There is one thing about most Greeks that you might notice right away and that is how cleanliness of their homes and surroundings is important to them. You will often find people even scrubbing the asphalt of the road in front of their homes after sweeping and cleaning their front entrance ways. Homes are usually spotless and are often cleaned even when there is no obvious reason to do so.
While carpets are not cleaned regularly, they are given a thorough scrubbing at least once a year – and this is because of how carpets are typically used in Greece. You will not generally find “wall to wall” carpeting like you do in North America, rather you’ll find large area rugs, but not in the warm months of the year. Carpets are used more for floor insulation purposes although of course, choice of carpet colours and styles are dependent on the colours used in the rooms where they will be used.
I don’t know what the floor is made of here, but it’s solid. It’s not marble, but has a similar “feel” to it, and I’ve just never asked what it is. And in the winter time, it can get quite chilly. Many people don’t realize that even the southern areas of mainland Greece can get pretty chilly, especially at night time. Athens does not see snow often, but it’s not unheard of. Areas to the north of Athens can actually get some severe snow storms. This past winter, there were many nights when the temperatures hovered at or below the freezing mark, and most people in Greece try to refrain from turning on heating except for small space heaters that don’t take up as much energy as whole house heating would.
One way to keep the chill away is to lay down thick area carpets on the floors when the colder months begin – usually between late October and the end of November. Carpets are taken out of storage, unrolled, and usually take up a large area of the floor that requires furniture being half lifted in order to slide the edges of the carpet underneath them. They help a great deal to help keep rooms a bit warmer and cozier on the colder days that occur regularly.
Then in the spring, the carpets are taken up, and while some will hire carpet cleaners to come and take them away to be cleaned and stored, others who are lucky enough to have some space to both clean them and store them will do so on their own.
This year was a bit late – normally the carpet cleaning job is done long before the month of May ends, but it was a chilly spring in 2020 that continued even into May.
So today was the day, to finally get the job done!
The carpets are taken to the roof where one by one, they are laid out, soaked with water from a hose and faucet that is also located on the roof, and then sprinkled with carpet cleaning soap. Next comes the hard work: The scrubbing and scrubbing. Thankfully, this is not a “get down on your knees” kind of job, as the scrubbing brushes are attached to long handles – you can put your weight and your muscle into the job.
Today, the sun was shining hot and bright, and definitely some Vitamin D was produced as there was no point in wearing a shirt when there are people around who also like to have a bit of fun while they work – it was not long before I was fully soaked.
We scrubbed and scrubbed, and then we rinsed and scrubbed some more to get the carpet shampoo out of the carpets. We continued scrubbing until the water ran clear from the carpet, while also guiding the runoff to a drain that took the water away. After being satisfied that the carpets were very clean and very rinsed, they were then hung over the wall on the roof to dry in the sun.
It did not take long for even the shaggiest of carpets to dry – perhaps 5 or 6 hours. When they were dried, they were rolled up, put in protective plastic carpet bags (yes, this is a reusable plastic carpet bag for those environmentally concerned about plastic) and stored away where they will stay until around probably late November.
And now, we’ll bare floors regularly swept and mopped, whether they need to be or not 🙂