Carpet Cleaning HistoryCarpet cleaning was made easier by the invention of the vacuum cleaner and stain removal more successful with the creation of different cleaning solutions.  Ever wonder what house cleaning was like for our ancestors?  How did they clean their carpets without technology and how did this progress into carpet cleaning as we know it?

History of Carpet Cleaning at a glance:

19th century – What are druggets?

  • Druggets were made of thick, heavy fabric and used to cover and protect the carpets from spills and dirt.
  • The more affluent carpet owners used canvas cloth to protect their carpets while they were away.
  • As a result of the Industrial Revolution, cleanliness was being promoted all over Europe and North America.
  • Servants would beat carpets and rugs with a broom to dislodge dirt and soot from fireplaces, but they couldn’t do much about stains.

1830s – The Rise of the Housewives

  • Resourceful housewives started documenting their methods for removing different stains.
  • People discovered the importance of sweeping carpets with straw brooms to prolong its life.

1870s – The Carpet Sweeper

  • In 1869, the first sweeping machine, the “Whirlwind,” was invented by Ives W. McGaffey, but it was manually operated.

1880s – Trying out different cleaning solutions 

  • Magazines and other publications were already offering advice on cleaning methods and neat tricks.  Attention was also given to extending the carpet’s life, refreshing the carpet and removing stains.
  • Machines were used to beat carpets and remove dirt.

1900s – The First Ever Vacuum Cleaner

  • Another sweeping machine, this time an electric one, was created by Corrine Dufour.
  • Hubert Cecil Booth invented a machine called the “Puffing Billy” which used the concept of vacuuming but was mounted and transported on horses. He later designed an electric version, which became the forerunner of the vacuum cleaner.
  • Walter Griffiths developed and patented a vacuum cleaner that was operated by hand but was the first to bear a likeness to the modern vacuum cleaners.
  • James Spangler designed and built a vacuum cleaner similar to the earlier models, but with his innovation, a rotating brush.

1945 onwards – Tried and tested

  • Carpets lost popularity in the 1920s and 1930s and people started using rugs more. Rugs, however, also needed vacuuming and shampooing.
  • Focus now shifted to chemicals that can be used for  carpet cleaning.
  • The best method for cleaning carpets was finally established: vacuum, shampoo, dry, and brush.  Current techniques stick to the same formula and people just expanded on the use of equipment and cleaning solutions.

Image by net_efekt on Flickr