vacuuming oriental rug

ksd51October 25, 2011

Can anyone recommend a vacuum that is ok for an oriental rug? The rug is handmade, not thick, and is not heirloom quality.

I have a cat so I would like to vacuum daily. I have read that it is best to switch off the beater bar. Will I get enough suction then? I have vacuumed it using the bare floor setting and it does the job, but I do not want to ruin it, so what is the best vacuum to use? Also, have read that it is best to vacuum the back side of the rug. My rug is large and has two couches sitting on it. Is it really necessary to turn the rug over? It would be a big job. The rug already has some nubs sticking up so I do want to be as gentle as possible. Would love to hear people's suggestions for the brand and type of vacuum to use.

Thanks for your help,

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Don't vacuum it at all! I don't have any solution, but I can tell you I ruined two Oriental rugs in my time-one in my dining room, the other in a bedroom. It all started with the dining room rug. It was beautiful red and gold, with fringe. I used my vacuum (actually I had three different vacs) and at first noticed the fringe border was pulling out, then tufts of the knotted main rug area. Soon it was ruined, with multiple bare spots. The second was in a bedroom and seemed more durable (thicker) but the same thing happened. I will never own another Oriental Rug. As pretty as they are, I can't afford an expensive really well-made one. Learn from my experience!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 11:24AM
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Before I say anything, I would like to know what brand and model vacuum cleaner you are using.

"Nubs"? Are you saying that tuffs are starting to pull out of the rug?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 1:49PM
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There will be a new vacuum model with a uniquely designed combination tool out soon by a Worldwide Vacuum maker that might be what you are looking for. I can't say who, or what model, as there are Internet restrictions at the present time. Depending on what vacuums your local vac store carries, they might be of some help.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses. I guess the nubs that I am referring to look like little soft knots, which can be easily and gently pulled straight up (as a straight piece of wool/yarn) and cut off with a scissor. Don't know if that is the right think to do, but it does not leave a hole or dent and the rug looks better. The vacuum I am using is a Bissel upright (12 amp), which adjusts for bare floors to high pile carpet. The beater bar does not have a shut off switch. Look forward to your response "geguymw"

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 8:53PM
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That's pilling. I'd say your beater bar is tearing at your carpet fibers.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 4:57PM
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One thing that might work: If you can find a manual carpet sweeper, those non-electric things people used years ago on light carpets. They had two brush-beaters in the head but no suction, the brushes simply swept hair, crumbs,, etc into a reservoir, to be dumped out later. I haven't seen one in 30 years, but they may still make them. Perhaps Vermont Country store or Fuller Brush may have something available?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 10:28AM
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Lucky -
You have me intrigued! I have been waiting for years for the perfect vacumn (by my definition) to come out. I have primarily hardwood & tile floors with area rugs in several rooms. I HATE canisters. I've been waiting for Simplicity, Oreck, or someone to make their upright light vacumns (9 lbs or so) with a beater bar that turns off.. Is that too much to ask?

Anyone doing that yet that you are aware of?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 11:25AM
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Well the new vacuum I am referring to is a canister (sorry). Like I said it can't be discussed on line yet but Feel free to PM me if you need any specific info.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 12:58PM
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I am glad that you clarified things for me, because when you said, "nubs sticking up", I thought you might have meant snags. Is your whole rug covered with pilling? When you see pilling, it is okay to cut it off, just cut off as little as possible.

I want to say that your Bissell is too low, if it is set to bare floor. It also sounds like you have no padding under the rug. A decent thickness of padding will protect your rug, plus make vacuuming easier. Also, you should be able to set the height up alittle. If you say your rug is not thick, then it will feel more like a mat when walked on. If there was decent padding, there would be more "give" when walked on. No padding will also cause the rug to wear in higher traffic areas. A padding will allow the rug to lift slightly, when vacuumed, whereas the vacuum will most likely "stick" to the floor without a pad. I am wondering if you are experiencing the same thing. I have to wonder if your belt is slipping.

The brushroll design of Bissell's uprights is very stiff. It does okay on thick carpeting, but may not do well on your rug, for DAILY vacuuming.

Using a vacuum cleaner with a rotating brushroll is not a bad thing. Carpet weavers are going to stand on the side of caution, because there are going to be those who will damage their rugs. People are going to damage their rug's fringe most of the time. With this topic, I had to go look at mine, that are used as "runners" on top of the WTW carpeting in the hall. I have had the "runners" for over 20+ years and not worn at all. Even the fringe in intact. I always use aggressive brushed vacuum cleaners on them.

An oriental rug does not have to be vacuumed using as many backward and forward strokes compared to regular Wall-to-Wall(WTW).

One set-up for you would be to keep the Bissell and use it once a week for thorough cleaning of the rug and purchase a suction-only canister for inbetween. I want to say that just using a suction-only vacuum all of the time is not going to thoroughly clean you rug. You could purchase a $60 small canister for the rug, plus use it for other light jobs and keep the Bissell for once a week on the oriental rug and and daily on other carpeting.

I would really like to hear about your rug and padding set-up.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 1:47PM
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He is talking about the new Miele S6 series and the specific model in the link below.

