Small victories: Washing carpet squares in the washing machine

I’ve been putting in a lot of time to get my classroom ready for the first day of school. I moved from an older portable (in not very good condition) to a newer portable (better flooring, better lighting, air conditioning that works well). Unfortunately the custodians didn’t have time to get everything quite as I would have liked, so I was in washing walls and shelves (they wouldn’t have been able to wash the shelves anyway – I had a ton of stuff stored there), and desks and chairs (these are usually done for me, so I am not sure why they were overlooked).

Anyway I don’t have my bulletin boards up, but the walls are clean. I am going to try the approach of having the kids involved in the design of things anyway – though I may still block out general areas. We’ll see. I would like to have an area of celebration – I teach at a very multicultural, multifaith school and last year I didn’t do much celebrating, even of holidays I love (like Christmas). Then I need areas for reference charts, places to display the expectations for assignments, and I’d like a place to display and celebrate student work too. It gets complicated because I am teaching the French half of French immersion to a split grade 4/5 and grade 6. It will be a busy year!

Anyway on to the carpet. I had a stack of carpet squares passed on to me last year. YOu can imagine that they were not so inviting by now. I have never tried deep cleaning carpet and renting a machine and all seems a bit overwhelming when I already feel overwhelmed. So I looked up how to wash carpet in the washing machine, and headed down to the laundromat.

Here is what I did:
1) vacuumed the back
2) vacuumed the front
3) sprayed spot remover on the stains

at the laundromat I rolled each mat up with the carpet side facing out and placed them in washers where the drum was a pretty close fit to the rolls. I fit 4 comfortably per machine (these are front loaders) and I stuffed 5 into the last load. Then I put in laundry detergent and vinegar in the fabric softener slot, where I had added a tiny bit of tea tree oil to the vinegar for extra anti-bacterial properties.

I put the wash temp onto warm, took a deep breath and pushed the button.

They all came out nicely (though I think a couple are a bit more frayed where they didn’t have good edging.) They are sitting out to dry outside right now – hopefully they will dry nicely.

I guess only time will tell if the adhesive on the back has been weakened. So far they look good though!