The carpet should be carefully folded up in the room from whose floor it is taken, then carried some distance from the house; or, if this is not feasible, the windows on the nearest side should be closed. Spread it on the grass if dry, otherwise hang it wrong side out on the line. Beat it well with strong sticks or broom-handles, being careful that there are no splinters or rough places which would prove injurious. When dust ceases to rise with each blow, turn it on the right side, and treat it in the same way. If the grass be clean and dry, drag the carpet over it to freshen it; after which, sweep it with a carpet-whisk to remove any surface dust; it is then ready for relaying.
After the carpet has been relaid, if the colour is somewhat dingy or faded, it may be treated as follows : Procure from the butcher 1/2 pint of fresh oxgall, and add to three times its bulk of warm water ( 1 1/2 pints). Wring a leather out of this, and wash about a yard of carpet (any very dirty places may be scrubbed); dip another cloth or leather in cold water, wring it out, and rub over the cleaned part; then rub with a dry cloth, making it as dry as possible; then move on, and treat the surrounding portion in the same way till the whole carpet is cleansed.
OXGALL is usually sold from 2d. to 4d. per 1/4 pint, each gall containing about this quantity. If stale, the smell is most objectionable. To aid the drying, and to get rid of the smell, the door and window should be open or a fire lighted. The alkaloid in the oxgall, combining with the dirt and grease in the carpet, forms an emulsion which enables the dirt to be removed easily; but the gall also brightens the colour, contrary to the action of any other alkali.
When the room is prepared for the sweeping, a strip of the carpet should be sprinkled with clean tea-leaves. If the carpet covers the whole floor, it is wise to use a small hand carpet-whisk to get into the corners, and a long-handled carpet-whisk for the rest of the room. If it is a pile carpet, brush the way of the pile, in the direction in which the widths are joined. Unless the pile lies in an opposite direction, it is always well to brush towards the fireplace. Brush each portion six or seven times, until no (or very little) dust rises, and when one strip is finished, scatter tea-leaves on and begin to sweep the next, taking care that the brushing overlaps, and that no dust is allowed to escape between the widths. Brush quietly, without raising the brush more than is necessary, as this makes the dust fly about the room. When all is swept, collect the flue and dust in a dustpan and burn immediately. When the dust in the air has been allowed to settle, take a bowl of lukewarm water containing a little dissolved borax and a few drops of vinegar, wring a leather out of this (preferably leather, as hairs from flannel are apt to adhere), and wipe the surface of the carpet all over. This makes it look fresh and clean.
TEA-LEAVES should be well washed in cold water to prevent their staining the carpet. If they are suspected of having come into contact with any trace of grease, wash them thoroughly in hot water before using cold. They should be taken into the room in a colander, or draining-basket, with a plate underneath; as, if used too wet, they may make marks.
In Australia freshly cut grass is used, and in America tiny strips of newspaper are moistened to prevent the dust from rising.
While sweeping, it is well to close both doors and windows, as any draught may disperse the dust