The Best Way to Clean Your Area Rug

Area rugs can add a beautiful element to any room in your home, but proper cleaning is vital to ensure that they maintain their beauty throughout the years. When your area rug needs cleaning, one option is to have a professional clean it off-site – but this can be costly. With some time, energy and the right tactics, however, cleaning an area rug yourself can save you the cost of sending it to a professional.

Like carpet, you’ll want to vacuum your area rug on both sides about once every 1-2 weeks to get rid of dust and dirt. If there are fringes on your area rug, be careful to not vacuum them. To avoid unnecessary cleaning, only follow the steps below when your area rug needs a deeper cleaning – about every 12-18 months, typically. Or, when obvious signs tell you that your rug needs a deep clean – if it’s visibly dirty or has an odor, for example. You can also pick up the corner of the rug and let it fall to the floor. If you see a cloud of dust, it’s time for a deep clean! After vacuuming both sides of the rug, follow the steps below to clean your area rug:


  • Water and hose
  • Mild dish detergent or rug shampoo
  • Bucket
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Squeegee

Note: You’ll need to clean and dry your rug outside, so make sure the weather is warm and dry.

1. Test for colorfastness. The last thing you want to do when trying to clean your area rug is to ruin it! So the first step is to check to make sure the solution you’re using to clean doesn’t make the colors run. Add a few capfuls of mild dish detergent to a bucket of warm – not hot – water, or follow the instructions on the bottle for mixing store-bought rug shampoo. Don’t use hot water, as it can fade color and shrink fibers. Test your solution on a small corner of the area rug to ensure it doesn’t make the colors run. If your rug is colorfast – meaning the colors don’t run – move on to the next step.

2. Lather. Using your soft-bristled brush, scrub the shampoo or detergent mixture in the rug and work up a lather. Allow the solution to sit on the rug for several minutes.

3. Rinse. Using a garden hose, rinse the rug of the lather and solution. Make sure all the soap suds are gone before moving to the next step.

4. Squeeze excess water. Squeeze as much water out of the rug as possible using a squeegee. Take caution to work only in the direction of the rug’s nap.

5. Let it dry. Lay the rug flat and dry to the top side of the rug. When the top side is dry, flip it over to let the bottom side dry. Make sure your rug is completely dry before moving it back inside.

6. Loosen up the fibers. If the fibers of your rug compacted during the cleaning process, you can use a vacuum or a soft-bristled brush to loosen them up.

7. Enjoy your newly cleaned rug!

Area rugs are oftentimes the focal point of the living space where you and your family make memories. Cleaning your area rug properly ensures that it can stay a part of your home to enjoy for many years to come!

SOURCE:, Better Homes and Gardens

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