Cleaning prayer rugs a multi-phase mission in Makkah

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Saudi Gazette

MAKKAH — A fully dedicated laundry at the Grand Mosque in Makkah cleans 560 prayer rugs daily during Ramadan and Haj seasons, according to Mohammed Al-Otaibi, supervisor of the facility.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Al-Otaibi said the cleaning work at the laundry manned by 50 workers goes through five different phases to achieve good results.

“The total number of carpets used during prayers inside the Grand Mosque now reached 40,000 and last Ramadan the number was 35,000 carpets,” he pointed out.

Al-Otaibi said the department had an adequate number of reserve carpets. “We have a stock of 65,000 spare carpets in the warehouses and we can use them whenever required,” he added.

In the first phase of cleaning, the workers will remove dust from carpets as they will put each carpet inside a machine to suck dust. Each device can clean two carpets at a time and it will take only one and a half minutes.

In the second phase, shampoo and perfumes will be sprayed automatically on the carpets before cleaning them using pure water.

“We use environment friendly detergents for cleaning the carpets,” Al-Otaibi pointed out.

Speaking about the third phase, he said the washed carpets would be put into pipes to dry them up. These pipes can accommodate three carpets at a time and the water will be removed within two and a half minutes.

During the fourth phase, carpets will be put under the sun for 24 hours in summer and 48 hours in winter to remove the dampness completely.

“The last phase will witness cleaning of the carpets using powerful vacuum cleaners,” Al-Otaibi said.

The department will repair some carpets while it will destroy the damaged ones, he said, adding that it employs highly skilled tailors for repair works.

“We destroy some carpets when they reach their assumed age,” he said.

There are two types of carpets; the first having a length of four meters and width of 1.2 meters, and the second with three meters in length and 1.2 meters width.

The laundry has two production lines each with a daily capacity of 200 carpets. During Haj and Ramadan seasons, the capacity will be increased to 280 carpets per line to take the total capacity to 560 carpets daily.

By the middle of Dhul Qaada, all carpets will be removed from the Haram Mosque except that of the imam. The situation will remain the same until the beginning of Muharram when the whole Haram will be re-carpeted.


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