Care of Carpets

EVERY carpet should have a felt underlay, not only to give the carpet a softer tread, but to improve its wearing qualities and so prolong its life. Before laying the felt, examine the floorboards carefully for any protruding nails or tacks, and very uneven boards. The latter should be smoothed down with a plane or chisel after the nails have been punched well below the surface. The greatest enemy of carpets is damp. It causes mildew and rot, and any sign of dampness in the floorboards must be investigated and corrected if it is desired to give a new carpet a chance of a long and useful life.

The best method of cleaning carpets is undoubtedly by the use of a good vacuum cleaner. By its regular use, the annual beating over a clothes line is rendered completely unnecessary. This is a good thing, for many carpets are damaged by over-vigorous beating with a stick. If for some reason heavy gritty dirt does get into the carpet, beat it out, using a proper flat cane beater, and do not use too much force. Better to go over the whole carpet two or three times beating quite lightly than to make a determined attack on a small area and so : damage the fibres. If a vacuum ; cleaner is not available, use a good stiff carpet brush regularly and ‘ always brush with the pile of the carpet, otherwise the dirt and grit will be brushed deeper into the 1 pile. -. To brighten the colours, a good -, carpet soap may be used oc-F casionally according to the makers’ r directions but if possible avoid > washing the carpet in the room in which it lies and in any case avoid 1 the use of too much water. Never f use salt or tea leaves; salt may have a chemical effect on the colours and I tea leaves are liable to leave a stain ; especially on carpets with a light background.

Much damage is often done to carpets by the castors on the legs of furniture such as. Settees and heavy armchairs which are rarely moved. The comparatively small surface of the castor wheel is, forced deep into the pile and soon damages the fibres, leaving a permanent mark. The best way of avoiding the I trouble is undoubtedly by removing the castor altogether and replacing it by one or more ‘domes’ or ‘glides’. These are small, plated circular studs and are simply fixed into the leg of the furniture by a tap or two of the hammer. In the case of the leg of a modern settee which is often five inches or more square, or in diameter, two or three of these may be used on each leg. They allow the heaviest piece of furniture to be slid about easily and silently on almost any surface and as they protrude only a fraction of an inch, leave no mark in the carpet or linoleum. Alternatively, where it is not proposed to move a particular item of furniture, such as a piano, it will be sufficient to house the castor in a bowl-shaped foot. These are commonly sold under the name of ‘insulators’ and may be obtained in wood, vulcanite or glass.

It should be quite unnecessary to nail down the ordinary carpet, but occasionally one finds a little trouble with a corner that persists in curling up and forming a trap for unwary feet. Instead of nailing it down, try this: sew a small triangular pocket of hessian or canvas on the underside of the corner and slip into this pocket a small clipping of thin sheet lead. Any plumber will sell a piece for a few coppers. This should put an end to the trouble and probably, after a month or two it will be possible to dispense with the lead as the curly corner will have decided to behave itself.


This is a case of real emergency and the utmost speed is essential. Take up the carpet and turn it upside down over a chair or bench. Then drench the area affected by the acid with a weak solution of ordinary washing soda or bicarbonate of soda and water, or with ammonia.


If a carpet is attacked by moth, the best thing to do is to take it up and send it to a firm specializing in cleaning carpets, who will deal with the trouble so that the eggs or grubs deep in the carpet will be destroyed.

Ink stains

These will usually yield to skim milk rubbed well into the pile with a cloth.


Scatter coarse salt or sawdust over the place and brush it vigorously into a dustpan. Repeat several times and finally wash carefully with carpet soap. It is fatal, however, to allow water near the place until all the loose soot has been removed.

Stains on Carpets

Tea and coffee stains may be removed by a solution of borax and water in the proportion of two tablespoonsful of borax to a pint of water.


This is best dealt with by applying a paste of fuller’s earth and turpentine. Allow the paste to dry and then go over the place with a stiff carpet brush.

Stair Carpets

The more sober the pattern chosen the broader the staircase will appear. Always purchase one yard more stair carpet than is strictly necessary to cover the stairs. It will then be possible to move the whole carpet up or down, say, twice a year. By so doing, the portions that have been laid horizontally on a tread will now be vertical over a riser and so will enjoy a holiday for the next six months. This will obviously, practically double the life of the carpet.

Stair carpet should be laid with the pile towards the foot of the stairs so that the main tread presses it down instead of kicking it up. Finally, the provision of a small felt mat on each stair under the carpet is as good an investment as the felt underlay beneath the main carpets.

Non-skid Rugs

Nothing is more disconcerting than to skid the length of a hall or room on a rug which is laid on polished boards or linoleum. It is possible to buy rugs which are backed with a rubberized non-skid fabric which hold to the floor quite firmly however highly it is polished. This kind of trouble, however, is easily cured. Cut from an old cycle or motor inner tube four small squares of rubber for each rug. These may be stitched on the underside of each corner a little way in from the edge and the rug will never move under the tread. Be careful to put stitches at least half-an-inch in from the edge of the rubber patch otherwise they will tend to split the rubber and pull out.

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