How To Clean a Rug With Snow

Apartment Therapy Tutorials

Antique and handwoven rugs are breathtaking but can be tricky to clean. Stay away from chemical detergents by using nature's cleanser, snow!

Snowvember is upon us here in the midwest and I'm trying to make the most of it. After hearing about the magical cleaning powers of snow, I laced up boots, grabbed a recently purchased hand-woven rug and headed outside.

This process works really well on smaller handmade, and antique, wool rugs but can be difficult to do with large or heavy rugs unless you have a few extra helpers. For best results try this in dry, powdery snow.

What You Need


  • Dry, powdery snow
  • Clean broom


1. Shake the rug well, releasing any dust or loose dirt. Hang outside and let acclimate to the temperature for at least a half hour.

2. Lay the rug in 3"-5" of snow, give yourself a large area to work in. With the broom, flip a good amount of snow across the entire surface.

3. Beat the snow all around the rug with the flat side of the broom. The trace amounts of ammonia in the snow will react with the cold air and cause any dirt or grime to solidify and fall out of the rug.

4. Let the snow sit on the rug for 15-20 minutes before flipping it over and repeating steps 1-3 on the other side.

5. Shake as much excess snow off the rug as you possibly can before hanging it over a railing or clothesline. Leave it to hang for 20-30 minutes to allow the snow to sublimate. The snow will go from it's solid phase to vapor without actually getting the rug wet.

Edited from an original post by Regina Yunghans published on February 16, 2010

More great tips and tutorials: Cleaning Basics

(Image credits: Ashley Poskin)