How To Clean an Area Rug

Sharing is caring!

With this DIY deep-cleaning method for the area and accent rugs, you can get rid of any odors, stains, and overall dinginess.

Area rugs are a big investment in decor for many of me. They brighten and color your spaces. They provide safe havens for video gameplay, movie viewing, and sleepover parties. Rugs, on the other hand, need to be maintained in order to survive for years. Regular cleaning is an important element of such upkeep.

Fortunately, while you should vacuum carpet twice a week, you should only deep-clean an area rug when it is filthy. If the rug isn’t obviously dirty (or smells awful), do this test: Simply take up a rug corner and flip it down into the floor. If a little cloud of dirt floats up, it’s time to clean.

Sure, you may have a rug cleaned off-site by specialists, but it won’t be inexpensive. However, if you’re prepared to put in a weekend of work, you can do a fantastic job cleaning a rug at home on your own.

As an extra bonus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing exactly what sorts of cleaners are being used on your carpets, which is becoming more essential to many people, particularly those with small children or chemical sensitivities.

This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

How To Clean an Area Rug

Test An Small Area

When it comes to cleaning, you have two options:

You can use a store-bought rug cleaner/shampoo and follow the mixing directions (Bissell makes a good one, available on Amazon).
Alternatively, you can dilute a pail of warm water with a couple of capfuls of mild liquid dish detergent. Hot water may shrink the fibers or fade the color.
Now, test your cleaner (store-bought or homemade) on an inconspicuous area of the rug, such as a tiny section near the corner, to ensure that it does not cause the colors to run. If it does not, go to the next step.

Work the cleaner into the rug and allow it to settle for a few minutes

Scrub the shampoo or detergent into the carpeting with a sponge or brush until suds appear. Allow the solution to stay and work on the rug for a few minutes before rinsing.

Hose off the rug

Rinse the rug well with a garden hose, making sure the water is free of soap suds before you finish.


This tool, which is commonly used in window cleaning, will work perfectly to extract excess water from the carpeting. Firmly press the squeegee’s rubber-edged blade into the rug and pull to extract as much liquid as possible, being sure to only work in the direction.


Allow the rug to dry flat. When the top side is dry, flip it over to allow the bottom to dry as well.


Vacuum or brush your area rug with a clean soft-bristled brush to release the fibers, which may have compressed during the washing/drying process. Then, place your rug back in the room and relax!

More Ways To Clean A Rug

Shake or beat: Take small and medium-sized carpets outside and shake them vigorously to remove loose dirt and dirt. If the rug is huge, enlist the assistance of a partner to hang it over a porch railing or a pair of sturdy chairs. To dislodge firmly entrenched dirt, use a broom or rug beater to smash the rug all over. Don’t forget to shake the rug pad as well.

Combine the cleaner: Make a cleaning solution according to the directions on your rug shampoo, or combine two to three tablespoons of mild dish soap in one of the 5-gallon buckets of warm water. Fill the second bucket halfway with clean water.

Scrub as needed: If the rug is colorfast, use a soft-bristle brush or sponge to apply the soap solution to the rug. Begin at one end of the rug and work your way to the other. In the cleaning solution, dip the sponge/brush. Use only as much water as necessary to moisten the fibers. Scrub the rug carefully with moderate pressure. Work in a 3-by-3-foot space. Rinse the sponge/brush often to avoid transferring dirt.

Rinse the rug thoroughly: It is critical that no soap residue remains on the rug. Soap attracts additional dirt. Remove any soap from the area you just cleaned with a clean sponge dipped in the rinse water.

Blot: Using a squeegee, remove as much extra water as possible while going in the direction of the rug.

Hang the rug to dry, or lay it flat, face-up, and prop the underside with risers to enable air circulation. Allow the rug to dry completely before bringing it inside, turning it on a regular basis to ensure equal drying. Turn on fans once inside to stimulate greater air circulation and assist the rug dry fully.

After the rug has completely dried, softly run over it with a vacuum or a soft-bristle brush to freshen the fibers.

Cleaners that use steam: If your rug is heavily stained, renting a commercial steam cleaner may be worthwhile. First, vacuum the rug, then follow the manufacturer’s directions on how to use the machine.

More On Cleaning Rugs

Sharing is caring!

Check out the planner!

You can also grab a copy of my cleaning planner, The Get It Clean Cleaning Planner here on the site. It’s packed full of extremely practical tips and tricks and checklists that can help you get your house clean, and keep it clean once and for all.

Also, be sure to smash those share buttons below!

Similar Posts