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How to Clean an Area Rug

They are stepped on, smashed beneath furniture, spilled on, and sometimes slept on, so it should come as no surprise that area rugs need to be cleaned fairly often. And if you’re wondering how to clean an area rug, well, you’ve come to the right place! Today we’re going to discuss what to do when your rug is looking the worse for wear. We’ve divided our tips for how to clean an area rug into different sections, so that you can decide how to treat your rug based on its symptoms and ailments.

How to Clean an Area Rug


This isn’t going to be an amazing revelation (I hope!), but for routine maintenance of your area rug, to get rid of all the dust and dirt that accumulates over the days and weeks, all you need to do is vacuum it. Most homeowners find that vacuuming once every 1-2 weeks helps prevent buildup of all the dust, dirt, and debris your shoes and pets leave behind. Vacuum often to prevent your rug from prematurely aging.


If your dog or cat sheds a lot, you’ll notice that the excess fur often collects on your rugs and carpets. You can purchase special vacuums to remove pet hair from your rug or you can use a stiff brush (brushing in the direction of the nap).


If need to know how to clean an area rug that has a stain, you should generally treat it the same way that you would treat a stain on your carpet. With that in mind, head on over to one of these previous blog posts:

Since the rug can easily be lifted up (unlike carpet), you might also want to check that the underside of the rug isn’t dirty. If the stain has seeped through to the carpet beneath, just apply the same method you used on the rug to the carpeting.

Of course before you do any deep cleaning or use any potentially risky products, be sure to check the rug’s label, if it has one. You should also perform test patches in unimportant areas before treating a stain somewhere very visible.


If your rug needs more than a quick vacuum, you could hang it up outside on a clothesline or fence using heavy-duty clamps. Then, clean it by hand with a carpet cleaning solution and water. You’ll need to wring as much water out of it as possible afterward and then leave it outside until it has dried. Because it’s so important that the rug dries completely, only use this method on sunny (and preferably very warm) days.

For a more thorough cleaning, turn to a professional carpet cleaning company like First Choice Carpet Cleaning. We can get your area rug dust-free, dirt-free, and looking like new!