How to Clean a Large Area Rug

Area rugs bring color, warmth, and softness into a room while protecting hardwood floors from scratches. Unfortunately, over time they will need professional cleaning.

At home or professional cleaners, it’s easy to keep an area rug looking its best by understanding which products, tools, and methods work for each rug type.


Vacuuming is an integral component of area rug cleaning, helping remove dust, pet hair, crumbs and solid particles that could damage carpet fibers and degrade its overall appearance. Furthermore, it prepares the rug for more intensive procedures to follow.

Step one in rug cleaning should always include moving any furniture that may hinder your work and vacuuming to remove loose dirt and debris from the rug’s surface. This ensures any problematic areas can be thoroughly addressed prior to engaging other methods for rug cleaning.

Before vacuuming again, consider moving your rug to another area such as underneath a dining table or the room where it’s being used. This may help catch any pet hair not captured by your vacuum cleaner and make it simpler to remove any remaining pieces with a brush or broom handle.

Based on your rug’s material, shaking or beating it firmly may help remove large deposits of dirt and grit that might otherwise be difficult to extract with a vacuum cleaner. Doing this will not only refresh its appearance but will also make walking on it more comfortable – be sure to follow its care instructions as some are prohibited due to local ordinances.

If your rug is made of wool, regular vacuuming is recommended to remove dust and dirt that accumulates over time and maintain vibrant and rich colors in darker rugs. Furthermore, turn the rug regularly so as to even out wear patterns; professional rug cleaning services should be hired at least twice annually for optimal care.

Cotton area rugs add warmth and style to any space, but can become stained from odors and moisture from spills. To keep them in top condition, it is important to regularly vacuum your cotton rug(s), clean with mild detergent or carpet cleaner, blot any stains instead of rubbing, and avoid setting them. Occasionally larger-size cotton rugs require being brought into a laundromat for cleaning.

Spot Cleaning

Rugs can become magnets for dirt, dust and pet hair if left neglected for too long, which makes regular cleaning essential to keeping rugs looking their best in busy households. There are simple steps you can take to preserve their appearance if this is your goal.

First, read your area rug’s care instruction tag to determine whether it can be machine washed. If it can, choose a carpet cleaner designed specifically for its material composition if machine washing is an option. If not sure which way to go about cleaning it best, contact the rug manufacturer for additional advice on cleaning methods that suit their product best.

Once vacuuming, take steps to extract any solid particles trapped within. Also consider moving any furniture that might obstruct your way, as this will allow for an in-depth cleaning session. After vacuuming has completed, spot clean any spills or stains that have taken place immediately following.

Use a damp sponge or rag soaked with cold water to clean area rugs of any stains, as this will allow any excess liquids to run off of it and dab at it for maximum efficiency. For older stains, allow them to sit before dabbing them off; once dabbed off, rinse your rug using a damp towel to ensure no residue remains.

If there’s a water-soluble stain on your area rug, soak it with warm or hot water and use a cleaning product designed specifically for fabric care to soak it out. Follow all instructions provided with your chosen spotting agent as well as test any new products on an inconspicuous area of fabric to make sure it won’t discolor over time.

Some stains on area rugs require more advanced techniques for removal. You could try using a mixture of one tablespoon of water and white vinegar; just be wary not to oversaturate the material with liquid as this could damage its integrity permanently.

If your rug is made from natural fibers, unscented talcum powder can help keep the wool from absorbing any unpleasant odors. A dry brush can also be used to gently agitate it and release any debris trapped within its fibers.


Area rugs add style and warmth to any room, yet can quickly become stained from high traffic areas. Vacuuming should suffice, though periodic deep cleaning should still take place once or twice annually – to find out the recommended method, please refer to your rug’s care instructions – some require dry cleaning while others can be washed either by machine or by hand.

Alternatively, if your rug has become overloaded with dirt or dust particles, try taking it outside and beating it with a rug beater or broom to loosen them and allow you to visually inspect its fibers to determine if additional cleaning efforts may be required.

Once your material has been identified, select an appropriate shampoo or solution to clean it. Wool rugs require different care from cotton or synthetic rugs; thus if unsure which to use it’s important that the appropriate one be selected as this could damage it irreparably. A mild dish soap solution mixed with warm water usually does the trick for most rugs – always test first on a small section!

Once you’ve selected your rug shampoo, apply it directly onto its surface and rub into a lather by massaging into its fibers. For optimal results, take your rug to an outdoor wash station and use their hose or buckets to thoroughly saturate it; alternatively you could also use your sink or bathroom but be prepared for multiple rinses to make sure all soap residue has been lifted from its fibers.

Care should be taken not to over-clean your rug as this could damage its colors and fibers, so take note not to overdo it! Once completed, use a large fan to speed air dry it before returning it to its place in your home and enjoying! Keeping area rugs clean not only keeps them looking their best but will also prevent dust mites or allergens from becoming trapped within their fibers, potentially leading to health concerns in later years.


Area rugs can add an elegant and decorative element to a room, helping define spaces and providing warmth underfoot. Unfortunately, they’re also great at gathering dirt and debris over time in high traffic areas; therefore it is recommended that they are regularly maintained in this respect if children or pets reside there. Luckily, most modern area rugs are designed for effortless upkeep at home.

Start by vacuuming the rug to loosen and collect loose dirt, dust mites, pet hair and other debris trapped within its fibers. Flipping over and cleaning both sides may help avoid allergens such as dust mites clinging to its dense fibers and creating breathing difficulties for household members with allergies.

Begin by rolling up your rug and transporting it outside to an ideal surface where you can set up your washing station – such as a deck, patio, or other outdoor surface. Wherever possible, it is wise to avoid setting up over grass as some cleaners used during this process may seep into it and cause irreparable damage.

Prepare a bucket of cleaner using either common wool-cleaning detergent, or an equal mixture of natural detergent and pure white vinegar. Dip a sponge in this solution, working it over small sections until all surfaces have been covered. Rinse using clean sponge and more water until all moisture has been extracted from the rug’s surface before using a dry towel to blot up as much excess moisture from its surface as possible.

Once your rug is completely dry, it’s ready for its place in your living space. Before doing so though, give it a good shake and brush so as to fluff its fibers; it may have become stiff after its wash session and may require combing and combing back out to look its best again.

If your rug features fringe, take care to comb it regularly so as to reduce the risk of tangling or damage. When washing machine-safe rugs on their gentle cycle with either hot or cold water, always consult their care label first for specific instructions on washing methods and conditions.