9.15.2010

The flokati


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Remember a week ago when I posted that lovely picture of our flokati rug hanging out to dry? Everyone has a method for cleaning these beasts, and now I'm weighing in. The flokati doesn't seem to be a popular choice among clean freaks, and I understand why - this rug gets dirty, especially if the weight is thicker. I've shaken out enough loose change to have a field day with a dollar menu.

Apartment Therapy posted an article on cleaning flokatis, and many readers commented, "why not throw it in the washer?" That works for a small flokati from Ikea that's thrown over a chair, but when you have a monstrous rug forget it. If you're a DIYer and would rather forego a professional rug cleaner, see below.


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My most successful method follows, and the steps are similar to others with several adjustments. I do a basic cleaning (shake and air dry) once a month and a full cleaning 3-4 months.
  1. Shake rug outside to free all debris.
  2. Place rug in bathtub (if size permits) and soak 2-3 times in Woolite and cold water. Massage Woolite into rug and rinse each time. Yes, the water has turned black, and I felt like the filthiest person alive - but it's effective.
  3. Since my rug is the natural off-white, I lay it flat outside and allow it to sun dry.
  4. If that doesn't suffice, I power wash the rug on the lowest setting, crosshatching my way over the entire surface. That will definitely have the rug shining in no time!
  5. Line dry.
  6. Brush the rug with a metal hair brush (as many sites indicate) to fluff. Also, as most instructions indicate, don't vacuum the rug! It's a pain in the ass and does nothing.
  7. P.S. The dreads are part of the character! The flokati may never return to its original state, but that's the joy. Think of it as capturing history in those imperfections and building character.

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After 10 years of experience, I believe a flokati is very forgiving. I have lived with cats, dogs, messy roommates, etc. and cleaned many hairballs, spilled food, and who knows what out of it. Several years ago, I decided to permanently keep mine in the bedroom where there's less traffic because, I'll admit, it was disturbing me how much dirt gets trapped in the wool. So clean freaks, don't fret! There is a way to treasure the wonderful feeling of thick wool under bare feet without living in accumulated dust.

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