Carpet washing by hand (aka cheap workout)

Today I went down to the sea to wash Mr. 12’s carpet. The link between action and music today is very tentative. Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue dueting Where the wild roses grow.

Mr. 12 is at camp school this week. The Engineer is on another continent more that a few time zones away. This means I can do a little redecorating. Mr. 12 soon becomes Mr. 13 and I thought this would a great opportunity to transform his room from ‘small boy grotto’ into ‘teen chill space’. Sunday we picked out the new furniture and some artwork for his walls. Two Roy Lichtenstein pop-art style prints were selected for his room, along with a new bed and corner desk unit.

The carpet was in desperate need of washing. Even after running the vacuum over it and pounding the dust away, it was still looking bedraggled. I’ve washed carpets by the sea before, usually later in the year when it is ACTUALLY summer. Still the forecast for the rest of the week is not bad, and after this morning’s thunderstorm there is no rain in the forecast at all!

So I rolled the carpet up, grabbed my supplies: bucket, scrubbing-brush and mänty (pine) liquid soap.

Carpet transport
Bike + bucket + carpet. All set

I cycled to the carpet washing platform or mattolaituri. These can be found all over Finland, by rivers, lakes or the sea. A new seaside cafe / bar by the same name has opened up in Helsinki. It’s right in front of a real carpet washing platform, and perfect for people watching. Now, back to the topic at hand….

Ready to wash
Plenty of benches to choose from…

I was pleasantly surprised to find I was not the only one there. There was one gentleman washing two carpets to the right of this shot. He was very busy, although he did give me his left over soap. Said he didn’t want to take it home again. It will get used later this summer, I have at least three carpets that require some TLC!

Lather up!
Pine soap has a very fine white lather.

Wet the carpet, pour some soap, lather up, scrub with brush. Rinse, repeat. Rinse. Repeat. Rinse, rinse and then just when you think you must be finished, rinse again! If the carpet is not too big you can dip it into the sea. I’m always afraid that my carpet will be too heavy to pull back again, so I stick to dipping the bucket and rinsing that way.

Mangling required now
Heavy lifting stage…

Once the rinsing is complete, the almost last step is rolling through the mangle or mankeli. This stage can sometimes cause distress, especially if the carpet doesn’t release the water easily. Fortunately, this carpet was easy to move off the table and onto the mangle.

Look Mum, I'm mangling!
Watch your fingers!

Then I mangled back and forth a few times. Eventually the amount of water being  squeezed out was pretty much non-existent.

Overnight resting spot
Hanging over the drying frame.

Fortunately transfer from mangle to drying frame was quite easy. This is where it will now stay for at least the next 24 hours. In peak carpet washing season these racks are full.

Picnic anyone?
Handy bench for those waiting their turn…

Carpet looks quite okay from here….

Now I have some furniture to put together 🙂


10 thoughts on “Carpet washing by hand (aka cheap workout)

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  1. I bought a push mower as opposed to gas or electric for the workout (and green living) as well. I’ll say it’s not quite as satisfying as your rug experience seemed to be since I have to do it every week. Oh well, already sealed my fate. 🙂


    1. Nothing beats the smell of freshly mown grass though. And that lovely cold wet feeling on bare feet that you can only get just after it’s cut. Sounds good to me, we should swap for a day! except for the fact that you’re in Portland and I’m in Helsinki. Ah, well … next time 🙂


    1. It’s better when there are lots of people about. Especially if you have a heavy carpet… and need some lifting assistance!


  2. Your waterways must be pretty clean and un polluted to be able to do this. What a great bit of cheap exercise and cool social interaction. 🙂


    1. Fairly clean, and the sea water here is very mild. Nothing like our cold southern ocean 🙂


  3. Well done! Looks great. I need to do that to Millie’s rug! I’d love to know how that cultural quirk started and if other countries do it?!


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