ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners


November 2016

Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!

We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.  

This month's topic is:  


Heriz Oriental Rug Design,


Know Your Plastics,

Reduce Plastic Waste,

Plastic Recycling Codes.

Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom for a
special offer!

If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our upcoming newsletters, please call us at  607-272-1566 or contact us by clicking here.


The traditional Heriz oriental rug design consists of an an easily recognizable pattern, making it a perfect choice (after the first in our series, Hamadan Oriental Rugs) for the study of Oriental Rugs by Design.

However, the same caveats must be repeated:        

  • The way to accurately identify a handwoven oriental rug is not just from the design, but from the way it is woven and the materials used.

  • Many countries produce rugs with designs that may copy another country's rug.
  • Because of the individual nature of hand-woven rugs, we can study the most common examples (and there will be variations!) but we must be aware there are many exceptions to every example and the terms 'always' and 'never' cannot be used when it comes to the study of oriental rugs and their designs.

The Origin of the Heriz Oriental Rug Design Pattern

The most common pattern for the Heriz oriental rug design (aka Herez, Heris, Haris) originated in the town of Azerbaijan in northwest Iran. Rugs woven in the town of Heriz, as well as any of the some 30 villages nearby, may be called Bakshaish, Mehraban, Serapi, and Gorevan as well as Heriz.

These names don't always refer to the geographic locations of the weavers, but may rather be used as designations of quality for the purpose of the rug trade in the Heriz district. For example, Mehraban and Serapi are sometimes used for the finer and more densely knotted rugs, while Gorevan can refer to a lower quality. Bakshaish rugs have very distinctive, rustic, and more coarsely woven patterns, very often considered to be folk art in design. 

Note: The name Serapi is most often used for older Heriz rugs and is not actually a village in the Heriz district of Iran. It refers to the market area of Serab, where many Persian rugs were taken to be traded. The Serapi usually has more muted colors, larger designs and more open fields.

The Iron Rug Of Iran

The Heriz rug is often called the 'Iron Rug of Iran,' for the high quality, toughness, and resiliency of the wool used for these rugs. It is thought the trace copper in the drinking water of the sheep may be responsible. The Heriz area can be found on or around the slopes of Mount Sabalan which sits on one of the largest deposits of copper in the world.

The Traditional Heriz Oriental Rug Design

The traditional Heriz oriental rug design is a geometric lobed medallion with pendants. It appears to be a mixture of Persian and Caucasian designs. The Heriz region is not far from the Caucasus and much of the classical Caucasian tradition has been preserved in these rugs.

The most representative of the Heriz pattern will have the large central lobed medallion with pendants placed on top of a rust or brick red field with white corner spandrels and a blue border containing the Herati pattern.  The field can also be filled with stylized leaf motifs and repeated palmettes. The inner and outer narrow guards (guarding the larger border) usually contain a repeating floral design.

The colors are bold with rich reds, blues, greens, and yellows. Older Heriz rugs can have a repetitive all-over palmette pattern rather than the central medallion. Herizes from after WWII usually have a red field.

To learn more about Heriz oriental rug design with photos and more information about the design, knot density, and how the Heriz rug can be used in interior design, please continue reading here.


Why know your plastics? Because plastics have become such an integral part of our everyday lives. They are not only convenient, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive, but their use in some areas of our lives, such as in the medical field, is essential.

The number of plastic items we use every day in our homes and businesses is really astounding...water bottles, grocery bags, children's toys, shower curtains, food containers, wiring, packaging, etc. And the list goes on and on.

But all we have to do is take a hard look at the slew of empty bottles and bags that litter our beaches, roads, and inner cities to know that something is very wrong.

We, as a people, have not been as vigilant as we should with regard to the plastics industry and the use of its products. Before it is too late, we must understand the tremendous negative impact the use and abuse of plastics has had and continues to have on our health and on our environment.

The chemicals in plastics can insidiously find their way into our bodies as well as into our environment. The continued accumulation over time can have potentially disastrous biological consequences. The plastics industry is not going away and plastics can and do pose a risk to our health and our environment. We must know our plastics and learn how to live as safely as possible with them.



The toxic chemicals that can leach from plastic items and be absorbed into our bodies from food and drink containers as well as into the air during the manufacture and disposal of plastics pose the most serious risk to our health.

It appears children during developmental stages, elderly persons, and those with chronic conditions are most at risk from these chemicals. Unfortunately, the implications of this risk for us all may not be known for generations.

