Cleaning Area Rugs

Area rugs provide a nice complement to your home decor, but they can become very dirty if they are in high traffic areas or you have kids and pets. Not cleaning an area rug can take years off of its life. This is a guide about cleaning area rugs.

Downward photo of an area rug in a lobby
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October 30, 2015 Flag
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I have a rug that has been rolled up outside leaning up in my carport for a while. I want to give it a good cleaning to bring it inside. What's the best way to clean it before bringing inside?

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    October 30, 20150 found this helpful

    I would unroll it in the carport and give it a good vacuuming and then use a carpet steamer to deep clean it. Good luck!

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    November 2, 20150 found this helpful

    I have a friend whose husband picked up a large rug on the curb that someone threw out. He put it in the bed of his pickup, took it to a car wash, took it home and let it dry in his truck. He told me this after I asked my friend where she bought the new rug.

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    June 4, 2008 Flag

    Take your area rugs to the car wash to get them super clean! I have done this numerous times with a helper and a truck, and know others who do the same. It's amazing to see the dirt run out off the rug! Then roll them up and load them onto the back of a truck. At home lay the rugs out to dry on the grass or on a sturdy fence.

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    December 14, 2012 Flag
    3 found this helpful

    I use a squeegee to clean dog hair from the area rugs. It really works well. It works as good as a rubber broom, and it is much cheaper.

    I also use one of those window wipers for the car, that has a squeegee on it for the kitchen floor. It works better than a mop and it is easier to handle.

    My kitchen floor needs to be mopped so much, because of the muddy weather around here this time of year and it is a bright color. I love these two tools I use for cleaning.

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      March 3, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      I am looking for advice on rug cleaning.

      By Robert from Harwich

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      March 5, 20100 found this helpful

      Like everything else today, rugs need special care to ensure long life. Regular cleaning, using proper treatments will help extend the life of your rug.


      Regardless of whether your rug is a cut pile or loop rug, vacuuming is the basic and primary step for caring for your rug. Rugs are exposed to endless mistreatment, such as treading feet, dirt, dust, oil and spills of all sorts. By frequently vacuuming, you can prevent soils from building up. Vacuums with good suction are recommended to lift surface dirt. This especially applies to looped rugs where damaging the loops is possible. Cut pile rugs on the other hand, require rougher treatment. Besides removing surface dirt it is necessary to agitate the pile to loosen the dirt which may have sunk to the core. These rugs require a vacuum with a beater or brush bar to lift the residue embedded in the rug. While vacuuming remember to never allow the soil storage bag to become too full or dirt may escape the vacuum.


      Even though vacuuming removes a lot of soil, oily substances deposited on the rug also pose a problem. If left to pile up, these oils cause matting due to the pile sticking together. Gradually the rug starts to form ridges and the colors dim. If not removed when first noticed, it becomes hard to clean. It is, thus, advised to clean your rug when dullness first starts to appear. There are many ways to clean your rug but almost all require clean clothes or paper towels, warm water and a cleaning substance. To avoid altering the rug's texture DO NOT RUB as fuzziness may result.

      Removing Stains:

      Many rugs are treated to be stain resistant which delays the stain setting in, giving you a chance to act. The key is to treat the stain or spill quickly before it is absorbed by the rug and dries.

      Basic cleaning steps for typical everyday stains:

      1. Scoop up as much of the spill as possible

      2. Absorb as much of the liquid that's left with a dry cloth/paper towel by blotting.

      3. Apply warm water to the stain then blot again If the stain remains visible, mix warm water with a mild non-bleach laundry detergent. Using a clean cloth apply some of the mixture to the stain and let it soak for 5 minutes. Rinse the stain with warm water and blot it well to extract the residue. Repeat until there is no detergent on the rug.

      When satisfied and the rug is completely dry, vacuum the area.

      Specific Stains:

      Since different stains require different cleaning treatments, it is important to identify the source and nature of the stain. Below is a list of common stains and how they are best removed.

      Stain Cleaning Treatment

      Alcohol Warm water & detergent

      Asphalt Dry cleaning solvent then warm water & detergent

      Blood Warm water & detergent

      Butter Dry cleaning solvent then warm water & detergent

      Chewing gum Freeze using ice, shatter gum, vacuum, warm water & detergent

      Most Makeup Dry cleaning solvent then warm water & detergent

      Shoe Polish Dry cleaning solvent then warm water & detergent

      Urine Warm water & detergent then white vinegar & water (1:3)

      Vomit Warm water & detergent then dry cleaning solvent

      Wax Freeze using ice, shatter gum, vacuum, dry cleaning solvent then water & detergent

      Wine Talcum powder then warm water & detergent

      Please note that the above is provided for informational purposes only. We cannot be held responsible for any damage done. We highly recommend regular professional cleaning for your rugs. Good luck.

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      March 7, 20100 found this helpful

      If you truly want a clean carpet I only recommend Stanley Steamer, they are reasonable, guarantee their work and do great work! I speak from personnal experience.

      They have a spot cleaner that you can buy from any dealer or service person. The secret to keeping a carpet clean to me is keeping the spills treated at the time, not waiting for them to set in so keep a bottle of Stanley Steamer's spot remover on hand and be ready. No I don't work for them I just think they are the best.

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      May 8, 2007 Flag

      When washing area rugs and carpets in your home, eliminate the carpet detergent once in awhile and instead fill the tank with hot/warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Carpets tend to build up a lot of soap residue which should be removed occasionally as it actually attracts dust and dirt which sticks to it. Vinegar helps remove it and also works to reduce carpet odors.

      By Pattie from Bridgton

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      July 24, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How do you clean a 10x12 carpet? Thank you for all answers!

      By Rhoda

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      April 19, 20140 found this helpful

      I have had great success using a power washer on my large area rugs. I lay it out on the driveway where I proceed with the power wash. To speed up the drying process, roll the carpet from end to end. Then stand it up on it's end. This will drain the water out quicker and will make it easier to move in a shorter period of time.

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      Home and Garden Cleaning CarpetJuly 13, 2011
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