The rug is inverted, pile side facing down, over a metal grate. (The grate is visible along the top edge of the photo.) We use a modified vacuum cleaner that has a rotating bar only - no brushes - to create a vibration across the back of the rug, loosening dust and debris. Dry dirt from the rug falls through the grate and is easily swept away for disposal. This process is repeated until the rug is virtually free of dust.
A rug must be dusted before washing in order to provide a thorough cleaning. In fact, dusting accounts for half of the overall cleaning time. The debris pictured in the dustpan is from the first pass over a 7’3” x 10’3” rug. There are easily 5-6 cups of dirt in the pan that regular home maintenance of the rug did not remove.
After dusting, rugs are scrubbed by hand with gentle soap, water, and vinegar. Hand washing provides a deep and careful cleaning, and the addition of vinegar to the wash water enhances luster. If a rug has stains, those are treated separately, and pet odors are removed by using neutralizers, soaks, and UV light. Very dirty rugs may be washed repeatedly. After washing, rugs are rinsed with cool water, which is extracted by suction. Clean rugs air dry over the course of 2 or 3 days.