

When the urine dries, it creates concentrated crystals that can intensify the odour. It is almost impossible to remove these crystals without specialized pet urine cleaning products. And if additional moisture is added, the crystals are re-activated. Left untreated, urine and its crystals will cause permanent colour damage to your Persian rug.

The professional Persian rug cleaners have the knowledge and cleaning products needed to break down the urine crystals, after which the rug will be thoroughly soaked to remove all contaminants.

How Is Bijan Exclusive Rugs Different?

Bijan Exclusive Rugs knows Oriental and Persian rugs. We understand the importance of maintaining these fine additions to your home. We are experienced and knowledgeable in the cleaning and restoration of Persian rugs, using only the proper procedures, specialized cleaning products and equipment to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned while protecting their quality.

We inspect the rugs and present a cleaning plan for you. We pretest every rug prior to cleaning to prevent colour runs and other damage. We make sure every step is taken to produce results that will satisfy you. From stain treatment to thorough dusting, to drying, to final inspection–we don’t skip any necessary steps.

Cleaning oriental rugs is an intensive process that takes time. Don’t trust your beautiful investments to amateurs. Have your Persian rugs cleaned by the professionals at Bijan Exclusive Rugs to ensure they will last a lifetime! Contact us today to schedule a professional carpet cleaning to keep your rugs beautiful and lasting for decades!

Preventing Stains on Your Persian Rug

stains on persian rug

Your genuine, handmade Persian rug is an investment. You want it to remain beautiful no matter how long you have it, which could be a lifetime or longer. There are some steps you can take to prevent permanent stains from ruining your Persian rug.

Preventing Stains on Your Persian Rugs download

Protecting Your Persian Rug

You know the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Well, that applies to Persian rugs as well. Keeping your rug clean and taking some steps to mitigate excess dirt from forming in the fibers can make stain removal easier.

One way of keeping a lot of dirt from getting in and on your rug is to leave it at the door. Taking your shoes off when you enter from the outside will prevent all the outdoor debris, mud, and whatever you’ve picked up walking outside, even from the car to the front door. Make it a practice for everyone in the home to walk barefoot or in stocking feet while indoors. This will prevent not only dirt, pollutants, bacteria and the like from getting ground in to the rug fibers, but also save on wear and tear on the rug.

You should also vacuum your Persian rug regularly, at least once a week. This will remove crumbs, dust and debris that’s accumulated in the fibers. It also provides an opportunity to notice if there are areas that are stiff or discolored, meaning possible spills have occurred. Prompt treatment of those affected areas can prevent a permanent stain from forming.

Cautions on Cleaning Persian Rugs

You can treat spills and stains on your Persian carpet, but make sure you’re aware of the manufacturers instructions. Check the rug for cleaning recommendations before you start. Use the gentlest cleaning method and as little cleaning solution possible. Be gentle, don’t scrub the area. Follow a ritual of spray, dab, blot, suction, dry. If you are uncertain whether you can clean your rug yourself without damaging it further, always consult with a professional oriental rug manufacturer for guidance.

Preventing Stains from Forming in the Rug

Regardless of how careful you are, you or someone else will most likely drop or spill something on your Persian rug. Some dry substances can simply be vacuumed up, but others may need prompt treatment to prevent stains from forming. Here are some tips to get these spills cleaned up.

1. Clean it quickly. This step is by far the most important one in preventing stains. The longer it is left untreated, the more the spills or substances get embedded in the fibers, making it difficult to remove.

2. Blot up excess liquid from spills. Using a clean, white, absorbent cloth or paper towel, blot up the liquid, first on the top side of the carpet, then on the back. It’s important to use a white cloth to prevent color running from the cloth, and to blot, not rub! Rubbing will spread the stain and push it further into the rug’s pile and cause abrasion of the fibers.

3. Scoop up solid substances. If the spill is not liquid, but cannot be vacuumed up, scoop it up with a spoon or other utensil. Try not to push the substance into the fibers if possible. If there is any residue remaining, either vacuum (if dry) or dab with a clean, white cloth.

4. Dampen dried spills. If the liquid spill has already dried, dampen it with a clean spray bottle. Don’t pour water on it, as it will just require more drying.

5. Use the least harsh and minimal amount of cleaning agents. Try spraying a small mist of water and dabbing with the clean white cloth first. If that doesn’t remove it, there are other solutions you can try as follows:

  • Mild detergent and water. Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid with water (½ teaspoon to 1 quart of water) pour some into a spray bottle. Make sure the detergent does not contain bleach or lanolin. Dawn or Joy with no additives are good choices. Mist the area and proceed as with regular water.
  • Mix ⅓ cup of white vinegar with ⅔ cup water.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of clear household ammonia with ½ cup of water.
  • Vinegar, detergent and water. Mix ¼ cup white vinegar, ½ teaspoon mild dishwashing liquid and 2 cups tepid water. Mist with spray bottle and clean as described above.
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used in some situations.

