How to wash a Turkmen Asmalyk?

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Posted by Ed Tockman on November 25, 1998 at 11:29:01:

This might be a too basic a question for this type of site but here's my problem. I recently returned to the US after working in Turkmenistan for the past three years. During that time I collected several rugs and textile pieces, usually purchasing them at the Sunday Bazaar in the desert. I took a Asmalyk set and horjan to a carpet store specializing in Central Asian rugs to have them cleaned. Unfortunately I was disappointed with the results. They were cleaned outside in the back alley of the shop with a garden hose and light carpet soap. The colors ran a little bit on the asmalyk and the horjan is now extremely stiff.

Question: Is there a better way to clean these types of pieces? The owner scoffed at the idea of using modern chemical detergents saying they've been cleaned the traditional way for centuries. Also, is there a way to restore the sheen and softness to the horjan? Please advise.

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