Below is a list of some of the most common chemicals found in plastics and the risks involved:

  1. Antimony -toxic metal used during manufacture.
  2. BPA - Bisphenol A - endocrine disruptor, imitates estrogen and can have adverse effects on thyroid functioning and can also modify insulin sensitivity and insulin release - also implications for in-utero damage.
  3. BPS - Bisphenal S - used in place of BPA but is also an endocrine disruptor - can be released during paper recycling and handling of paper, especially thermal paper, as well as the cash we use every day.
  4. Bromine - central nervous system depressant which can trigger psychotic symptoms.
  5. Dioxin - produced during manufacture of PVC plastic and a powerful carcinogen.
  6. Estrogenic chemicals - substances that mimic estrogen.
  7. Melamine - known carcinogen.
  8. Mercury - depending upon degree of exposure can cause multiple health problems, especially to the nervous system.
  9. Phthalates - hormone disrupting chemicals such as DEHP - linked to male reproductive problems and birth defects, loss of bone mass and liver problems.
  10. Polycarbonates -products made from polycarbonate can contain Bisphenol A (BPA) - aka Lexan, Makrolon, Hammerglass and others.
  11. Styrene - produced in production of Polystyrene (Styrofoam) - neurotoxin which can damage the nervous system and is linked to cancer.  



Plastic Waste and Ocean Gyres (Garbage Patches)

Approximately 50% of plastic waste ends up in landfills where it will sit for hundreds of years because there is limited oxygen and a lack of microorganisms to break it down. The remaining percentage of plastic goes into the environment and is ultimately washed out to sea.

The plastic that eventually reaches our oceans does not disintegrate into organic substances such as natural substances do. The particles just keep getting smaller and smaller. Eventually they become as small as the algae and plankton that are the basis for the marine food system. Shrimp, birds, and fish consume these particles and it can kill them. Then the chemicals in these plastic pieces can be absorbed by their predators which can ultimately be passed on to humans.

Additionally, plastic particles act like sponges for waterborne organic pollutants such as PCBs, pesticides, and herbicides, etc.

Ocean gyres are large circular current areas formed by global wind patterns and ocean currents. Debris, made up mostly of small particles of plastic, is drawn into these areas by the circular motion of the gyre. When the debris eventually makes its way to the center of the gyre, it becomes trapped and breaks down into a plastic soup. These are called 'garbage patches' and have become a major concern for oceanographers and ecologists.

To find out more about Ocean Gyres, the impact of plastics on our air and natural resources, and what we can do to help, please continue reading here for more information and photos.


It is our responsibility as a people and as a nation to reduce plastic waste. The toxins released from the manufacture, use, and disposal of plastics have been shown to be harmful to humans, animals, and the environment.

Some plastic is not easily recyclable and some not at all. It can break into ever tinier pieces which enter the air, absorb pollutants, and is eventually washed out to sea where it can become trapped in currents in our oceans forming huge ocean 'landfills' or gyres.

The use of plastics in our world continues to escalate and so is the tremendous waste involved. Some plastics play an essential part in our lives but the knowledge of the devastating negative effects of the use and disposal of so much plastic must be emphasized.

Plastics are too pervasive and even essential in our world to even consider going back to 'pre-plastic times.' We do not have to stop using plastic but we can take steps to reduce plastic waste by reducing our usage wherever possible, reusing what we have, and recycling or trashing our plastics safely.


Our responsibility to our children and grandchildren is to preserve the earth for them. Learn about which plastics are safer than others by referring to the Plastic Identification Codes from the Society of The Plastics Industry (SPI). (This information can be found in the article below).

These codes are numbers enclosed by the recycling symbol and are usually found on the bottom of a plastic product. Knowing what these codes stand for can tell us several things:

  • The toxic chemicals that might be used in the plastic.
  • How likely the plastic is to leach out.
  • How bio-degradable the plastic is.
  • How safe the plastic is.

If a code is not present on a plastic container, the manufacturer should be contacted for information.


Below are some suggested steps we can all take to help reduce plastic waste and its negative effects on our health and our environment:

At the Grocery Store:

  1. Read labels and know the plastic codes (see article below).
  2. Use reusable shopping bags or reusable cotton sacks for bulk items and other groceries.
  3. Choose products not made from or packaged in plastic wherever possible. The baskets berries come in are generally not a problem, nor are the bags frozen produce comes in because they are not subject to heat.
  4. Get fresh meat and cheese wrapped in waxed butcher paper, instead of plastic and foam. You can purchase this paper for home storage as well from online sites such as Amazon.
  5. Buy fresh milk in bottles, not plastic-coated cartons or jugs, if possible. Empty bottles can often be refilled.
  6. Buy eggs in cardboard instead of polystyrene.
  7. Buy foods in bulk when possible, preferably fresh, whole foods at Farmers Markets or Co-ops or join CSAs.
  8. Avoid buying canned foods and beverages, including canned baby formulas. (Note: Some canned food products are now being offered in BPA-free cans.)
At Home:

For more information about how we can begin to reduce plastic waste, please continue reading here.


