When the days begin to heat up in Morocco it is time to roll the carpets up and store them away until the cold weather returns. However, they must first be cleaned. At the moment in the Fez Medina there is a wonderful display of carpets being hung out to dry in the sun. The View from Fez investigated this annual ritual
|Step one: soak your carpet|
Spring cleaning is a universal activity and in Morocco with its warmth and sunshine it is time to wash the carpets. Forget using a vacuum cleaner or even suggesting one. The suggestion that a vacuum cleaner might do the job is met with rolled eyes and ill-disguised derision. No, you will be told firmly, the carpets must be washed.
Washing a large Moroccan carpet is a major undertaking. Traditionally they are washed in a river, but for people in cities the only way of doing the job properly is with buckets of water and scrubbing brushes.
|Step two: add washing detergent|
|Step three: scrub and then rinse and scrub again|
|Step four: let the carpets drain for the night|
|Step five: drape the carpets in the sunshine for a couple of days|
Meanwhile... in the countryside...
In the rural areas carpets are still washed in rivers and left to drain and dry on bushes or (as in the photo below) on bridges. Many of the rural women prefer to use hair shampoo rather than laundry detergent and make a distinction between "romi" or "beldi" carpets. The "beldi" rugs are made by the Amazigh (Berber) and highly prized. They are scrubbed whereas the "romi" or modern rugs are treated more gently as they are not as robust and if machine made the colours will often fade with washing.