6. Pre-test before using any cleaning substance. Some Persian rugs may be colored with dyes that could run or fade when cleaned with certain cleaning solutions. Test any the solution on a small area of the rug that is more inconspicuous. NEVER USE BLEACH to clean your Persian rug. Bleach may be effective in removing some stubborn stains on white or colorfast materials, but will fade the dyes in the fibers of the rug.

7. Blot between cleaning applications. Usually, plain water is recommended; however, some stains may need stronger substances or requre multiple applications. If so, you should blot the excess liquid after each step. Press the clean white cloth firmly down onto the surface of the rug and hold until no more liquid is absorbed. You may need to use several cloths if there is a lot of excess liquid.

8. Clean large spills outdoors. If the area needing cleaning is rather large, you can clean the rug outdoors, weather permitting. You can use your garden hose to wet the stain and then apply the cleaning solution needed.

9. Dry the rug completely. It’s important to dry the rug as soon as possible. You can do this safely using a fan or hair dryer. Do not let it dry in the sun, as that can cause fading.

Stains that Need Special Treatment

Come substances that are spilled on your Persian rug may be more difficult to remove than others. We’ve covered a few specific ones here with some possible solutions.

1. Red wine will probably cause panic when it’s spilled over your beautiful Persian rug. Some steps to mitigate the stain from becoming permanent are as follows:

  • Pour white wine over the spill. That’s right–white wine will neutralize the red wine, making it easier and more effective to treat. Club soda can work as well, but white wine seems to work better.
  • Blot up excess liquid gently and completely.
  • Cover area with a ¼ inch thick layer of regular table salt. Don’t skimp on the salt–if after you pour it on it still looks damp, dump more on top until the surface appears dry.
  • Let stand overnight or until completely dry.
  • Scoop up salt pieces and vacuum.

2. Vomit on your rug can not only stain it but cause very unpleasant odors that remain if not removed completely. Here are some solutions to treat this specific situation.

  • Scoop up as much of the larger particles as you can with a spoon or spatula.
  • Blot the area with a clean, damp white cloth.
  • Mix ½ cup of water with 1 tablespoon of ammonia in a clean spray bottle.

— or —

  • Mix ⅓ cup of white vinegar with ⅔ cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution on the stain to neutralize it. Blot with paper towels or clean white cloth.
  • Mix ¼ teaspoon of mild dishwashing detergent with a quart of water in a bowl. Using a paper towel or clean white cloth, apply the mixture over the stain, making sure to dab it on, not rub it in. If cloths get soiled, replace with clean ones.
  • Spray the area with clean water and blot it up, repeating the process until the stain is gone. Spray once again with clean water, then place a clean, white, dry cloth over it and hold it with a weight to soak up more water. (Paper weights, bricks, rocks or anything similarly heavy will work.) Let stand for about an hour.
  • Allow to dry completely.

3. Pet accidents can result in stains on your Persian rug. Here are some tips on treating pet urine on your carpet.

  • Mix ⅓ cup of white vinegar with ⅔ cup of water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the solution on the stain to neutralize it. Blot with paper towels or clean white cloth.
  • Repeat process until stain is gone.
  • Dry area completely.

4. Ballpoint pen ink can be removed by soaking it with hairspray. Once that dries, spray with vinegar and water solution, blot up excess, and let dry.

5. Oil, butter or grease need special dry cleaning solvents to remove the materials. Blot and/or brush after applying.

6. Soft drinks, coffee and tea can be treated using a solution of 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing detergent, ⅓ cup of vinegar and ⅔ cup of water.

Keep a Persian Rug Cleaning Kit Handy

Because you never know when spills and accidents will happen, it’s good to have certain cleaning items available for cleanup. Here are some suggestions for the contents of your cleaning kit.

  • Several clean, white, absorbent cloths or rolls of white paper towels
  • A large white sponge
  • White vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • White wine
  • Hairspray
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Dry cleaning solvent.
  • Several clean spray bottles. You can have some filled with appropriate solutions (water mixed with right amounts of vinegar, ammonia, dishwashing soap).

Stains that Cannot be Removed

There are some spills that cause stains that cannot be removed, as they permanently alter the carpet’s color. This include:

  • Acids / Toilet Bowl Cleaners
  • Acne Medications
  • Alkaline Drain Cleaners
  • Chlorinated Bleaches
  • Colored Hair Dyes
  • Iodine
  • Insecticides
  • Mustard with Tumeric
  • Plant Fertilizers

Call the Professionals at Bijan Exclusive Rugs for Questions on Your Persian Rugs

If you are in doubt about how to treat stains on your Persian carpets, Bijan can answer them! Contact us today for guidance on caring for your investments, or to schedule a professional carpet cleaning to keep your rugs beautiful and lasting for decades!