Do you know what’s lurking in your area rugs? Many are designed to hide your dirt, dust and dander, and they do a brilliant job. Part of the reason I picked the 10- by 14-foot area rug for my family room was because you could drop a loaded hot dog on it and no one would know.

But ignoring reality only works for so long. The truth caught up with me a couple weeks ago when I had my carpet and floor care guy out to clean up after my slovenly dogs, one of whom is notorious for leaving his mark. The guy surveyed the family room rug and a smaller, equally violated, living room rug and said, he could steam clean them in my home or, for a more thorough job, take them to a rug washing plant.

On-site cleaning was much less expensive: $40 for the smaller rug. Taking the same rug to the wash house would cost $200. “Steam cleaning won’t rinse all the urine out,” he said frankly. “Only washing it at the plant will.”

I look at Luke and Pippin who were listening intently to this conversation. “You two need to get jobs,” I told them.

The six-year-old carpets weren’t cheap. I want them to last many more years, and I’m aware that, besides being gross, dirty rugs deteriorate faster. But how did I know this wasn’t just a couple of guys in their driveway washing rugs with a garden hose? I agree to send my rugs out so long as I could visit the plant — Kurt Gilbertson’s First Impressions in Winter Garden, Fla — to see it for myself.

The first stop is the dusting machine, a cylindrical tumbler, where rugs take an hour-long beating until all the dry dirt gets knocked out of them. Gilbertson opens the dustbin below to show me how much dirt came out of one rug, a layer thick enough to plant seeds in.

Workers then vacuum the rug and dye test it. “If we see it’s going to run, we spray it with a dye stabilizer,” he said. If the bleeding is too extensive, they may not be able to wet wash it.

Next stop is the wash pit, which is like a soapy waterslide for rugs. I watch as the workers spread a large rug on the sloping rubber mat, wet it down and soap it up. Then pressurized water flows over and …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


At Home: Here’s how to unlock dirt and clean your area rugs properly

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