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Learning how to clean your area rug is an important part of prolonging its lifespan and ensuring that it’ll be with your family for a long time to come. But it can be challenging to understand the proper way to keep your rug sparkling clean, especially if you’ve never done more than just vacuum over it before.

A little maintenance goes a long way toward your area rug’s longevity. And doing it yourself at home can save you a lot of money on an otherwise pricey rug cleaning expense while making sure you know which chemicals, if any, are coming into contact with your rug, too.

Check out the directions below to help you get started.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Rug shampoo (optionally, you might use dish detergent instead)
  • Vacuum
  • Sponge and bucket
  • Brush with soft bristles
  • Squeegee
  • Water hose


1 Start with a vacuum. Make sure you vacuum both sides of your rug to remove any debris and dirt particles you can before you get started washing. This will keep you from accidentally grinding the dirt into the fibers of the rug while you clean.

2 Do a test run. If you’re using rug shampoo, mix it as directed on the label. And if you’re using dish detergent, add a couple of tablespoons to lukewarm—not hot!—water. Use your mixture to test cleaning a small corner of the rug to ensure that the colors don’t fade or run before you continue.

3 Wash thoroughly. If all went well in step two, move on to washing your rug. Take it outside if possible and use your sponge and bucket to scrub the rug, making sure your detergent or rug shampoo lathers up well.

4 Rinse well. Use your water hose to rinse the rug and remove all the suds.

5 Squeeze dry. Use your squeegee to remove as much of the water as possible. This will prevent mildew from forming as your rug dries in the next step. When using your squeegee, always move in the direction of the rug’s pile only so as not to create any strange patterns or do any damage to your rug.

6 Air dry. Lay the rug flat and let the top dry. Then turn it over and repeat for the bottom side.

7 Brush, brush, brush. Use your soft brush to brush out the rug once it’s dry. The fibers may have become stuck together during the cleaning process and will need to be “reset” back to their original beauty.

And there you have it!  A perfectly clean rug that’s ready to get back to work decorating your home.

Now that you know how to keep your rug clean, you may be ready to bring home even more beautiful pieces of home décor to spice up your living space. Check out if you’re looking for more rugs for your home—and if you already have all the rugs you need, don’t forget to keep them clean and well maintained for best results!

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