There are some vacuum cleaners that may fit your need. Sears sells the Kenmore Progressive Glide, which is a bagged "stick vac" with a full sized power nozzle. The brushroll can be shut off. The bags are going to be small, so it would not do well in a large carpeted home. You can get it for around $150. It weighs in alittle over 12lbs.

Miele also sells the S168 "stick vac". You can add a power nozzle, but it will be very expensive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Miele S6

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 2:10PM
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Nice Mike!

"The ----series will be launched on October 20th, 2011. For the first 5 weeks, it will not be allowed on the Internet."

" November 23rd, 2011 onwards, selected----models will be allowed for online exposure"

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 4:20PM
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I think you meant me. I am "geguymw" and the one who posted the info. Maybe you are confused with a Mike Kaiser in another vacuum related thread.


I forgot to answer one of your original questions. Vacuuming the backside is important if you have natural fiber rugs like wool. The scarey thing about these rugs are they can harbor bugs and their eggs. I am talking about moths and carpet beetles. I also have my own theory. IMHO, if dirt gets through and deposits underneath, that dirt and grit could cut the fiber underneath. I would suggest that you combine this with another activity. That activity is turning the rug.

If you have a large room-sized rug, you will want to turn it. You will help the rug to not develop wear in those high traffic areas. The sun can damage rugs also. That is another reason to turn a rug. I have turned a huge, old antique rug and will say that they weigh a ton. It takes at least two people to do it adequately. A smaller room-sized rug could be done by one, I think.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Thank you everyone for your very helpful advice. To clarify, the little nubs that I am talking about,can actually be pulled straight up, it is not a loop. So is that still considered pilling? I imagine that the suggestions for vacuuming are the same regardless of definition. Great suggestions for the type of mat to be used. I have a thin waffle mat which which was recommended to us. I will definitely look into a thicker mat, as the rug is not thick. Any recommendations for the name of the pad or were I buy it? I will look into the suggestions for vacuuming. Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 6:39PM
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Pilling is when a stray fiber, from a tuft of carpeting pulls out. It is not completely pulled out, because one end is still attached. This stray fiber can get twisted in a knot(ball). Most of the time, the vacuum will pick it up. Sometimes stray fibers will attach to eachother and make a knot.

My original thinking was you had snags. If you look at carpeting, it will be uniform. If you look at carpeting and see an appearance of bumps, take a closer look. Grab one of those bumps. The bump is actually a carpet tuft, which has pulled slightly from the carpet backing. Its height will be taller than the other carpet tufts.

The major culprit, which made me think of snags was your cat. They walk on the rug and get caught in it. They pull out, but can pull a tuft of carpeting also. They also like to use the rug as a scratching pad. There are other things that can snag like high heels, furniture, and anything that can grab on.

Your Bissell would not be to blame, unless there was something sharp embedded in the vacuum or there was a sharp edge someplace on it. This could be a cracked piece of plastic located on the underside.

Snags are really bad for carpeting like berber. A rotating brush can grab onto a snag and pull; wrapping the material around the brushroll as it pulls it out of the carpeting. Then you are left with a few straight lines with not fabric. This is one of the reasons carpet textiles say not to use a rotating brush on berber.

If your "waffleweave" material, under your, rug is think, then it really is to help keep the rug in place. It if was thick and gave some cushion, it would be fine. I cannot say what is out there, because I do not think I have seen everything. You will want to talk with a carpet salesman or installer. I have seen some thick fabric-like stuff. I believe it may be felt. That is good, but may be expensive. There is material that degrades after time and will crumble and/or still to floors. I would hate for something to stick to hardwood floors. When you have free time, visit some places and talk to some people, who have experience with padding. You can purchase padding any place that sells carpeting.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2011 at 3:14PM
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I have oriental rugs throughout my house, nine in all, and vacume then once or twice week without problem. They look like the day I bought them except for the one in my son's room where the fringe is detaching. I'm not sure if it's because he's moving a chair over the edge or the vacume did it. This carpet is the least expensive one and is probably machine made, so I don't know if it's a matter of workmanship or just misuse by my son.

I have a Miele vacume that has a special rug attachment and is excellent, but I think as long as you have a rug attachment feature it should work fine.

I have had a couple of the rugs professionally cleaned and they turned out great. They didn't look dirty but were in a heavy traffic area. I am moving soon and am planning on having a few more cleaned then.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2011 at 9:47PM
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I have several oriental rugs and vacuum them regularly with my upright Dyson using the beater bar with no problem. If you turn the beater bar off -- you will not be cleaning your rug!!

I have never cleaned the backside of a rug -- don't see the point.

One thing I have learned is to stay away from the fringe!! Nothing good happens when you suck up the fringe.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I am considering the Miele, but am not sure which to buy. Miele offers many different attachments, not sure which would be best for my particular situation; as prevously mentioned in my original post; oriental rug, and smooth, delicate hardwood floors. I am interested in a canister. Don't know if the single attachment offered on some of the canisters that can handle carpet and wood floor would best, or a canister that offers an attachment for each. Trying to keep the cost down, but know that I want something that will be very gentle on the wood floor and an attachment where the brush roll can be shut off. Also, are the various attachments specific for the particular canister purchased? Interested in your recommendations. On the other hand, is there a vacuum that can meet my needs that is not as expensive as the Miele?
Thanks everyone for your help.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2011 at 12:38PM
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