Cleaning the Rug – Telkepe Style

by Weam Namou

I remodeled my home last year, threw out the carpet and brought in wooden floor. I placed a beige rug in the living room. Whoever saw it said, “It’ll get dirty in no time.”

I knew that was true, but I figured, (a) I liked the rug and (b) I got it at a real good price. Actually, the B came before the A. But anyway – recently the looks of this beige rug made me not want to have anyone come over – especially not the Chaldeans who tend to ignore your entire beautiful home to find a little stain on the rug and for the remainder of the visit talk to you about how you shouldn’t have bought a light colored rug to begin with, that you shouldn’t let the kids eat anywhere near the family room, that you should have the rug professionally cleaned, etc.

Since it’s not easy to haul the thing somewhere to be professionally cleaned, I considered renting a carpet steamer. I waited for my husband to make time so he could pick it up or watch the kids as I picked it up, but no cigar. I also would have wanted him to help me with the cleaning so I wouldn’t mess up the machine, as I’m known to do with any new technology. I looked up online how rugs are cleaned and got complex details. It was as if I was trying to clean a castle.

So I asked the old wise ones. They said, lay it outside, bring a bucket of soap and water and have a hose nearby. They were going to show me how it’s done “Telkepe style”. Telkepe, otherwise known as Telkaif, is the village in northern Iraq (once all Christian) where they and their ancestors are from. I did all that and brought along a brush.

“What’s this for?” my uncle’s wife asked. “Go get me a flat piece of wood.”

“What?!” I asked.

“A piece of wood!” she said. “What? You want to teach me how a rug is cleaned!”

Luckily, because of extra wood we had for the fireplace, I found her the perfect flat piece wood and it did miracles. Today my rug looks as good as new and my guest-inviting days are once again in business.