Our Cleaning Process
The cleaning process for fine Oriental rugs is a multi-step process which includes:
Pre-inspection to determine rug quality and overall condition, Power dusting, to get out the loose soil, Dye testing, to determine the color fastness, Pre-treatment for spot removal, Hand cleaning and rinsing, Moisture removal with a wringer, Drying in a humidity-controlled environment, Grooming, fringe cleaning/repair, Scotchgard®, etc.
For a detailed explanation of the entire cleaning process please go to the download page and get your FREE copy of the book “Protecting Your Fine Hand Woven Rug Investment”.
Step 1 - Creating the Pre-Cleaning Inspection and Rug Condition Report
Our rug care specialist’s hand-inspect “every inch” of your fine rug, going from the fringe to the backing and record its current condition - in 38 separate areas.
Step 2 - Getting the Dirt Out - “The Magical Harmonic Dusting Massage”
We’ve taken this time-tested old world way of vibrating the dirt out of a rug with hand beaters and improved it with today’s modern technology. Norma’s is the only firm in the southwest to have invested in this custom-made gentle harmonic rug vibrating system. This harmonic vibrating machine acts like an “army of gentle rug beaters” carefully loosening the deep down dirt out of both the front and backing of your rug.
“This mighty hydraulic wringer, made back in the 1950’s, is one of the few remaining of
its kind in operation today. We researched the process and after a long search found this classic unit, then we totally rebuilt and carefully refurbished it - to its brand new condition.
We love using it, because it really gets all the moisture out of your rug FAST!
This unique “quality control step” dramatically reduces a rug’s drying time so there’s
NO chance of the remaining moisture in your “baby soft clean rug”, turning into mildew.”
This custom made vibrating massager gently removes the dirt from your rug with 40,000 gentle harmonic vibrations per minute … that means your rug will receive
“over 1,000,000 (1 million) gentle dirt-loosening vibrations during its massage.” These vibrations remove the dirt, BEFORE the rug ever touches water. This process takes at least 30 minutes for a small rug and can take hours on larger rugs
Step 3 - Comprehensive Dye Testing – “We Test the Stability of Every Color in Your Rug!”
Dye testing is done to determine the stability of the dyes used in your rug. Most fibers are dyed using a Mordant Process, which is a chemical reaction that binds the dye to the fiber. “If the dyes are not stable, they will bleed as soon as they get wet and - one unstable color can ruin an entire rug!” Unfortunately there’s NO way to know if the dyes in your rug are stable, unless we individually test them. Some weavers never use a mordant stabilizing process so when the rug gets wet, the dyes move and migrate onto other colors in your rug… destroying its beauty and depreciating its value.
Every hand made rug is unique, and the dyes used in an individual rug are unique too. These dyes may be natural dyes, man-made synthetics, or a combination of both. “Because of these variations - every color, in every rug MUST be dye tested for stability BEFORE the rug is cleaned.
”We individually dye test EVERY color in your rug - that means if your rug has 20 colors then we do 20 individual dye tests. We test the dyes to make certain that they are stable and that we can set them - during our washing process. Color testing is a very time consuming process, AND an absolutely necessary part of our profession museum quality cleaning program. “Each color test, for each individual color, may take from 1-2 hours or as long as 24 hours.”
Step 4 The Purified Water- Full Submersion Hand Shampoo Cleaning Process
If you really want to get your rug clean, you have to follow the 2000 year old cleaning traditions of Totally Submersing the rug. For thousands of years rug owners have taken their rugs to rivers and lakes to totally submerse and clean them - in cool water. Cool water is very important - but it can be improved.
We’ve taken this proven cleaning tradition and made it better! Our soaking submersion process produces “BABY SOFT “ feeling rugs - BECAUSE we use Reverse Osmosis PURIFIED WATER.
We’re 1 of only 2 museum quality fine rug-cleaning companies in the whole United States who use this totally purified water. This is the type of pure water NASA & Intel clean rooms use. Because the water is totally purified - the mild shampoos clean better and the rugs fibers rinse cleaner. Tap water leaves chorine, calcium, and other minerals in your rug - that’s why rugs cleaned with un-purified water feel stiffer and harder after they’re cleaned. You just can’t get the minerals out… unless you use totally purified water!
Our “purified water-total submersion process” breaks down and flushes out all the impurities, and any remaining deep down dirt and dust that are trapped in the rug’s fibers and foundation.
Step 5 - Purified Water Rinsing and Our Massive Custom Wringer In Action
Now that your rug has been gently shampooed, its time for the total submersion rinse.
Again, ONLY purified R/O (reverse osmosis ) water is used in the rinsing process, so your rug dries baby soft and its colors stay as bright as possible.
Now your rug has to be “prepared for the drying process”. Most rug shops try to just “squeegee out” the excess water but the fact is that this can be dangerous for your rug. Oriental rugs are liable to grow mildew if they remain damp for too long. Therefore a quick drying time is vital, especially when dealing with wool fibers, which absorb and hold 70% of their weight in moisture.
Step 6 The Controlled Environment Drying Room Techniques
Depending on the style and condition of your rug, several different drying methods may be used. Quick Drying Times and plenty of “Air Movement” are the keys to a successful drying process. Your rug must be completely dried on both the front and back sides, this requires constant attention and inspection to make sure the dyes are not moving and the drying process is properly done.
Hanging rugs in the drying room is not always the most appropriate drying method. Drying on a blocking table is more suitable for rugs prone to losing their shape when wet, typically needle point, crewel, flat weaves, and dhurri rugs.
We use “stainless steel” blocking pegs to secure your rug for proper drying to avoid any possible color contamination.
Step 7 Final Hand Grooming
The final step of the cleaning process is hand grooming your rug. This process includes brushing the entire rug and then hand washing and them hand grooming the fringe.
Grooming your rug allows its pile to lay smooth, much like an animal’s fur. Every rug has a unique and definite direction to its pile - this is caused by the position of the rug on the loom during the weaving process.
“Fringe is very important component of any rug, because it’s an extension of the warp yarns, that make up the foundation of your rug.”