Question: Last weekend, our washing machine overflowed and three of our rugs got wet. The wettest one was in our living room — an 8-by-10-foot wool rug from my husband’s family. The tag shows it was made in India for Bloomingdale’s. It probably dates from the early 1960s. We pulled the rugs outside and hung them over chairs and porch railings, and they seem to have dried well, although this one has a little mud on the edge. What do we do next? Must we have them professionally cleaned or can we shampoo them ourselves? If so, how?
Answer: If the water was from the rinse cycle, you might not need to do anything other than vacuum the rug. The mud along the edge might pop off; wool is amazingly resilient that way. If the dirt persists, perhaps you can spot-treat it as you would any spill. Add clear water and blot it up with a clean cloth, repeating until the blotting cloth stays clean.
If that doesn’t work, if the water was soapy, or if your rug was in need of cleaning anyway, the best solution is professional cleaning by a company with a facility for washing and drying area rugs. Ayoub Carpet Service in Chantilly (703-255-6000; www.rugcare.com) charges $220 to clean a wool 8-by-10-foot rug, plus $10 if you want the company to pick up and deliver. If your rug were made of synthetic fibers, the cleaning cost would be about $80 less. Wool rugs need more tender care, including testing to make sure colors won’t bleed, the company’s Tracey Edwards said.
Ayoub also provides in-home cleaning, but only for wall-to-wall carpets. No in-home cleaning can ever be as through as cleaning in a plant where rugs are rinsed multiple times, and getting a rug to dry quickly in a home is problematic.
So although it is possible for you to rent a carpet-cleaning machine and do the cleaning yourself, it’s definitely not the best option. If you do decide to tackle it, be sure to place the rug over a surface that won’t be damaged by moisture. “The water will seep through,” Edwards said. If soapy residue is your main concern, skip the detergent and just run the machine with clear water. Have a fan or two on hand, or run a dehumidifier in the room. When the rug seems dry on the surface, turn it over to expose the underside to the moving air. A big rug is heavy, so turn it by folding and pulling, rather than lifting.
Question: Do you know of someone or some place that repairs or replaces the silk bindings on blankets?
Answer: Amelia Bennett, a seamstress who runs So Fine in Alexandria (703-299-3463; www.sofinestudio.com), can do this. She will make bindings of true silk, with the cost varying depending on the fabric you select.
If you’re comfortable using a sewing machine, another option is to do it yourself. You can cut strips on the bias (a 45-degree angle) and iron in the folds, or purchase ready-to-use blanket binding. Wrights, a trim company whose products are carried at most fabric stores, makes two-inch-wide satin blanket binding in 14 colors. It’s made of polyester, not silk or acetate, but it feels and looks silky. The trim is packaged in lengths of 4.75 yards, or 171 inches. The binding typically goes only on the top and bottom edges. Blanket widths vary from 66 inches for twin size to 108 inches for king, so for the latter, you’d need two packages, about $15 total.
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