How to Clean an Area Rug

How to Clean an Area Rug

Since we moved into our new home, I have been obsessed with making it our forever home. From pruning my roses to scrubbing my kitchen floor, a lot goes into maintaining a home.  Recently I have learned the differences between cleaning my carpet and cleaning my rugs. Our family room, stairs, and second floor is carpeted (which we will likely change in the future) and we also have some beautiful area rugs that need to be kept clean. The rugs you see here in this post are from Rug Studio. I absolutely love them and want to keep them in good condition. So, after some research and a little experience, I thought I’d share some tips on how to clean an area rug.


As with carpet, it’s important to keep your rugs free from loose debris. For small rugs, take them outside and give them a vigorous shake. For large rugs and before dealing with spots or stains, thoroughly vacuum your rug on both sides. I put my vacuum on the floor setting (low height) so that the roller brushes are close to the rug when I vacuum them.

Spot Cleaning:

Always read the tags and consult care instructions before cleaning. For any cleaning products, test a small area first to make sure it doesn’t damage your rug. I find it best to thoroughly vacuum and then spot clean. To spot clean, I have found that a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and a quart of water works well as a cleaner. Use a toothbrush to gently and lightly apply and then blot it dry with a clean cloth or towel. Use the pressure of your hand when blotting but don’t scrub it dry. An alternative to soapy water is to spray the stain with a solution of 50/50 water and vinegar. Again, blot to dry.

Deep Cleaning:

When the time comes to deep clean (likely once a year), I will use my steam cleaning machine with of course testing the solution first. As long as the rug does not get too wet, any rentable steam cleaner should work well. An area rug should not stay wet for too long due to mold and bacteria.

How to Clean an Area Rug - DIY Inspired

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! I have a huge area rug and it’s so dirty right now but I don’t want to bring it to the rug cleaner/ This is great advice. Thank you for sharing, you’re gonna save me a lot of time and money.

  2. I lay a large plastic in my driveway. Then fire up my power washer. It does a great deep clean. But I wash the reverse side first. Then flip it over. Then wash the topsiDr. Then hang it on the deck to dry.

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