How to Clean Area Rugs Yourself


Vacuuming might not count as cleaning area rugs because it might not deep clean into more than just the surface.  It is why you need to learn how to clean the area rugs yourself.  The same applies if you don’t want to hire a professional that will cost money.

Definitely, it will benefit you to learn how to DIY the cleaning. It will save money in the end especially if you need to clean your area rugs more often.

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Some reasons for this include your family’s lifestyle, foot traffic and other factors that can contribute to the fast accumulation of dirt into your carpet.

Nevertheless, your area rugs will accumulate and trap dirt, stain and other debris. They need removal that vacuuming might not be able to handle.

Deep-rooted problems, including dust mites, will also call for area rug cleaning especially if you have loved ones with allergies or asthma. These might require full cleaning, but it does not need a professional to do so.

You just have to use the correct tools and cleaners as well as a good approach. Check out the following for the steps.

How to clean the area rugs

  1. Clean it outdoors
Panoramic view of carpets hanging to dry after being washed

Particularly in the summer, you might want to set up an outdoor cleaning station.

Choose a day when it will be sunny for a few days according to the forecast.

However, you also have to make the support system ready and sturdy.

Take note, area rugs are heavy, so you should choose something stronger than an ordinary clothesline.

Select something like a thick rope or bungee cords stretched if you have two trees.  If you don’t have trees, a sturdy wall or benches can also help.

  1. Vacuum thoroughly on both sides

You can begin cleaning your area rug by vacuuming it on both sides.

Start with the fibers before flipping the carpet over to clean the other side. It will remove any debris or dust.

When done vacuuming, you can start rolling it up to for outdoor cleaning.

If you could find more dusts, you can start whacking them off using an old book and then beat the rug with the handle of a broom.

  1. Test out and use a carpet shampoo

Before cleaning the area rug, you should test out shampoo before applying it to the entire rug.

First, you must just apply a bit of it to a small patch and then add in some water. Leave it for a few hours before rinsing it off.

Look for any damage including on the color or the fiber.

As a general tip, you should use shampoo made specifically to the type of carpet you have.

Don’t use one not design for rugs or create a DIY rug cleaner.  Any of these can do more harm than good to your precious carpet.

  1. Wash your rug before shampooing

Get your garden hose and rinse your rug. Wet the rug entirely in order to prepare it for shampooing.

You can use a small brush in order to clean the rug and apply the shampoo deep into the fiber.  This step needs more scrubbing and foam. Focus and remove any stains.

  1. Rinse it
Cleaning the carpet with a gun for washing high pressure water.

Let the shampoo penetrate deep into the area rug according to the manufacturer instructions.

Once time required is done, you can hose down your carpet, and make sure to rinse it well.

  1. Dry it

This step is not easy because it needs much patience. To do it, you must start wringing the rug to remove the excess water.

Alternatively, you might also want to use a squeegee for this step.

After wringing it, it will still be too wet, and that you need to wait for a couple of days before it gets very dry.

You might also want to move the area rug to the garage or laundry room.

  1. Vacuum it again

When dry, you can move it back home and set it up in where it belongs. Give it another vacuuming to restore its shape, which might be flattened after the cleaning.

How to clean carpets by material

Area rugs need deep cleaning twice a year or maybe even more if they become dirty more often.

But in addition to the frequency of cleaning, you also need to know that area rugs need cleaning based on their materials.


It is a popular rug material because it is lightweight. However, it also attracts more dirt because of its fibers.

  1. Most of the time, cotton rugs do not require complicated cleaning. Many of them just have to be shaken out for machine cleaning.
  2. Use the delicate cycle, cold water and laundry detergent.
  3. You can just hang smaller cotton rugs in an ordinary clothesline. Do not overload the washing machine.

You might have to being larger cotton rugs to a laundry shop if needed.

Synthetic fibers

A few examples of these materials include nylon, olefin, rayon and polypropylene.   For guidance, check the care instructions to find out what synthetic materials your area rug is made from.

  1. Start to vacuum before shaking it out for remaining dust outdoors.
  2. Spray your carpet until it’s wet.
  3. Directly to the surface of the carpet, apply some dishwashing liquid.
  4. Work the soap into the carpet using a brush. Make sure that you follow the material’s nap. Avoid scrubbing vigorously.
  5. Hose it down to rinse and clear soap out of it.
  6. Hang the carpet to dry completely. To dry evenly, you might also want to rotate the carpet often.


This material is durable; many people opt for it when buying their area rugs.

However, they also tend to hold more dirt because of their makeup and woven design.  To clean them, you need to –

  1. Vacuum to get rid of excess oil.
  2. Mix laundry detergent and add it to a bucket of water.
  3. Lightly dab the surface of microfiber damped into the soap water. However, you should go easy on the water.
  4. Do not saturate the wool rug. Rinse out the bucket and then put cold water.
  5. Moisten cloth to blot over the rug. Use several dry towels. Allow the rug to dry completely before walking over it.   Hang the carpet over an ordinary clothesline.


This material can add a classic appeal to a space and is lightweight.  However, its main problem is moisture. For this reason, you might have to buy a dry cleaning kit to buy in an online store.

  1. Shake any loose debris from the area rug before sprinkling it with a dry cleaning powder.
  2. Clean the rug’s fiber gently using the stiff bristled brush or that from the kit you bought. Avoid tearing the material. Do not scrub it too hard.
  3. If there is remaining cleaning powder, you can simply vacuum it up.


Make sure that you check the cleaning instructions of the manufacturer to ensure that you’re cleaning the area rug correctly.  You should also do so in order to prevent damaging the material.

Before applying any product onto the rug, make sure that you do a spot test in a small part of the rug.  You should do it to avoid any discoloration on the carpet.

Before applying the cleaner to any part of the carpet, you should let the spot tested portion dry.

Do not over clean the rug to prevent their colors from becoming dull.  Cleaning too often can also wear out the rug’s fibers. For this reason, you have to see to it that you don’t overdo it.

Regular vacuuming can extend your carpets and rugs life.  However, make sure that you also do it properly.

How often should you clean the area rugs?

At the very least, you should clean them every 12 to 18 months, but more often if they become dirty often.

Different factors may also indicate how less or how often you have to clean your carpet.  Some factors include your lifestyle, the type of rugs you have and the elements to which they are exposed.

Also, you may need to clean more often if the area is high traffic, such as in living rooms, hallways or entryways.

You may also have to clean them more often if they’re installed in high traffic traversed rooms.    In addition, you need to pay attention to the smell and appearance of your rug so that you would know when you have to clean them.

In addition, you may have to clean them often if you have young kids or pets that can track in mud, dirt and pollen, among other outside materials.

Final thoughts

Area rugs are not cheap. For this reason, you should take care of them properly.  Follow the care instructions for proper cleaning. You must stick to those recommendations to prevent the damage of your carpet.

And in terms of how to clean and how often to do it, it will vary based on the material of which your area rugs are made, the level of their dirt exposure and the kind of family lifestyle you have (Are you a shoes-on home? Do you have pets?).

Learn how to clean your carpet in the DIY way and save money on professional services. Follow these tips and keep your rugs looking like new all the time.


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