How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floors

Area rugs bring color and warmth to hardwood floors, soften a room’s acoustics and provide a comfy landing place for bare feet – but over time can collect dirt, dust and pet hair that could become dangerously matted into its fibers. If placed in high-traffic areas they could quickly become unruly!

Regular cleaning keeps rugs looking and smelling their best, without damaging the wood underneath them. Follow these tips for cleaning area rugs on hardwood floors without harming their delicate foundation.


Most area rugs should be vacuumed at least weekly to keep dirt and dust from building up in their fibres and seeping into or onto the carpet backing or hardwood floors beneath. If your rug features a woven backing, flip it over and vacuum both sides regularly as this will prevent wear-and-tear wear on its material over time and prolong its longevity.

A quality vacuum with a hose attachment can quickly remove most surface dirt from area rugs and hardwoods without scratching their finish. Look for one with variable power settings and attachments designed specifically to clean both hard floors and rugs without having to change filters or bags frequently.

Stains should be addressed immediately. A spilled drink, an accidental pet accident or any other mishap should all be promptly cleaned up immediately as any liquid can penetrate deep into the fibers and be difficult to extract later. When dealing with spills and stains on area rugs, try using a dry cloth blotting until all excess water has been extracted by dabbing with the cloth until blotting has removed excess moisture from the rug’s fibers.

Larger stains may require deep cleaning with a shampoo or carpet steamer, protecting hardwoods by covering them with plastic sheeting or thick padding to protect from moisture seeping beneath the area rug. Once cleaned, lay it out to dry completely before replacing on hardwoods floor; to speed up drying time use squeegee or wet-dry vacuum to wring out fabric to speed up process.

Spot Test

Area rugs add comfort and warmth to a room, but they can also trap dirt and dust underneath their fibers. Vacuuming regularly will help avoid build-up; in high traffic areas consider vacuuming multiple times each week.

No matter if your rug is wool or synthetic, before applying any cleaning products to it in its entirety it is a best practice to test a small part. This will ensure that no colors run or leave marks on your hardwood floor surface.

For instance, if you have a scented fabric cleaner handy, test its efficacy on one small area of the rug first before applying it across its entirety. This allows you to see how well it works without risking further exposure of hardwood floors to chemicals.

If there’s a stain on your area rug, it is wise to treat it quickly as the longer a stain sits the harder it is to remove it. If possible, take your rug outside and shake it as much as possible to rid it of dirt and debris.

If your rug can’t go outside for cleaning, simply lay it on the floor and use a clean broom or rug beater to remove as much dirt as possible before rolling up and covering with plastic sheets until dry – after which, safely move it back where it belongs!


Area rugs provide warmth underfoot and help define space in any room, but they can also harbor dirt, dust, pet hair and unpleasant odors that need regular cleaning and proper maintenance to remain looking their best. Regular vacuuming helps to ensure their fresh appearance – but when placed on hardwood floors it is especially important to protect the wood against damage or accidental staining by the rug itself.

Clean the area rug first by vacuuming to remove dust and grit from its surface, before flipping it over and vacuuming its underside, as well as your hardwood floor beneath it. Regular vacuuming will protect both hardwood floors from permanent damage as well as extend the life of area rugs.

If your large area rug is non-machine washable, consider visiting a laundromat with similar-sized washing machines. If it can be washed at home using oxygen-based bleach solution instead, follow its directions exactly before testing on one corner to make sure it won’t leave traces or marks behind.

Baking soda is an effective deodorizer and can help absorb any residual smells in an area rug. Simply spread a generous layer over your rug and allow it to sit for several hours (or overnight if possible), until the baking soda powder has completely settled into your rug’s fibers. Once dry, vacuum out to remove it.

Once your area rug has been properly cleaned, use a towel to soak up any extra water at its base. Roll up and set on top of a plastic sheet at least as big as your rug for added moisture protection against seepage through onto hardwood floors. Leave both carpet and plastic until completely dry before replacing it on its original place.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Area rugs can make any room feel cozier and more put-together, yet they also tend to accumulate dirt and debris over time. Without regular vacuuming and care, stains may begin to form which make the entire floor appear dirty – this is particularly evident if hardwood flooring lies below the rug.

To prevent this, it’s best to vacuum your rug regularly; at least twice weekly will do. In addition, turning over and cleaning both sides is beneficial; this helps eliminate odors as well as prevent buildup of dirt in the back of the rug.

Immediately clean up any spills or stains if they occur. Allowing liquid to seep through an area rug onto hardwood flooring below can result in watermarks which may become very hard to remove, damaging your hardwoods, causing warps or warping altogether.

For any lingering stains on an area rug, try scattering baking soda across it to absorb any odors or dirt that has built up over time. Leave the baking soda to sit on its own for several hours (ideally overnight ) before vacuuming to remove all dirt and odor from it.

If you want a thorough cleaning of an area rug, first prepare the hardwood flooring beneath it. To do this effectively, ideally you would roll up and move it into a room with carpeted floors so that steam cleaning can take place off of wood flooring – however if this isn’t an option then lay out plastic sheeting or tarp on the area rug itself and secure with masking tape to secure its position beneath it.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a versatile household product with numerous applications both alone and when combined with other products. With its coarse salt-like texture and alkaline pH level, baking soda makes an effective scrubbing agent and deodorizer in one package, and can even act as an odor absorber by spreading some in your garbage bins at the bottom. Its popularity as an antimicrobial is unparalleled!

Combining baking soda and vinegar creates an exothermic reaction that releases carbonic acid that may help lift stains from carpet fibers. Apply this solution directly onto affected areas and allow it to sit for at least an hour before scrubbing and vacuuming; if this doesn’t do the trick, try another time!

For an all-purpose odor-remover, sprinkle your area rug with baking soda and leave it to sit for at least 12 hours (ideally overnight) as this method works similarly.

Baking soda mixed with water can be used to neutralize and make stain removal easier, or used as part of a paste to clean away stubborn grease spots from pans or clean burnt food left on the stove to cool.

Baking soda can also be applied with a damp sponge and used to scrub stainless steel to remove tarnish, added to laundry detergents to help reduce fabric softener residue on clothes, or taken by mouth as medication to relieve heartburn as it neutralizes stomach acid – though you should always consult with a healthcare provider first before taking any medication.