by Julie Finch-Scally
At this time of the year there are many outdoor concerts and film festivals. We all arrive at the venue with our rugs and small seats to sit on and that inevitable basket of sustenance. Hubby and I went along to a concert last Saturday and took along our ground protection and food.
Because none of the requirements for sitting outdoors are used very often they get stored: the rug on a shelf in the spare room and the seats in the garage. Now the seats are easily dusted down with a small hand brush, but when I came to collect the rug I was amazed at how dusty it smelt.
Obviously as we were about to depart for the concert and it would be placed on the ground it didn’t really matter that it was dusty, but it made me realise how much dust infiltrates rugs when not in use. I couldn’t remember the last time I washed the rug, but it was definitely in need of a clean.
The rug actually picked up some grass while spread out on the ground so it was more than appropriate for me to put it through a machine wash the next day. As the rug was crocheted wool I was in two minds whether to put it through a cold or a hot cycle.
The usual reason for using hot cycles when washing is to remove dust mites which accumulate on mattresses when we sleep. But as this rug was only ever used to cover our legs when the weather was a little cool or as a ground cover when picnicking or attending outdoor concerts, I rationalized that the rug didn’t need the hot wash only a cold cycle.
Also because the rug was made from wool I wasn’t too keen on the wash being overly long. Some of my washing machine cycles go for two hours or more and these consist of nearly an hour of washing followed by the rinse cycles. I didn’t want to subject this rug to that length of washing so I adjusted the washing to cycle to suit. As it turned out the wash itself went for thirty minutes while the usual four rinses and spins took just short of an hour.
Some washing machine cycles are heavier and longer than others. They can go from 800 rpm to 1200 rpm: the lower the revs the less time the spin. Obviously 10 to 15 minutes of spin drying on the 1200 cycle is a bit too long for wool so I opted for the 1000 rpm. This allowed for the moisture to be removed but saved damage to the woolen fibre.
As I also put some fabric softener in the last rinse the rug came out of the machine feeling soft and smelling sweet. Once it had been dried in the sun it was in much better condition than when I took it off the shelf to take out last Saturday. And in future I will remember to give it a wash after each outdoor use.