How to Clean Dhurrie Rugs

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Dhurries are flat-weave rugs, woven on a loom with no knots so the pattern shows through on either side, making them reversible. They were originally an Indian household practicality, used to augment bedding, for floor mats and for meditation rugs. The often colorful carpets may feature vivid designs -- almost invariably geometric -- woven of wool, jute, cotton or silk. Most dhurries are pretty tough, but they do get dirty and correct stain removal and regular cleaning are key to making a prized dhurrie rug last.

Sponging Spills

Blot spills and stains immediately to soak the offending liquid out of the carpet fiber. Don't rub a stain, because that could cause it to spread, leaving an even worse mark. Press clean paper towels or clean white rags against a fresh stain until all the liquid has been absorbed, changing the rag or paper frequently.

If a stain is dry or beginning to dry, moisten a paper towel with plain cold water and blot the stain to loosen it so the towel absorbs the spill. Lift the rug from the floor, and prop it up so air can circulate and dry it.

Soap Solution

Plain old dirt and grime might need a more vigorous approach. Test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the rug for colorfastness. For wool, cotton or jute fibers, mix a few capfuls of mild detergent with a bucket of cold -- never hot -- water. Or make a very dilute -- 1 teaspoon of detergent to 1 cup of water -- mixture of plain water and gentle dish-washing or fine washables soap and put it in a spray bottle.

Vacuum the rug to remove loose dirt. Then lightly spray or sponge the soap solution onto the rug, starting with the most soiled area. Blot it up -- don't scrub or rub to avoid damaging the fibers or spreading any smudges or stains. A very stubborn stain may be scrubbed lightly with a soft brush, as a last resort. Rinse by blotting the cleaned areas with plain cold water, and immediately dry the rug with fans or by suspending it so the air can reach both sides.

Warning

  • Check with an expert before attempting to clean a silk dhurrie, which will probably need professional dry cleaning.

Regular Rug Maintenance

Dhurries don't require rug pads but using one will add life to your rug by protecting the fibers from hard wear against the floor and from ground-in dirt and particles.

Frequent vacuuming is your best defense against dirt. Skip the beater bar on your vacuum if the dhurrie has a fringed border, to avoid catching the ends in the machine and damaging it or the rug. If your dhurrie pattern works well on both sides -- most do -- flip the rug seasonally to slow its fading. A dhurrie that sits in direct sunlight will fade over time.

Drastic Measures

Some smaller dhurries may be washed in industrial-sized machines. If yours can handle it, use cold water, spin twice and skip the dryer -- air-drying the rug prevents shrinkage and fiber damage. Professional cleaning is a more expensive but effective option that may be worth it for a valuable rug or a favorite with severe staining or soiling.

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