How to Clean an Area Rug

How you clean your rug will depend on how it is made, the material that is used and its overall size. A large area rug can be treated in a similar fashion as carpeting. Cleaning your rug is important to extending its life as dust, dirt and debris will wear on the fibers that make up your rug. You’ll need to have the appropriate cleaning equipment, but a little regular maintenance will help keep your area rug clean and neat.


Just like carpeting, a larger rug responds to vacuuming as well. Be sure to vacuum your rug on a regular basis to keep the dust, dirt and debris from settling deep into the rug. If you have a rug that is reversible, flip it over after you have finished vacuuming the top and vacuum the other side. You’ll want to avoid vacuuming the fringe of your rug because that can damage the fibers that are present.

Brush it Out

Once you are done vacuuming, you will want to go over the rug with a stiff brush to remove any pet hair that is present. Remember to brush towards the nap of the rug so that you do not damage it in any way.

Turn the Rug

If your rug can be turned, do so once or twice a year to prevent the foot traffic from wearing into your rug. Also, turning it can offer more protection from sunlight as well which can fade a rug over time. By turning them, you can even the wear and help your rug last longer.

Shake It Out

Although area rugs are large, if you can remove it from the room and take it outside you can shake or beat the rug so that all the dust, dirt and debris fall out of it. This is arguably the most effective way to really clean out a rug, but you will have to consult with your local ordinances which may have prohibitions against shaking or beating your rug outdoors.

Washing your Rug

Finally, every so often it will be time to wash your rug much like you have the carpet steam cleaned. Unlike the carpet you can take the rug outdoors and wash it with a mild carpet cleaner or mild detergent. You will want to test the rug to see if it has colorfast by putting a very small amount of detergent in one corner to see if the colors run. If they do not, then you can take the rug outdoors.

Wash the rug and use a sponge or brush to work in the lather so it gets deep into the rug itself. Rinse the rug thoroughly and then use a squeegee to squeeze out as much water as you can while directing it towards the nap of the rug. Let it fully dry and then vacuum it out so that the fibers return to their original shape.

Once you are done, be sure that the floor where the rug sat is cleaned and then simply put it back where it belongs. A little maintenance and care will have your rug lasting a very long time.

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