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Wondering how to clean a rug? No matter the extent of the stain, these methods are guaranteed to get any spills out of your rug or carpet.

how to clean a rug

As hard as we try and keep our space clean sometimes there are areas that just can’t be avoided from getting dirty.

Whether it’s a spill, pet stains, or just normal wear and tear, rugs and carpets are just bound to get dirty with all the walking that’s done on them.

The most annoying thing about dirty rugs is that they aren’t something you can easily replace. I remember being shocked at how expensive rugs were when I was shopping for my first apartment and they have only gone up in price since then.

Luckily, there are super effective ways to spot clean and completely sanitize your rug that will cost you almost nothing!

Whether you are looking to get a pesky stain out or completely transform your rug into looking as good as when you bought it here is a step-by-step guide on exactly how to clean a rug.

This post is all about how to clean a rug.


step by step how to clean a rug

Supplies You’ll Need:

Spot treating your rug is honestly super easy and only requires a few cleaning products! Here’s what you’ll need:

A vacuum cleaner: Before you start treating your rug with stain-removing products you’ll want to make sure you vacuum up all the dust and dirt first.

White cotton towels: Really any kind of old towels you have laying around will work. Just make sure they are white and not bright colored to avoid any colors bleeding onto your rug or carpet when cleaning.

Dish Soap: Make sure to have some kind of dish soap when tackling a tough stain. Mix the dish soap with water to dilute it.

Stain remover: I use the “carpet stain remover” by Folex and it is my absolute favorite stain remover out there but Woolite and Oxiclean carry amazing carpet cleaning products as well.

Carpet brush or toothbrush: You can either buy a brush specifically made for cleaning carpets or just use an old toothbrush.

step by step how to clean a rug

Step #1: Spot Test

Before diving headfirst into cleaning your rug you’ll need to do a spot test.

Doing this will ensure the colors in your rug don’t run and the soap doesn’t bleach or alter your rug.

Step #2: Vacuum Your Rug

Before starting to spot clean your rug you’ll want to make sure you vacuum up any dirt, hair, and dust that may be laying on the surface of your carpet.

Removing this will allow for the stain remover to penetrate deeper and prevent you from further packing dirt and dust into your rug.

Step #3: Mix Up A Solution Using Dish Soap And Water

Dish soap cleans just about anything and everything.

Mix ½ dish soap with ½ water to make a gentle cleaning solution for your rug.

Scrub the mixture into your rug to loosen up packed on dirt and stains.

Step #4: Blot The Stain With A Towel

Soak a clean white cloth in the soap and water mixture and gently blot it into the stain.

Continuously rinse the soapy towel with hot water and continue to blot it until all the soap has been removed.

Make sure to blot and not scrub to avoid tearing up your rug or carpet.

Step #5: Soak Up Excess Water And Apply Carpet Spot Remover

After blotting your rug with the soap mixture, soak up the excess water with a towel.

Be careful not to over soak your rug during the blotting process and make sure to soak up as much water as possible to avoid color bleeding or mildew from growing in the fibers.

Step #6: Let Carpet Spot Remover Sit And Scrub With A Brush

Apply a generous amount of stain remover to the spot you want to treat.

Remember to spot test the remover on a small part of your carpet first to make sure there are no adverse reactions!

Let the remover sit for a couple of minutes and begin scrubbing.

To scrub your rug you can either purchase a carpet brush or use an old toothbrush that you have lying around.

It’s probably time to replace your toothbrush anyway, right? Just be sure not to scrub too vigorously to avoid tearing your carpet fibers!

Step #7: Repeat Process As Needed

Alternate between scrubbing in the stain remover, washing away with water, and drying with a towel. Repeat this process as needed.

Step #8: Soak Up Excess Water With A Cloth And Let Dry

Once your stain is gone, make sure to thoroughly wash away the stain remover with water. Be sure to absorb as much water as possible with a dry cloth, leave your rug out to dry and you’re all done!


rug cleaning products

Supplies You’ll Need:

Want to fully clean a larger rug? Here’s exactly what you’ll need to do it:

Method #1: Clean with a hose

  • Hose: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t want to go out and buy a carpet cleaning machine you can always use a hose!
  • Carpet cleaner or dish soap: If you have dish soap lying around you can go ahead and use that or you can buy a cleaner specifically made for carpet cleaning.

Method #2: Bissell Little Green Machine

Step #1: Gather Your Supplies

First, pick which method you feel is best for your rug.

If you have a large rug and don’t want to spend the money on a carpet cleaning machine then all you will need is a hose and some soap.

The hose method is best for large area rugs that just need a gentle overall cleaning.

If you are looking to heavily clean your rug then a carpet cleaning machine is going to be your best move.

Step #2: Vacuum Your Rug Or Carpet

Just as if you were spot cleaning your rug you will want to make sure you vacuum your entire rug thoroughly to remove any dust, dirt, hair, and crumbs.

Step #3: Spot Test

A spot test is even more important when tackling a large rug. Don’t forget to spot test your rug before soaking it in water and soap!

Step #4: Fill The Side Container With Water

If you are using the Bissell Little Green Machine you will first need to fill the container on the side of the machine with water and the cleaning solution. The ratio of water to cleaning solution is listed on the bottle.

Step #5: Choose Attachment

The Bissell Little Green Machine comes with different sized and shaped attachments designed specifically for the carpet or rug you are cleaning. Pick out which one you need for the rug you are cleaning and attach it to the hose.

Step #6: Lightly Cover The Rug In Soap

*If you are using the Bissell Little Green Machine you will not need to do this step.*

If you are using a hose to clean your rug this step will be the one in which you spray down your entire rug with water from the hose. Use a light pressure setting to initially cover your rug in water and then a higher pressure setting to loosen up dirt.

Mix in a mild solution of dish soap and water and scrub the mixture into your rug using a cloth towel or a soft bristle brush. Continue scrubbing the mixture into your rug and wash away all soap and bubble with the hose when you are finished.

If you are using the Bissell Little Green Machine you will NOT need to do this step.

Step #7: Lightly Spray The Rug Using The Machine

If you are using the Bissell Little Green Machine you will not need to cover the rug with water from a hose but instead will spray a light mist of cleaning solution using the machine.

After you have applied the solution to the rug you will simply turn the machine on and begin dragging the attachment across the rug as if you were vacuuming.

The machine does the rest of the work for you! 

Step #8: Lay Out To Dry

The Bissell Little Green Machine vacuums all the dirty water and dries a good amount of the rug already. If you are using a hose to clean your rug you will need to soak up excess water with a towel.

One of the most important parts of cleaning your rug is giving it adequate time to dry. If your rug is not giving enough time to dry properly, mold and mildew will accumulate in your rug which will only make it smell worse.

When you are done cleaning your rug, lay it flat and let it air-dry completely. The amount of time this takes is dependent on the weather in your area as well as the thickness of your rug.

Once the top of the rug is dry, flip it over and allow the back time to dry completely as well.

You can also place towels inside of your rug, roll it up, and sit or stand on the rug to absorb moisture with the towels.

This post was all about how to clean a rug.

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