If you follow along on Instagram stories, you will know that I’ve been feverishly working on an old rug for the last couple of weeks. I found it at an estate sale for $50 and wanted to clean it up because it was so filthy. I loved it just the way it was with the coloring, but it was super splotchy where a lot of the rug pile had possibly been eaten off by rug moths in the past. One of you had told me that on Instagram. I love how it was sewn together in five different sections!
Step one of 6432 steps (not many of which I wound recommend)…I decided to try a skiver to take off the fuzz/pile, because I didn’t know what else to use. The splotchiness in some of the areas on the rug was just really gross looking and I wanted to get it off.
Skiver was working but I knew it might take 20 years…We started off cleaning it and buying a pressure washer to do so, which we had wanted to purchase for quite some time. I thought it would be a simple cleaning. I added baking soda and vinegar to it to try to pull out the odor.
Mistake number one…maybe…I’m still not sure, but I think the vinegar and baking soda is what made the dye come out.
We sprayed it off, what felt like 9000 times. It might have been partially because I put about 20 scoops of powdered Tide on it, on top of the 3 large boxes of baking soda and about 2 bottles of distilled vinegar. I would not recommend using any of these combos. The next time I would probably just mix the powdered Tide in a bucket of water and try using that. Or, I’ve also used Dawn dishwashing soap mixed in with water in the past and that seems to have worked good. I just thought this rug needed a deeper cleaning because it was sooooo dirty!
You can see in the photo below how awful it looked after it dried from spraying it off with all the soap, baking soda, and vinegar.
Once again, I tried the skiver until I realized how long it was going to take, AGAIN.
I decided to buy a horse trimmer. It actually worked really well but didn’t cut it as short as I wanted, as I was trying to get all of the pile off. The reason why I wanted it all the way off is because in some areas it had already been taken all of the way off and I was trying to get rid of that “splotchy“ look. I was frustrated about the color and the pile, but I don’t give up easily!
I decided to try this thing called “color run, to see if I could get some of the original dye color to come back…NOPE…it just made the fringe turn orange on that corner where I started to pour it. I’m glad I didn’t just chuck the whole bucket of it on the rug. I then tried a rit “color remover” to see if I could just get rid of the rest of the color since it was looking so bad…NOPE…didn’t work either.
The last resort… I used my orbital sander. I had tried sanding earlier in the process before I had taken all of the pile down to as short as I could get it with the horse trimmers, and the sander wasn’t working. Once I had shorted the pile (with hours of horse trimming my rug) my orbital sander took off the rest, with 60 grit sand paper and hours of sanding.
After I had all of the pile sanded off, I decided to bleach the rug bc the coloring looked awful! I knew there was a chance that it could totally fall apart at this point but I was beyond the point of caring. I used a pump sprayer and bleached, pressure washed, and then bleached again and pressure washed again.
My arms are hanging by a thread, but I think the rug turned out cute. Is it soft?…absolutely not. Does it fit in our rental house?…nope. Is it a cool old worn and TATTERED antique rug? …Yes!! And, the end!
This is as far as I could get it unrolled inside because it’s so HUGE! The outdoor lighting distorts the coloring some but it looks awesome inside! And, the moral of the story is…don’t do this the way I did, but I’m glad I didn’t quit…even if it WOULD have fallen to shreds.