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Carpets – the Facts You Never Knew

Carpet CleaningCarpets are usually considered to be just another part of a room’s interior. Indeed they are so, but carpets are also unique in many ways. Below are listed some of the most interesting and unknown facts about carpets. If anything it makes for an interesting read!

  • The Norwalk virus (aka Norovirus) is one of the main causes of stomach flu. The Norwalk virus can survive on an uncleaned carpet for at least thirty days.
  • The origins of the word ‘carpet’ are Latin, the Latin word for carpet is ‘carpere’ which means ‘to pluck’. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that carpets (rugs) at the time we made of unravelled or plucked fabric.
  • The oldest example of a carpet known in the world is still surviving, this is the Pazyryk carpet, which is over two thousand years old. The thing was discovered in the nineteen forties, in a prehistoric tomb in Siberia.
  • When vacuuming the carpet, the air stream blown behind the appliance contains one of the largest amounts of germs and bacteria throughout the house.
  • During the US Civil War, Northerners who wanted to seek refuge or join The South, were called ‘carpet baggers’ because they usually carried their possessions in bags made of old carpet.
  • The swastika (despite its menacing twentieth century meaning) is in fact a good luck symbol, appearing on many ancient carpets from around Europe, Asia and the Americas.
  • The phrase ‘sweep under the carpet’ got its figurative meaning in nineteen sixty three, when it was first officially entered in the dictionary.
  • Each year, the average carpet generates several kilograms of soiling in, and underneath it.
  • The ‘five second rule’ doesn’t work on carpets as most bacteria survive (even thrive) in carpets for many weeks. Germs have the ability to adhere to anything from carpet fibres to food.
  • Bed bugs also live in carpets, not just in beds. This bloodsucking little crawler can make its way through up to a hundred feet of carpet to obtain its blood meal.
  • On an average, a person sheds about one and a half million dead skin flakes per hour – most of this becomes embedded in carpets.
  • Carpets cause twice as much dust inside as there is outside, on the same note – about two thousand dust mites can live and feed off an ounce of carpet dust.
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting is harder to keep clean and causes poorer indoor hygiene as opposed to freestanding rugs and carpets. Edges and corners of wall-to-wall carpets are a real problem to clean properly.
  • Many carpet cleaning products contain naphthalene – the chemical is toxic and should be avoided, don’t use concentrated cleaning products which contain naphthalene close to children or pets, or just call a company like Carpet Cleaning Chingford, they know what to use for cleaning.
  • ‘Woolly Bears’ – a type of bug found in knotted wool carpets, feeds off wool as it can digest the fibre and turn into sugar. Woolly Bears can actually destroy wool carpets.
  • Table salt removes soiling from synthetic and natural fibre carpets, sprinkle the salt, leave there for an hour, and then vacuum off. This will also brighten the carpet colour notably.

Carpet Cleaning in the 1800s

By:Cleaning Services Ilford
It is believed that actual carpet cleaning appeared sometime during the eighteen century, most likely during the industrial revolution, a process which swept throughout most of the western world.

Carpet CleaningToward the end of the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, the most common method to keep carpets and rugs clean was to spread druggets over them. Druggets were heavy woollen fabrics which were also known as crumb cloths. These were spread under dining tables and in other areas where the carpet or rug saw heavy duty use.

At the time, it was common practice for carpets or rugs to be completely covered with crumb cloths or canvases during the summer months, and on special occasions like receptions and such. This was done in order to protect carpets from sunlight and staining – indicative of how valuable such interior features were at the time.

During the period, carpet stain removal was very rudimentary, yet somewhat effective. Common practice was to beat carpets with rods or broomsticks as to remove dust and hard particles. This made staining more visible. Stains were treated using lemon juice and rubbed with hot bread loafs, the carpet was then rinsed and left outside to dry. There were even housekeeping manuals, advising how to hang the carpet and how much time to leave it hanging outside as per the weather.

