Floor coverings of all kinds are subject to harsh treatment. Because of the tremendous skill involved in their creation, oriental carpets are designed to withstand most normal abuse. Nonetheless, propercare and cleaning will ensure years of continued enjoyment of their beauty and utility.

In the Orient, it is customary to remove one's shoes and wear slippers whenever entering someone's home. Contrary to what you might think, the most destructive element to oriental rugs is not the rubbing action of smooth-soled shoes, but it is the grit-rough, hard particles or dirt- which is tracked into the house from outdoors and sifts into the roots of the wool nap. When you walk on a rug, the grit cuts against the strands of wool and severs small pieces of the pile. Removing your shoes and wearing slippers may seem impractical. Fortunately, there are other remedies available well worth considering. These are described as follows:

Vacuuming: Light vacuuming should be done regularly to prevent the destructive grit action described above. A thorough vacuuming should be done at least once a week. You should vacuum in the direction of the pile to agitate the fine particles, which have worked their way down between the woolen tufts. There is no such thing as "over vacuuming" a rug in this manner. Indeed, the hand-tied knots of a genuine oriental carpet are firmly in place and cannot be loosened or removed by a vacuum cleaner. Some initial shedding can be expected in new carpets, but this is normal and will subside with regular use and carpet care.

Washing: Bits of grit sometime become embedded so deeply that household vacuuming no longer yields any positive results. A professional cleaning will remove this dirt as well as the normal soiling that gradually dulls a carpet. This type of cleaning involves total immersion and can only be done correctly by a professional cleaner equipped with the proper facilities for thorough washing and drying. However, it should never be attempted by a "wash-at-home" service.

Spills: Whenever possible, clean a spill immediately before it has a chance to set. First, scrape up any solid dirt or soak up excess liquid with a paper towel. Then spot clean with a mild solution of soap, water, and a touch of white vinegar using as much of the suds and as little of the water as possible. To dry, elevate the dampened spot to allow sufficient air flow. For oil and grease stains, try a mild cleaning fluid or a dry powder-type petroleum base agent. Before experimenting with any cleaning solution, first test it on a small area of your carpet to ensure that the dyes are color-fast. Clean from the edge of the stain carpet to ensure that the dyes are color-fast. Clean from the edge of the stain inwards to prevent spreading. If the stain does not come out, call a professional oriental rug cleaner and not a firm dealing primarily with broadloom or wall-to-wall carpeting.