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The Best Way to Clean Your Outdoor Area Rugs

The Best Way to Clean Your Outdoor Area Rugs

5th Jun 2023

If you gave into temptation and bought an outdoor area rug for your porch, patio or deck, you aren’t alone. Outdoor rugs have steadily gained in popularity over the past few years.

Patio rugs are a great way to finish off a space, pull together furniture arrangements, add style and provide comfort underfoot. 

Today’s outdoor area rugs come in a multitude of colors and styles and many are manufactured using fade and weather-resistant materials. 

However, even the most durable outdoor rug sometimes needs a good cleaning. Here are some important things to keep in mind when you clean your patio rug.

6 Steps for Cleaning an Outdoor Rug

1.  Reduce Damage from Dirt

One advantage of indoor outdoor rugs is that they can protect the surface beneath, like wood decking or tile. As your rug sits there, day after day, it catches dirt, pollen, pet hair, dander, bugs, food crumbs and plant materials. This debris can make your outdoor rug dull and dingy.

Not only that, when the weather turns hot and humid, trapped dirt may encourage mold and mildew to grow in your rug. Yuk!

white sneakers and vacuum cleaner on blue and white rug

Dirt build-up on your rugs causes odor and can wear down rug fibers, notes The Spruce. Regular maintenance and occasional deep cleaning can keep your rugs looking nice and help extend the life of your outdoor area rug.

Just as you regularly vacuum your indoor rugs, you should do the same for your patio carpet. You can use a wet vac with a flathead hose attachment or an upright vacuum cleaner with good suction on the lowest setting to clean your outdoor carpeting. Because dirt can get ground into the carpet fibers, it’s a good idea to flip the rug and vacuum the reverse, as well.

An indoor outdoor rug with a flat weave or very low pile can be swept clean with a broom occasionally. You also can shake out smaller area rugs. If your outdoor carpet is large, drape it over a clothesline, fence or lawn chairs and beat the dust out. The flat side of a broom works well for this step. Dust will fly, especially if there is a breeze, so you may want to wear a mask.

2.  Hit the Spots

If you eat or drink outdoors, your patio rug is bound to attract its share of spills and spots. Try to address them immediately, so they don’t set in or attract insects. Spills that are still wet can be blotted up with a clean towel.

You’ll find many recipes for DIY spot cleaners online. Diluted bleach is very effective at removing mold and mildew stains from indoor outdoor carpet, but could permanently discolor your rug. Other remedies include white vinegar, baking soda, club soda and hydrogen peroxide. To avoid damaging your outdoor rug, check the label or search for the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before you begin.

red and white patterned rug hanging on line being hosed down with a pressure washer

3.  Hose it Down

Most outdoor rugs are made to withstand the weather, so feel free to lay your rug out on the driveway and hit it with the hose or spray it with a power washer adjusted to the lowest setting. Hose down the front and back until the water runs clean.

4.  Lather Up

Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to determine which cleaning products are safe to use on your outdoor rug. “For most messes, a simple mix of a few drops of liquid dish soap in warm water should do the trick,” advises Better Homes & Gardens.

Then, get scrubbing! Rub gently with a soft scrub brush, or use a rug machine. Steam cleaning may shrink or damage a patio rug.

5.  Rinse it Off

Use your hose or pressure washer to rinse the cleaning products from your outdoor area rug. Continue to rinse until the soap has disappeared and the water runs clear.

6.  Let it Dry

It’s best to lay your rug flat to dry, since hanging can stretch the rug out of shape. Your driveway is an ideal drying surface. When one side is dry, flip it over and allow the other side to dry, as well. Drying can take several hours, but making sure your outdoor rug is completely dry helps keep mold and mildew from forming.

While your outdoor patio rug is drying, clean and sweep the area it will cover. No sense in laying a clean patio rug on a dirty surface, right?

Protect Your Rug for the Future

An outdoor patio rug can be an investment. Regular cleaning can ensure your beautiful outdoor rug will continue to stand up to more summers of fun and entertaining.


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