A Brief History Behind Carpet Cleaning



Carpet Cleaning BCE

The conundrum of carpet cleaning has plagued homemakers since carpets were first put on floors in the 3rd millennium BC. The oldest carpet remaining is from the 5th century BCE. Someone must have cleaned it without abrasive methods or it wouldn’t be here! Rugs have been used for centuries, but wall to wall carpet didn’t become popular in European homes until the 1800’s. Typically, floor coverings were used over the carpet in the summer months and for special receptions. The coverings were meant to protect the carpet from being soiled or damaged by sunlight. Over the years, the methods of cleaning have improved greatly, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Early Methods of Carpet Cleaning

Initially, carpets were cleaned by removing them from the room and beating the dust from the reverse side of the carpet to push grime out of the place where it had become embedded. Rods were often used, and some beating devices were designed to make the task of beating carpets doable for women, who weren’t considered to be up for the task in that day and age. Without getting into the social issues of sexism in the 1800’s, we can conclude from this that the job of removing dirt from carpets was strenuous and required strength and effort.

Early Ages Homemade Carpet Cleaning Formulas

Carpets were occasionally cleaned by washing. There were many homemade formulas for cleaning carpet, including a combination of water and beef’s gall. In case you are not up on beef’s gall, I will define it for you. It is the bile of cattle which is evaporated until dry. It retains its original smell and characteristics. After hearing this, I was glad that I live in the day and age of carpet cleaning products with scents that are tested in laboratories to ensure that they are pleasant.

The Invention of Mechanized Sweeping Devices ( Vacuum Cleaners )

Even when sweeping the carpet entailed the use of a broom and dustpan, it was recommended that a carpet only be swept when absolutely necessary as sweeping is very damaging. The late 1800’s brought the use of mechanized sweeping devices, leading to our very own vacuum cleaners. The bags for carpet cleaning devices were invented in 1920 and made an enormous difference in the ease and efficiency of cleaning. Imagine the results of sweeping without a bag. I am sure a homemaker dusted after she swept the carpets with her carpet cleaning machine and pumped the dirt from the floor into the air. Carpets are now designed to handle the rigors of sweeping, but antique carpets and hand woven rugs should be treated with the care of yesteryear.

Early Carpet Cleaning Equipment

Carpet cleaning equipment was invented in the early 1900’s. The first cleaner was so large that it had to be hauled by a horse drawn wagon and parked outside of the establishment being cleaned. It was gas powered and a hose went into the house from the machine to clean the carpets. Thankfully, these cleaners were eventually made smaller and easier to operate so that anyone can clean their carpets without a special parking permit.

Carpet cleaning has evolved from a lengthy and difficult process, to a job that can be accomplished quickly and with ease. The next time you roll your eyes because you have to get out your vacuum cleaner, stop and think about the alternatives. You may just give your sweeper a little hug.

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