However con-scientiously carpets be swept with brush or vacuum machine, they will need periodical beatings to free them of the dust and dirt which works through into the backing, and need a thorough thrashing to make them quit.
Before a rectangular carpet is taken up it should be examined for wear, which is certain to be greatest in places where it has to endure the most traffic. Perhaps turning it end for end may bring the most worn parts into positions where they will be protected by furniture, etc. When this point has been decided mark one corner and make a mark on the floor where that corner is to be when the carpet is replaced.
To get the carpet up, first remove chairs and other light furniture either into another room, or on to the surround. Heavy things, such as a piano, if they cannot be stood clear should be shifted on to the part which will not be folded up first, and moved on to the bare floor when the carpet has been partly rolled.
Bookcases, sideboards, etc., which extend over the edge of the carpet may need lightening by the removal of their contents, and lifting one end at a time while the carpet is pulled from underneath. The fact that things of this kind pin down a carpet is a good reason for keeping the carpet clear of them, and having a wide surround.
For the beating of the carpet a scaffold pole, slung between trees or other supports, and provided with hoisting pulleys and ropes, is a great convenience. But in most cases beating has to be done on a lawn or meadow. When a wind is blowing, take the carpet into the most exposed place available, even if this entails a little extra labour, as beating will then be easier and, from the beaters point of view, cleaner, for the wind will carry away the dust as fast as it rises.
Lay the carpet, face downward far enough down-wind to allow room for moving it once or twice on to clean grass farther up-wind. That is, of course, if space permits. Beating is done with long hazel rods or wicker carpet-beaters, which will knock some of the dust through on to the grass below, while raising some of it into the air to be blown away. At intervals the back should be swept with a hand-brush down-wind to get rid of any lodged dust.
When beating ceases to raise an appreciable amount of dust, the carpet should be dragged about over clean grass, and be turned over and beaten on the top. Sweeping should in this caso be done in the direction in which the pile lies, if it be a piled carpet.
After beating comes cleaning with diluted ammonia, if this appears to be needed. Grease and dirt stains are best treated with petrol, applied first round the edge of the stain and worked inwards. The rubbing surface of the cloth used should be changed frequently, to prevent spreading the foreign matter, and cleaning should be continued till the cloth coases to pick up dirt. Soap and water has the disadvantage of leaving the carpet somewhat sticky and ready to pick up dust and dirt. When ammonia is used it should not be stronger than one teaspoonful of ammonia to a quart of water. Vinegar and water, in the proportion of half and half, will help to restore faded colours.
In relaying the carpet begin on a clear space and when the carpet has been partly unrolled, move any furniture on to it that would obstruct the laying of the rest, and shift them back into their proper positions afterwards.