The following list of Plastic Recycling Codes or Resin Identification Codes was voluntarily presented by the Society of The Plastics Industry (SPI) in 1988.

These codes are numbers enclosed by the recycling symbol and are usually found on the bottom of a plastic product. Knowing what these codes stand for can tell us several things:

  • The toxic chemicals that might be used in the plastic.
  • How likely the plastic is to leach out.
  • How bio-degradable the plastic is.
  • How safe the plastic is.

If a code is not present on a plastic container, the manufacturer should be contacted for information.

Polyethylene Terephthalate

  • Recycle: Picked up by most curbside recycling programs. Is inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to recycle. Unfortunately, only approximately 20% are being recycled.
  • Properties:
  • Usually thin, clear, and tough. 
  • Has good gas and moisture barrier properties, and is resistant to heat.
  • Found in: One of the most commonly used plastics in consumer products. Most common for single-use bottled beverages. Used in soda, water, juice, and beer bottles, ketchup, salad dressings and vegetable oil containers, cosmetics packaging, household cleaner bottles, plastic peanut butter and jelly and jam containers, and mouthwash bottles.
  • Toxicity:
  • Can leach the toxic metal antimony (used during its manufacture), especially the longer an item sits on a shelf or in a fridge.
  • Brominated compounds can also leach in PET bottles. Bromine is a central nervous system depressant and can trigger symptoms such as acute paranoia and other psychotic symptoms.
  • Only intended for one time use. Difficult to decontaminate and proper cleaning requires harmful chemicals.
  • Does not contain BPA or Phthalates but do not reheat. (Even though the name contains the word 'phthalate,' the chemical structure is different). 
  • When used for carpet fibers, it is known as Polyester.
  • Is inert and does not react with food or beverages. Does not biologically or chemically degrade with use.
  • Recycled Products: This plastic can be recycled once into such secondary products as fabric, luggage, plastic lumber, tote bags, furniture, pillow stuffing, life jackets, paneling, and polar fleece. Cleaned and recycled PET flakes and pellets are used for spinning fiber for carpet yarns (polyester).

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

  • Recycle:Picked up by most curbside recycling programs, though some only accept those containers with a neck.
  • Properties:A polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. Usually thick and opaque, it is lightweight and strong and has good barrier properties and stiffness making it well suited to packaging products with a short shelf life such as milk. Also has good chemical resistance so suitable for detergents and bleach. Very hard-wearing, does not break down under exposure to sunlight or extremes of heating or freezing.
  • Found in: Milk, water, and juice bottles, and bottles for cleaning supplies and shampoo, grocery bags, some trash bags, cereal box liners, motor oil bottles, yogurt and butter tubs, bleach and detergent bottles, folding chairs and tables.
  • Toxicity:Considered a low-hazard plastic with a low risk of leaching.Some may release estrogenic chemicals (substances that mimic estrogen).
  • Recycled Products: Can be reused. Can be recycled once into pens, recycling containers, laundry detergent bottles, oil bottles, and any other products which require durability and weather-resistance such as fencing, picnic tables, doghouses, drainage pipe, lumber, etc., as well as the same items that can be recycled from #1.       

For a listing all of the codes and a summary, please continue reading here.

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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co. 

Since 1971 



Do you have a rug you no longer want?

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at a reasonable price?

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We have expanded our FREE pick up and delivery service to include the following areas:


Call our office at 607-272-1566 to schedule a free pick up and delivery of your area rugs today.

Please note:
Certain restrictions may apply.

Please click here to read our policy on pick up and delivery of area rugs.




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Includes Tompkins and Cortland Counties & Surrounding Areas in Our Service Area.

20% OFF Upholstery Cleaning

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For Areas Listed Above and Additional Areas Listed here.

Clean one Rug, Get Second Rug of Equal or Lesser Value cleaned at 

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MINIMUM in plant cleaning of $150.

MINIMUM cleaning of $300 for rugs picked up and delivered outside of Tompkins County.

Rug of equal or lesser value will be considered 'second rug of equal or lesser value cleaned at 50% off.'

Additional discounts do not apply

For Pickup and Delivery, please call 607-272-1566  to schedule an appointment.


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