In the eighteen sixties, sweeping carpets on a regular basis became a custom. Problem was that people used tea leaves to sweep their carpets – this left stubborn stains on many occasions. Housekeeping manuals advised to use fresh cut grass instead, apparently freshly cut grass gave the carpet a clean, bright look every time.

Another new concept was carpet cleaning regularity. Those in the know, suggested carpets to be swept once a week if the room was in use on a daily basis. Rest of the time, carpets were to be wisk-broomed. About a decade or so later, shaking (as it was known) was a proven method to get rid of hard particles which grinded down the carpet fibres. It was officially stated that the more one dusts and ‘shakes’ the carpet the longer lifespan it will have. Brooms at the time were quite rough, and many people did not favour sweeping the carpets too often in fear of wear and tear. This is perhaps the main reason why ‘shaking’ gained so much popularity.

During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, washing the carpets was also on the menu. Washing methods usually involved the application of a ‘specially formulated’ cleaning agent – a mixture of fresh water and beef’s gall. The mixture was applied using a piece of flannel, then spread evenly in stripes along the carpet. The mixture was washed out using a clean piece of flannel.

One of the final carpet cleaning ‘inventions’ of the eighteen hundreds was application of cold water and oxalic acid in order to remove stubborn ink stains from the carpet. The ink stain was to be soaked with cold water, scooped with a spoon, and then treated with the acid.

A Brief History of Carpet Cleaning & Invention of the Vacuum Cleaner

Carpet cleaning wasn’t always as easy as plugging in the vacuum cleaner and pushing the on button. A mere hundred or so years ago, carpet cleaning was still considered a radical new concept, but the trend caught on, and look where carpet cleaning is today.

Vacuum CleanerHistoric evidence suggests carpet cleaning originated sometime during the eighteenth century. It is believed that the onslaught of the industrial revolution inspired new ideas and concepts of cleaning and domestic hygiene, mainly throughout the industrialised countries of Western Europe, as well as North America. Before that, carpets weren’t actually cleaned, but rather kept clean by spreading thick woollen fabrics and canvases over them in order to protect from spills and stains. As one can imagine thick woollen fabrics and canvases generated a lot of dust, soot, dirt and bacteria – especially with the lack of indoor ventilation in those days. This prompted people to look for new ways to keep their homes’ interior clean and fresh – carpet cleaning was emerging. In result, beating the rugs and carpets with brooms was adopted as a way to get rid of dust, sand and other hard particles, however this did not deal with stains.

The first effective stain removal methods emerged circa the eighteen thirties, when a group of innovative housewives began scrubbing carpet stains with lemon juice and hot bread loafs. This worked well on ink, soot and oil stains which were common issues at the time. The ladies elaborated on their cleaning strategies and slowly refined the method. In result, carpets were treated using lemon juice, rinsed with fresh water, and left outside to dry. Essentially, this is the way carpets are cleaned today. Around the same time, it was established and decided that carpets also needed regular sweeping to prevent run out and tearing.

The next advent in carpet cleaning came circa the eighteen seventies or eighties with the invention of the first manually operated vacuum cleaner, known as the Whirlwind. The new invention made housekeeping more manageable and efficient. The first example of a vacuum cleaner though was hard to use, in result optimised, more effective designs began appearing in North America and Western Europe.

The year was nineteen hundred, and the world saw the unveiling of the first electric floor sweeper – the brainchild of Corrine Dufour. The first carpet cleaning machine to use vacuum came next year, in nineteen o one. Interestingly enough, one of the first working vacuum cleaners was powered by heating oil and was called The Puffing Billy.

The first vacuum cleaner to be put into mass production and widely available to the public was done by Walter Griffiths Manufacturer in nineteen oh five. The thing even resembled a modern day vacuum cleaner! A few years later, the first electric vacuum cleaner was put into mass production by James Spangler. The appliance was known as Model 0.

In the nineteen twenties and thirties, carpets went out of fashion and the vacuum cleaning industry went silent for a while. Since the nineteen forties, advancements in chemistry have resulted in the invention and implementation of specialised carpet cleaning chemicals, along with vacuum cleaning systems.

Thanks to: Cleaners Waybridge