Snow to clean a Persian rug?

Wendy_the_PoohJanuary 7, 2004

I have an old one that my mother had in her room as a kid (she's now in her seventies). It is a worn, middle-sized, fairly nice looking rug. She said I can shake it out and then take it outside and rub it with snow to clean it. Does anyone else think this is a good idea?


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I would suggest a professional rug cleaner with a good local reputation (check the BBB).

I doiube the snow would hurt it, but it wouldn't do any more than plain water for cleaning.

Don't shake them - it can damage the threads the knots are on.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2004 at 9:10PM
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That's an old method of cleaning a fine old Oriental....the thought is that the snow cleans it some without really wetting the rug. If you do try the snow will be really surprised at the dirty snow that shakes off your rug.....
As lazy says....don't shake an old Oriental....bad on the knots and end fibers.
I'm not infavor of "professional rug cleaners" for a fine old rug....I would turn it up side down and vacuum the back....turn and vacuum the front.....then do the hands and knees thing with a terry towel wet with just water.
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 7, 2004 at 9:28PM
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And don't use a vacuum head with motorized brushes ... just a plain one.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 8:56AM
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Thanks much for the good info, both of you. I may have gone and used the upright vacuum I have or the head with rotating brushes (vacuum-powered), but now I will use my old Eureka canister vacuum with the big metal head. I knew if I kept it long enough, I would use it again, lol!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 4:56PM
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I read about that method in the newspaper years ago, when they interviewed a representative from a reputable rug company here.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 10:40AM
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Wendy....use the upright with the rotating brushes....but keep away from the fringes and edges. My "rug man"...a dealer in new and used Orientals, said that a Hoover with the rotating brushes is the best thing because it gets the grit out which cuts the fibers.
Turn the rug over and vacuum the back with the beater bar cleaner and see what shakes out!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 2:55PM
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I have a friend that knew a lot of Europeans with Persian, oriental rugs and this is how they cleaned them:

Put them out in a rain storm - the harder the rain the better, then dry in the sun. You can hang them over a deck railing or something.

I tried this with a Sarouk and it worked so beautifully (took out pet odors, too) so now that is how I clean my wool and non-wool area rugs.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2004 at 7:38PM
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Wendy, what your mother is talking about is an old fashioned snow cleaning. I'm a handspinner, weaver and rug maker (hobby, not professional) and that's what I use with my good rugs.

It's important to put the rug outside in a protected unheated location for several hours or overnight so that the rug is the same temperature as the snow.

The best time to do this is when it's quite cold and dry out. The snow should be dry, not soggy.

Rather than rubbing the face of the rug with snow, place it face down on an area of clean snow and use a broom or the back of a rake to beat it lightly but vigorously. You want to create a lot of vibration without mashing the rug down into the snow.

When you're tired of beating the rug, flip it over and you'll be *amazed* at how much dirt was left behind. You can start with a thoroughly vacuumed rug and still get amazing amounts of dirt and broken off wool fibres out of it (the dirt cuts the wool fibres--up to half the dirt you get out of a wool rug is actually broken fibres).

Flip off the excess snow either by very gently shaking it or by holding it up while someone else beats the back. If you shake the rug, don't be like boys in a locker room! The shaking motion should barely move the rug, just enough motion to make it shimmy gently. Hard flipping can actually damage the rug.

Move the rug to a clean spot and repeat.

When you've run out of energy or run out of clean snow, hold up the rug and have someone gently beat the back of it to get as much snow as possible out of it.

Take it back to the protected area and lay it out to let the rest of the snow sublimate out of the rug. Sublimation refers to a process that a substance goes through when it turns from a solid (snow) to a vapor (ice) without going through a liquid phase. This only happens in cold, dry weather.

Take the rug back in the house and let it warm up to room temperature before you reposition it.

It will look beautiful Somehow the dry snow treatment intensifies the colours and makes the rug look brand new again.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2004 at 4:54PM
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Eithne, I'm saving your instructions to use with some of my rugs, hooked and Persian. Thanks!!


    Bookmark   February 2, 2004 at 8:12PM
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Hi there,
Just a quick question....what is the best way for we poor folks with no snow to clean our rugs????? Are we banished to the dungeon to scrub on hands and knees??????
Sincere thanks for any ideas!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 10:34AM
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One advantage of snow cleaning rugs would be that dust mites would be killed in subfreezing temperatures, and can then be vacuumed out along with their icky byproducts with a HEPA filter. This might be my new winter sport. Thanks, Eithne.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2004 at 11:21AM
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I have been told to never, ever vacuum a Persian rug. I was told to sweep with a good broom. The more you sweep the lovlier sheen the rug gets. Also to clean them, my Afghan friends put the rugs out on clean grass and pulled them around the yard.( Two people, each taking a corner) This also cleaned them very well.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2004 at 8:14PM
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Sorry...I have had Persian, iranian, Oriental rugs on my floor for well more than 40 years....and before that in my parents' home. I would NEVER think of not vacuuming them. It's the sand and grit that wear them....and vacuuming gets it out a lot better than a broom....unless you live in Afganistan and have no vacuum.
Linda C

    Bookmark   June 9, 2004 at 11:09PM
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I'm in Manhattan and my 'rug' man is missing..which place
to clean expensive orientals?? I've had poor luck at quite a
few...would really appreciate your input..thanks alot.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2004 at 10:10AM
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We have had good luck sending our carpets out to:
Perfect Carpet Cleaning Co
(914) 668-6131
644 Whittier St
Bronx, NY 10474

Others are reviews by Franklin Reports.

Here is a link that might be useful: Franklin reports

    Bookmark   November 18, 2004 at 11:21PM
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I'm sorry I don't know anything about snow cleaning. I've sent my Karastan wool rug out for washing a few times, but was recently told not to clean it so often. The place washed it and hung it to dry.

I was told to vacuum crosswise, but not lengthwise on the lovely Persian rug I just bought and no beater bar. When I told the seller that my dog headed straight for the new rug the seller said it is ok to let the dog sleep on the rug. She's not a smelly dog, but I think she could have confined herself to the old Karastan rug instead of sleeping on the fine new beautiful soft rug. Dog has good taste, though!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2004 at 10:38PM
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The no-vacume rule is probably a good one if you take your shoes off in the house and therefore don't get a lot of grit into the carpet to begin with. (As I believe one would in all of the places where these rugs are made/originate.)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 1:06PM
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These rugs were made in the hills of what is now Afghanastan and Iran.....very sandy places!
Vacuuming is a good thing.....try turning your rug over and vacuuming the back with a beater bar will be amazed at what "shakes out".
When I was a kid on the East coast....the Afghani rug dealers would always have a rug or 2 out on the sidewalk in front of their shpw their wares and also to show how hard wearing an Oriental rug is.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 4:38PM
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So you wouldn't steam clean this 80 yr old wool Sarouk from Iran.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2012 at 3:20PM
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