Oriental Rug Cleaning: Rug Dusting

Dusting is thee most important stage in Persian and Oriental rug cleaning! Anyone who skips this stage are simply not cleaning your rug properly. At best they are providing a surface wash, at worst they are permanently damaging your rug.

Why is rug dusting so important?

To understand why rug dusting is such a vital step in the rug cleaning process you have to look at the way dust and dirt can damage your rug in the medium-to-long term. Understanding just how much dust can be hidden deep within the fibres of your rug is not only shocking to behold but highlights the potential deterioration this can cause over time.

Wool is a porous fibre, much like human hair. The natural oils in wool can be stripped by using the incorrect cleaning methods or chemicals but they can also be removed by a build-up of dust and dirt. Similar to hair, pollutants from the air, dust, dirt and other grime can make a rug’s pile dull. More than this though fine sand-like particles of dirt and dust can clog up the cuticles of the wool pile and with movement on the rug gradually wearing away at the fibre eventually causing it to break and shorten (causing low piles). When water is added to the mix the layer of dirt and dust become cement-like exaggerating the problem and can easily cause the foundation of the rug to become brittle and break.

image of wool under the microscope

Wool under the microscope

Removing the dust before washing gives not only better cleaning results but lengthens the life expectancy of your rug. Ignoring the dusting stage of rug cleaning leaves your rug open to dirt and dust deep within the piles of your rug caking up and causing untold damage, while at the same time has the possibility of what we can in the industry ‘wicking up’. This is when a rug is cleaned on the surface but after a few weeks the grit and grime travels up the fibres of the pile making it look dirty again after a short period of time.

How do you dust rugs?

Up until not so long ago the answer would be: with a lot of sweat, if not blood and tears! Most companies who carry out rug cleaning, if they dust the rugs at all, manually beat them like you would in the good-ol’ days; a rug is hung up on a line or pole and smacked repeatedly with a bat or wicker rug beater. This can take hours to do properly for a larger rug and I can tell you, it isn’t fun on your back or shoulders. It’s also not particularly safe for the more fragile rugs. Hitting the back of a rug with force using a heavy object can cause it’s foundations to crack or tear.

At Little-Persia we have worked with a local precision manufacturing contractor to develop our own prototype rug dusting machine, which will be market ready to industry and the public September 2013.

Our rug duster uses harmonic vibrations to loosen and remove deep-set dust from a rug. The vibrating strap gently beat the carpet at a high RPM which causes waves in the rug that literally shake the dust and dirt from within the pile. This is speed adjustable for the more fragile rugs and removed more dust than would be possible with manual beating while being gentler on the carpet’s fabric and foundation.

Dusting a rug thoroughly is the foundation for a proper and successful rug cleaning process. Removing as much dirt and dust as possible allows each further step to maximise the results and lengthens the lifespan of your handmade carpet.


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