When I do rug cleaning courses, invariably a student will
say, “Just tell me how to clean it. Why do I need to know what the rug is?”
Unfortunately, rug identification is not really understood by many cleaners.
The ability to correctly identify commonly encountered rugs is a component of a
cleaner’s product knowledge that is essential to a successful business.
do not have to know the difference between a Bibikabad and a Bijar to be a
great rug cleaner, but basic rug ID skills distinguish a rug cleaner from the
So what is product knowledge? It is the rug’s fiber content;
the construction (machine vs. hand-made, hand-knotted, flat weave, hand-tufted
or a specialty type rug); identifying problem rugs in the pre-cleaning
inspection; and the country of origin.
And why rug identification? It’s fun, and increases in
difficulty with each level of learning, improves your professional image and
helps identify potential cleaning problems.
A superior product knowledge delivers better customer
service and develops trust with your customers, which can lead to additional
sales. When you are talking to a customer and mention in passing what a great
Bijar she owns – the cost of cleaning is no longer the issue. You are the
expert who can be trusted with her rug.
Also, knowing which rugs have inherent problems (like the
new Tabriz production, which are prone to dye bleeding) will allow you to
address these issues with the customer during the pre-cleaning inspection and
choose the appropriate cleaning method.
What are the reasons many cleaners do not have rug product
knowledge? It is hard at first; there’s a fear of failure; it requires extra
effort; there are few instructors are qualified to teach the subject; and the big
investment for the instructors to acquire rugs for class. However, training
classes and teaching books do exist to help you gain this knowledge.
Rug identification is deductive reasoning and a process of
elimination. First, look at the back of the rug and determine if it is
machine-made or some other type of rug. Broadloom carpet can be made into a
rug. Or it could be machine-woven which would have visible warp yarns running
the length of the rug. (Image 1)
The next step on our “Road Map To Rug Identification” is to
determine if it is hand-knotted or a specialty rug. A hand-knotted rug will
clearly show the pattern on the back – without continuous visible warp yarns
and you may see the wefts which, in Image 2
is of a 1960s to 1970s
Kashan. An on-location cleaner brought this to a rug plant for correction
because the wefts bled during cleaning. Knowing this era of Kashan rugs have
the potential for the wefts to bleed (which does not show up on a dye bleed
test) would have saved a lot of grief. The rug cleaning specialist was able to
remove the blue with a little “magic,” avoiding having to purchase the
customer’s rug, and so the day was saved.
Determine what type of hand-knotted rug you are about to
clean will require doing a technical analysis: what type of knot was used; the
fiber content, color and number of the warp and wefts; the design to some
extent, (but it is not that reliable in coming to the final conclusion); how
the ends and sides of the rug are finished; and the size of the rug is also
helpful as some rugs are generally made in larger sizes, such as Heriz.
With good resource materials and knowledgeable instructors,
you can learn this challenging but fun topic and become the rug expert for your
customers and prevent potential problems like those with the Kashan.