We know that cleaning can sometimes be a tedious chore, but have you ever considered how lucky we are to have vacuum cleaners, detergents and stain removers at hand? We have all the tools we need today to make cleaning a breeze. Our predecessors didn’t have it so easy. Take a historical look at carpet and rug cleaning methods and see how this area of cleaning has evolved over the ages.


19th Century

One of the common carpet cleaning techniques during this period was to beat rugs with a broom to remove dust and soot. While this may rid some of the dust particles, it doesn’t remove stains. People back then would try to prevent stains by covering their carpet with druggets, a thick fabric that protected the carpet from spills. Wealthier families used canvas cloth to protect their carpet from stains and dust.


An effective stain removal method emerged in the 1830s, thanks to the creativity of housewives of this period. To remove stains from carpet, they scrubbed it with lemon juice and a hot loaf of bread. Then, they rinsed the carpet with fresh water and left it outdoors to dry. To preserve the colour and prevent damage, carpets were also swept with straw brooms. Thankfully, more effective carpet cleaning methods were discovered over time.


The first manually operated vacuum known as the “Whirlwind” was invented by Ives W. McGaffey in 1868. This was the start of more modern carpet cleaning methods as other inventors designed their own manually operated vacuum cleaners in the United States and Europe.


During this period, a wide range of carpet cleaning tips were being printed in various publications. Particular attention was given to cleaning techniques that restored the carpet’s colour and removed stains. One cleaning tip was to combine clay paste with water and leaving this mixture on the carpet overnight to dry. In the morning, the paste was swept from the carpet, carrying away stains and soil with it. Machines were also used to beat carpets clean of dirt.


The 1900’s saw the advent of electric powered cleaners. Corrine Dufour invented the first electric powered carpet sweeper. Hubert Cecil Booth followed suit with a machine called the “Puffing Billy”, which was initially operated using petrol but an electric version was later designed and became the forerunner of the vacuum cleaner.

Carpets became unfashionable in the 1920s and 1930s with more people favouring rugs. However, people soon realised that rugs also needed the same care as carpets.

1945 until today

In the 1940’s carpet cleaning methods shifted from vacuums to chemicals. This established the method for cleaning carpets today: vacuum, shampoo, dry, and brush. Over the years, carpet cleaning has greatly improved with more modern equipment, cleaning solutions and techniques such as steam carpet cleaning.

Today, one of the great things about modern carpet cleaning is that you can get the services of expert carpet cleaners to give your carpet a detailed clean. No more beating carpets and rugs with brooms! These professionals know the best techniques to freshen up your carpet, cleaning it from the inside out. Didn’t we tell you that cleaning can be a breeze?