Jun 27, 2011

Magic Carpet Ride ... and cleaning tips!

I was taught that a 'carpet' was a wall-to-wall floor covering while a 'rug' was an area-specific/movable floor covering. But lately I've noticed how much the terms are used interchangeably in the industry.  Apparently the terms are the same in many languages, so the trade industry has long been using carpet/rug to identify either product.

This irks me, doesn't it irk you?  I'm a nitpicker with design vernacular, and it gets under my skin that there isn't a definitive solution to this English-language-terminology problem.  Nevertheless...  I stick to the old-school American terms, and when I'm chatting with a sales person about an ''area rug" while they call it a "throw carpet," we still get business done and my client gets a floor covering. 

Kermanshah "Tree of Life" by Claremont Rug Company
Aman & Carson collection by Stark Carpet
Many people get nervous about rugs when it comes to wear & stains.  Don't be.  If you have quality rugs made from natural fibers you are way better off than synthetics when it comes time to clean.  Wool rugs, especially, are extremely resilient.  If you've got an area rug with a tough stain, send it to a reputable cleaner.  If you have an installed carpet with a major accident, call in the professionals as well.  But if the accident is bad, you should act fast for best results. 

Recently I got an email from a client about a horribly massive RED WINE accident on her oatmeal-colored wool carpet we had installed in her California home about five years ago.  She wrote me and explained...  (BTW, I've omitted the details about the innocent-because-he's-young-and-adorable family member who may have directly-but-accidentally caused this carpet catastrophe.)

I had a large gift basket sitting on an end table in the living room waiting to be put into the car.  I ran into the room when I heard it tipping over.  And, of all the things in that basket to have broken, it was a whole bottle of California Cabernet Sauvignon that was smashed and gurgling out onto the floor.  The pretzels and cheese and the pretty dischcloth were fine, but all the broken glass in a 750 ml puddle of red wine was a terrifying sight on my pristine carpet!

Tribal Afghan rug available on Etsy

Color Refom line by ABC Carpet

So, I picked up everything I could, including large pieces of glass.  Then, I cried.  Then, I called some friends of mine who own a commercial carpet cleaning business (I had her cell number!)  So I followed their advice to a T......

I ran to the garage for my wet/dry shop vac.  I took out the paper filter in mine (black & decker), then started vacuuming slowly to get as much as the 'wet' as I could.  I probably spent 15 mins doing that over and over.  Then, I poured a bottle of California Chardonnay (yes, I'm not kidding.  If no white wine is available, skip this step) over the entire stain.  Then I repeated the vacuum step for another 15 mins or more.  Then, I got cool tap water and did the same process in small sections of the spill.  It's very important to suck up all the liquid in each spot to get it as dry as you can.  Then, I got as many white rags and towels as I could find and blotted any remaining dampness.  

Brindle Stripe by Dash & Albert

1880s Agra rug by Beauvais Carpet

Then, I ran to the grocery store and bought $20 worth of kosher salt.  I rushed home and covered the entire area with a thick pile of the salt.  Left it for 24 hours, then swept and vacuumed.

There is still a shadow of a stain, but my carpet cleaning friends are coming on Tuesday to work out the faint shadow-y stain that remains -- my fingers are crossed.

In Aubrey's case, acting fast was paramount to her success with this major stain.  Having access to professionals who gave her such specific and unusual advice (an entire bottle of white wine on top of the red wine stain? Seriously?!?) helped her as well.

Note: there was no seltzer water involved.  And no chemical solvents.  Just a wet vac, white wine, tap water and kosher salt.  Oh, and a ton of elbow grease!

Warp & Weft

Kelly Wearstler for Patterson, Flynn & Martin

The Rug Company

Persian Tabriz rug on eBay

In honor of my wonderful client Aubrey and her grace under pressure during this carpet catastrophe [and the TWO bottles of wine lost to this mess], I'm raising my glass tonight to the carpet professionals out there.  Whether you weave them, import them, or clean them, you are an important part of this industry and your product makes our homes softer, richer and happier.

Go forth, my friends.  Love your carpets.  Live on them and enjoy the textural depth they bring to your rooms.  And if disaster strikes, bring out the white wine. 


Anonymous said...

Beautiful rugs! Horrible story!

Cleaners London said...

A horrible story, indeed! I keep my fingers crossed, too. Hope the professionals will remove the shadow. Red wine stains are really hard to clean.
Good luck!

April Robinson said...

But at least the story had a happy ending.


p.s. Carpet, rug; it's all flooring in the end isn't it?

(well, unless it's a wall hanging)

Kathy said...

I don't think it's a horrible story! Red wine stain accidents happen almost all the time, you know. I'm kinda confused with the whole rug =/= carpet debate as well. But I don't really give a hoot cuz you clean 'em up the same way! LOL.

Kathy Carbone

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Brain Ventris said...

That’s what I thought of rugs and carpets too. Anyway, what irks me most is cleaning mine, since it’s almost impossible to keep it clean with little kids hanging about. Aubrey was lucky though. I never thought that you can remediate a red wine stain with white wine. Nice!

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