Allspice Chronicles

Entertain like a Queen, Think Lean and Live Green! A personal collection of recipes,anecdotes,and good old fashioned advice…

A Funny Story About Vinegar and Carpet Care

by Danica Waters

As I was using vinegar to clean my carpets over the weekend, a really wild memory from way, way back hit me like a ton of bricks, and I simply had to share.  I grew up in a house with hardwood floors that had been covered with lots of Oriental carpets.  They were beautiful; I learned early on that they weren’t something you could just use the ol’ Rug Doctor on – they had to be treated with special care.  One year when I was about twelve, we’d had  a particularly wet and muddy spring.  My mother called a man who specialized in cleaning Oriental rugs out to the house to get an estimate.  There was no way we could afford to have him clean the rugs, but the man was very kind, and he told my mother that the best thing to use to freshen and clean Orientals safely was- you guessed it – VINEGAR.   Mom and I, being independent, eternal optimists with a strong “Wonder Woman” complex pulsing through our veins, got it into our heads that we were perfectly capable of tackling the job ourselves.  How hard could it be?  And we had vinegar – lots of it!  Charged with adrenaline, we decided to devote the day to carpet cleaning.

It was all very exciting; my two little sisters enthusiastically carried couch cushions and bric-a-brac as Mom and I moved the heavy furniture off the carpets.  I remember my sisters gleefully twirling and romping around the broad, newly-cleared spaces as we gave ourselves a minute to breathe.  All together, we rolled those bad boys up and, on a determined count of three, managed to lift the first one with relative ease.  It wasn’t until we tried to negotiate corners with our twelve-foot-long friend that we realized Oriental rugs can quickly develop a personality and will of their own. Ours was not just feeling frisky, it was being downright rebellious.  Indeed, carrying the rear end of that carpet felt more like carrying the business end of an angry crocodile, and by the time we reached the long, narrow flight of stairs leading down to our back porch, the beast liberated itself from our grasp, shooting like an unstoppable missile to explode in a cloud of dust at the base of the stairs.  Stunned, bruised, and smarting from the rug burns we’d been dealt, we realized we’d gotten in over our heads.  The very thought of trying to negotiate that twelve-foot monster onto a clothesline was out of the question.  But there was no turning back now.  We’d gotten ourselves into this mess, and we were going to get ourselves out of it – with clean carpets, to boot.  We devised a plan.

The next day we marched down to the small brown barn at the edge of our lot and retrieved several old sawhorses my dad had made years earlier.  We hauled them all up to our back porch and set them side by side.  We wrestled our wily carpet onto the sawhorses and, armed with every broom we could find, took great delight in beating it into submission.  (It had it coming, after all.)  When the dust died down, my mom doused the carpet – and us – with the garden hose, and then she poured a solution of vinegar and water all over the surface.  We scrubbed and scrubbed, and she rinsed and rinsed, and lo’ and behold, that carpet came back to its original brilliance.  We left it to dry for several days, and, wise to the Ways of Wily Carpets, succeeded in getting it back in its rightful place inside the house.

While I will always wrestle with my Wonder Woman complex, I am relieved to not have to wrestle monsters of the carpet variety.  As I spent my weekend engrossed in the rites of Spring Cleaning, it was indeed very nice to pull out my trusty Hoover carpet shampooer, add a cupful of vinegar to the rinse water, and leave my shag carpets clean and fresh.  But the experience somehow lacked something.  In retrospect, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should have finished off the day by dousing my own kids with the garden hose.  Gotta’ keep those memories comin’, right?

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Posted in Allspice Chronicles and Danica Waters and Green Living and Natural Housekeeping and Home Remedies and vinegar by danica on May 31st, 2011 at 11:50 pm.

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