Monday, September 11, 2017

DIY Cheap and Effective Rug Cleaning

We've been a dog family since...forever.  That is why you won't find any wall-to-wall-carpeting anywhere in my home.  I do like area rugs to make my home feel warm and inviting.  Area rugs help absorb noise and add pops of color throughout my home.  All of the area rugs need to be cleaned periodically, especially since my sixteen-year-old dog, Sadie, has increased the frequency of her accidents. You might be wondering how to clean an area rug at home.  Today I want to show you how I clean my area rugs.  It is a cheap and effective rug cleaning method.

How to Clean Your Area Rugs

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Cheap and Effective Rug Cleaning
Cheap and Effective Rug Cleaning

Sadie had an oops moment today on one of my hall runners.  That made today a perfect day to show you how you can keep your rugs fresh and clean.  I decided to show you my process using the two polypropylene rugs I have in my front entry hall.  These rugs are workhorses and take a beating. That's why polypropylene is a good choice for the entry location.

Here's a picture of my sweet Sadie.  This is one of my wool rugs that I clean using this method.


I do have wool rugs in my family room and living room.  I've used this method to successfully clean both wool and polypropylene rugs.  You'll want to test your rugs for color fastness before you attempt to clean them, but a quality wool rug should be able to be cleaned this way, too.  Don't attempt to clean rugs with a canvas or cotton backing.  In my experience, the cotton backing shrinks and the rug will never lay flat again. I won't buy a rug with a backing for this reason.

I always clean my rugs outdoors.  That means you'll want to be sure you have a space that is large enough to accommodate the wet rugs for two to three days.  It will take that much time for the rugs to dry. You'll also want to be sure no rain is expected until the rugs are dry.  If you are cleaning a large rug it will be difficult to move them once they are wet. So, you'll want to recruit some help for moving the wet rugs.
How to Clean Your Area Rugs

It will take a couple of hours to get the rugs cleaned and a couple of days for them to dry.  The hardest part is moving the wet rugs around.  They do get heavy.  You'll definitely want help for a rug that is 8x10 feet large or more.

Rug Cleaning Tools

A bucket
A sturdy stiff bristled brush
A hose with a spray nozzle
Oxy Clean Powder

The Steps to Clean Your Rugs

Thoroughly vacuum your rugs and pre-treat any spots.  Check the front and the back of the rug for spots and stains.  This is especially important if you have a pet.

Rinse the rug with spray from your garden hose, soaking the rug completely.  As an aside, I use this Fireman's spray nozzle on my hose and it is the best!

Spray the Rug
Rinse with the Garden Hose

Scrub the rug with a mixture of water and Oxy Clean.  Follow the directions on the Oxy Clean box to make your cleaning solution.

Scrub with a sturdy brush and your bare feet. I like to start with the brush and finish with my feet. Make sure you have distributed the soapy water well and worked the soap into the fibers of the rug.

Rug Cleaning Tools
Rug Cleaning Tools

Rinse each rug well, spraying a strong stream of water from your hose.

Roll the rug and stand it on its end to drain.  This will remove a lot of the water from the rug.

Roll and Drain the Rugs
Roll and Drain the Rugs

Rinse each rug again using the hose.

Roll the rugs again and stand them on their ends to drain.  Leave the rug to drain for a couple of hours.

Open the rug and spread it over a railing or lay it flat to dry.  You'll want to lay the rug flat for most of the drying time so it doesn't get any annoying lumps in it.  I like to lay mine over my deck railing for a day and then lay them flat to finish drying.

Drying the Rugs
Drying the Cleaned Rugs

Check your rug periodically to monitor the drying process.  Sometimes I flip the rug over to help the back to dry.

Admire your work. After twenty four to forty eight hours your rug should be dry enough to bring back inside.

The Cleaned Rugs
The Cleaned Rugs in My Entry
Cleaning your rugs using this method takes some effort but you'll know they are clean and well rinsed.


  1. I have also cleaned my rugs outside with dawn and a scrub brush with a longer handle. I will repeat steps and keep spraying until the water runs clean if needed. I also use a shop vac before hanging. But i like your idea to roll and set upright to drain if you don't have a shop vac. Love that I'm not the only one cleaning my area rugs this way. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I like the shop vac idea. I’ll keep it in mind.


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