Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Country Wisdom and Resourcefulness

Several years ago, I bought a Persian runner at a little antique market. The woman I purchased it from gave me advice on cleaning the runner. She said to take it outside after a snowstorm and lay it in the snow with the pile side down. Leave it out there for a couple of days and then bring it back in. I secretly doubted her advice but put it into my memory bank. Back then, I couldn’t have thought about dragging rugs outdoors in the midst of winter – I was too busy caring for an infant and it was all I could do to take a shower.

I have picked up several small area rugs at flea markets over the years and every winter, I now have it together enough to heed her rug care advice. I must say I was skeptical at first but now I do believe. For some strange reason, lots of dirt will drop out of the rug without any shaking leaving the pile on the rug puffier and cleanish looking. When I lift the rug, there's always a brown rectangle left in the snow that disappears with the next snowstorm or when the snow melts. Silly thing to write about on a blog but this little chore always makes me so happy to see something clean around here with barely a lift of the finger.



This past weekend, I hauled out some of the rugs and let nature work its magic. I did get a kick out of the dogs though. They just took the opportunity to plop themselves down onto the rugs on top of the snow and enjoyed a little snooze. Boy, are they resourceful. Truth be told, the cats were out there too - that picture didn't turn out as good.

And if you haven't seen this bit of winter wonder yet, pop on over to Siri's blog Knitting Iris. She has some beautiful photos of hoar frost. I can't remember seeing anything so beautiful in a while. The wonders of nature and the blogiverse.

Our cats have been enjoying their own little kitty-igloo this winter. I left a garden cart filled with greens by the back door and it has been covered with snow for a couple months. They have turned it into their own little cat haven. So cute. There's always some little feline face popping out the little igloo door when I open the door to the house. They rest there escaping the snow until they can pop on in to the house and get warm again.


Addendum 3/7/08: My friend Bob sent me this link to Mother Earth News which explains why the snowy rug cleaning thing works. That explains it - thank goodness.

21 comments:

maymomvt (or Sarah) said...

That's so funny. I was just discussing this with my hubby. I have been reading "Green Housekeeping" and it suggested a snow bath for rugs.

If you end up with any spring kittens,I might be interested.....

Danielle said...

The cats and dogs are too cute! And yes, very resourceful.

Christina said...

I love the pics of the dogs on the rugs in the snow! What a great idea. Now I'm hoping a little bit of snow will come my way so I can clean my rugs! Thanks for the tip!

Jessica Marie said...

The animals are adorable! I love that they took the chance to have a snooze-fest on the rugs. So cute.

Susan said...

Oh my goodness, I love that rug idea. I am doing that one for sure. Those eggs in your previous post are so dreamy, I could look at that bowl of natural color all day! The chickens are wonderful, too. I will make sure Jaime sees that post, remember she wants to have chickens someday?

Anonymous said...

I can remember my grandma doing this each winter - she also used to clean woolen blankets the same way.

Kat said...

Now I want it to snow again so I can bring my rugs outside!

Mia said...

I thought that maybe you were really nice to the dogs and put rugs out for them at first glance. But it does make sense to clean the rugs that way if you get enough snow.

And the kitty igloo is a wodnerful idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes! I'm a ragrug weaver, and am always trying to convince other weavers to use the snow to freshen rugs. Also take a straw broom and sweep some of the dry-crisp snow onto and off of the rug. Now if we only had ragrug washing facilities as they do in Finland.
Dawn

KSee said...

How thoughtful of you give give the dogs a nice place to sun. Oh, I wish we would have some snow down her in No Va. It was 66 today. Love the pictures.

Willow said...

I remember hearing about putting your rugs out in the snow in the winter. But I don't remember where. Certainly not in any rug shop I've visited in the past year since it doesn't snow like that in Southern California.

I love the kitty igloo!

Anonymous said...

I,m going to try the rug cleaning tip this weekend. Yesterday in Ohio all we had was ice but more snow predicted for the weekend.

Love the eggs in the previous post. I always love seeing your colors, but the browns and blues are what I gravitate to.

myartfullife said...

This is a terrific post! I heard about the snow-cleaning technique years ago, too, but the detail of setting them out upside down was omitted. Now it makes complete sense! Love the dogs lounging on them, too! And the kitty igloo - how wonderful! ... I second the request to hear about spring kittens, should there be any.

Leslie said...

Do you think it's just gravity making the dirt fall out or is there some sort of suction developed between the cool snow and the warm wool? And did the dogs' weight cause little doggie auras in the middle of the rug form?

I also love the kitty igloo although I'm sure Perry P would not!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the link to the frost pictures- enchanting.
Any tips on rugcleaning for those who live in a Mediterranean climate?
/s/ Gretchen

AreaRugs said...

I work for an online store and our offices are in an Oriental Rug Retail store. There are people here that have been selling rugs for 35 years and no one has ever heard of this. The only reason that this would work that we can think of is that when things get cold they contract and when they get warm they expand. During the day when the sun hits the back of the rug it expands and releases some dirt and at night it contracts and squeezes the dirt. So this expanding and contracting squeezes and releases the dirt. But however it works I have got to give it a try next snow fall. Thanks…

Becky said...

I love the dogs finding a comfy spot in the snow! And, the picture of the kitty is adorable.

Thanks for sharing the idea about the rugs. I just wish we had one snow storm here in Western TN!

Lynn said...

Hmm, I've tried this tip for cleaning rugs and it hasn't worked for me (and God knows it wasn't because the rugs were particularly clean to start with!).

I love that photo of the cat coming out of the snow cave!

Kristin Nicholas said...

My friend Bob sent this link which explains why this works! Wow!

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/1974-11-01/Snow-Way-To-Clean-a-Rug.aspx

Felicia said...

LOL I love your opportunistic doggies! And that kitty igloo is nothing short of precious :)

knittingiris said...

Oh, Kristin, this is just the coolest thing, washing rugs in the snow!
We don't have any rugs at all because of all the dirt we drag into the house daily...both the dogs and ourselves. We had one of those kids' ones for a few years with the roads and town buildings printed all over them and that one, since it was so thin, rubber backed, and all synthetic, I would take to the car wash and just spray it down with the pressure hose (after almost throwing it away altogether after a mid-winter stomach flu incident when all the garden hoses were frozen solid!).
I'm going to reconsider having rugs again after seeing this. Although our dogs, like yours, would certainly lie on the rugs both inside and outside in the snow.
Unfortunately the only powdery snow left this year is only up in the mountains and even then only infrequently. I think I'd get some pretty weird looks hauling rugs up to the ski hill and laying them out for the day while we ski!