I’ve had many people in the shop ask me how to clean their kilim cushion covers and similarly how to spot clean their kilim if something should get spilt on it. So I thought I would dedicate this post to a simple step by step demonstration of how you can do this cleaning yourself at home. This is more of a light surface clean but it does generate life back into your cover and is good for spot cleaning.
So you will need: 1 bucket, 1 eye dropper, small white cloth and some baby shampoo
STEP 1: Check for colour fastness! Probably the most important step so don’t skip it, particularly if you don’t want your beautiful kilim or cover to resemble a kids water painting. Most kilim cushions are made from old or antique kilims that have already been washed countless times but it still worth checking.
Grab an eye dropper with HOT water, this will allow you to get a quicker reaction. A few drops of water and press firmly with a white cloth. Hold for while to see if any colour transfers. My cover is VERY old so I am pretty certain their will be no colour run. I also tested another cushion cover hoping it would cause colour transfer so I could show you but that one also didn’t run. The colours to watch out for most are deep reds and blues, these tend to run the most so be extra cautious when testing these.
At this stage also give the cushion a good beating! Get some of that dust out.
STEP: 2: Cleaning solution. I use baby shampoo for the cleaning solution. It’s cheap, its gentle, usually contains no chemicals so a winner all round. I have had people try wool wash as well with similar results. You don’t want to use anything too harsh as most covers (at least the good quality ones) will have been woven using hand spun wool which retains the natural lanolin extending the life of the kilim and acting as a natural scotchquard, so you don’t want to strip it of those qualities. So, some shampoo in a bucket, add COLD water and froth up the mixture as much as you can.
STEP 3: cleaning the cover. Collect some foam in your hand and wipe it across the cover, continue until your cleaned the whole cover. Don’t be worried if you are getting some water with the foam but do try not to get it sopping wet.
STEP 4: Spot cleaning/marks. For more stubborn marks that need some extra attention. Put a small dollop of shampoo in your hand mixing fast with couple of drops of water and make a concentrated foam mix and apply this to the mark.
STEP 5: Drying. Cleaning done time to dry the cover (or kilim patch). A little trick I was told was the always dry them on grass in the sun (as the air can circulate from underneath as well). Also it saves your piece being pulled out of shape with (ie. with pegs)
If your garden is anything like mine at the moment, grass isn’t so readily available…so i used a bush 🙂
Once dried, you have a clean refreshed kilim cushion cover ready to look gorgeous again.
At this point I should put a disclaimer. If you aren’t confident with any of the above processes, do not continue. If your piece is very valuable to you, either monetarily or otherwise, please do not clean it yourself but rather take it to a professional.