Myrna Bloom

Magic Clean Carpet on The Auserehlian Cleaning System by Mryna Bloom and Richard Marcus from The Decorative Rug

How fascinating it is that oriental rugs have their origins thousands of years ago! Though centuries have passed, little in rug making has changed. There may be fewer tribal rugs make now than in the past, but then are we so sure? Or are there tribes – and rugs – yet undiscovered that 50 or 100 years hence will grace theIf rugs could talk… marketplaces of the world? Within the walls of countless individual cottage shops and city factories, rugs continue to be woven today as they have been since the light of dawn shone on early civilization. Part of the beauty of any oriental rug lies in its ageless links to the past: in design, color, originality, and, of course, in the fact that it is the work of human hands at ancient skills.Time passes; fibres become embedded with the dust of years (for centuries!) even when a rug is a wall hanging rather than a floor piece. Fringes become soiled, disheveled. And colors – central to all that an oriental rug embodies – lose their flush, are dimmed or hidden under an accumulation of dirt that, until now, has never been able to be wholly lifted from a valued oriental rug.

Ordinary methods of rug cleaning – rug preserving, if you will – have not appreciably changed in so long a time that it cannot be measured. True, hot water, gentle soaps, cleaners, detergents, fluids, foams, chemicals, and the like have tempted all but the strictest caretakers of oriental rugs. But museum curators, knowledgeable collectors, and all the rest of us still rely on a modus operandi that promises little more than a good bath, at best. We might have hoped for a return to long-ago brilliance of colors and freshness of fibres, but we know that is not to be. Not, at least, until now.

Phillip Auserehl, a man with a mind, a mission, and a love for oriental rugs, has perfected a method of preserving and cleaning oriental rugs that can produce dramatic results on every rug he touches. He has designed (read: invented) an instrument which hovers over the surface of a rug and, without ever coming into contact with the actual surface, dislodges and totally removes from the rug the accumulation of dirt, right down to the warp and welt of the original waving. Dirt and dust are not simply transferred elsewhere on the rug’ they are thoroughly removed by a process of cleaning more gently than beating, more efficient than vacuum, more thorough and reliable than any system of cleaning presently is use. The results of the Auserehlian Cleaning System process invite the challenge of microscopic inspection.

Washing, in safely-treated, softened water, using specially formulated shampoo, only takes place after the initial dry cleaning with air has been completed. There is no dependence on old-fashioned, potentially damaging, harsh cleaning fluids, caustic chemicals, stuff brushes, mechanical abrasion or scraping. There are no optical brighteners which can produce short-term color brightness but which eventually turn yellow and cause disc9oloration. This system, which promises the return and restoration of all that any rug can be within the realm of cleaning and preservation, makes use of air and water as its primary cleaning tools.Air opens the nap and evaporates dirty waters. Vacuum and compressed air dislodge the direct. Water cleanses the rug from inside its foundation to the top of its nap. Except for the addition of handmade repairs by an expert, this method of cleaning provides the greatest potential for the preservation of the value and usefulness of an oriental rug since river washing.

In detail, the Auserehlian Cleaning System makes use of air under high pressure, through a tool of Phil’s own design, that lightly floats over the surface of a rug. When first applied, billows of dust and dirt are dispensed. Second and third times over loosen and remove whatever particles remain. Lying on specially made supporting mats, the rugs are repeatedly air-cleansed, front, back and inside.

Insects, larvae, grit, silica, infinitesimal grains of sand that have been collected and stored over the life of a rug are thoroughly removed. It is now, after all manageable dirt has been removed, right down to the frailest fibres; that washing and then drying takes place.

Dyes are unharmed and controlled against bleed, then restored to a brightness hardly remembered. Fibres are clean, supple, and free to breathe. Fringes lie peacefully extended in perfect order. The inside and back side of a rug is as clean as the front. Both sides are ready to take their place in the community of rugs for another century or so. (The normal life expectancy of an oriental rug is acknowledged to be well over 100 years; in any case, the Ausrehlian Cleaning System extends it further, in better condition, value enhanced, physically condition greatly improved.)

The far reaching effects of this system of cleaning and preserving oriental rugs are only beginning to be recognized. Rug dealers can find enhanced value in rugs that are noticeably cleaner, brighter, and fresher smelling. rug cleaning establishments throughout the world can offer and deliver a better product and service to their customers; immaculately cleaned rugs that far outweigh initial premium costs. Rugs can last years longer, having been liberated from layers of dirt. Collectors whose valuable acquisitions nevertheless retained a coating of dust that could not safely be removed heretofore may put their pieces into the hands of a cleaner who can assure them that no harm will befall their valued possessions. Museum curators whose rolled up treasures have seen little light of day may befall their valued possessions. Museum curators whose rolled up treasures have seen little light of day may unroll their art works, procure long-awaited care and treatment, and then display them.

Phillip Auserehl operates Castle Cleaning and Rug Company in Berthoud, Colorado. A second company, Ausrehlian and Company, functions as an educational arm all the way from training in the rug cleaning system to the procurement of equipment. Classes are taught by Ron Toney and Phillip Auserehl, partners in Auserehlian and Company. Their classes are limited in size. The course teaches not only the cleaning system itself, but also how to establish a first-class rug cleaning shop of one’s own, not as a franchise but as an individually owned and operated business.

Air Driven Rug Cleaning ToolMyrna Bloom and Richard Marcus The Decorative Rug, February 1995)

The air-driven tool of Auserehl’s design floats over the surface of the rugs, expelling dirt that has accumulated despite prior rug cleanings.