Spring Cleaning

This Is the Only Way You Should Be Cleaning Your Rugs so They Last Forever (and Look Like New!)

published Apr 22, 2024
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A rug has so much potential — adding color, texture, and comfort to any room. But you know what else it holds? A whole lot of hidden dirt. Our goal is to leave no dust behind, so let’s spend some time giving one of our deeply loved rugs a much-needed cleaning. 

Day 8: Deep clean a rug.

While you should be vacuuming your rug regularly, a deeper clean like the one we’ll do today can happen once or twice a year. Pick out the rug you want to clean today. There are some top contenders: Rugs by your front door that get used frequently, a shag rug that requires extra elbow grease, or the one in the kitchen that gets a lot of mess.

The steps to getting your rug clean will depend on three things: its material, if the rug is in a high-traffic area, and if your home has pets and kids. We’re big fans of washable rugs, which are really pet-friendly, because they are often easier to clean. So if you are in the market for a new rug, consider buying one of these.

Below, some general advice to follow to get your rug cleaner than ever. But above all else, be sure to read your rug’s care instructions first. 

  • Vacuum both sides of the rug. Start by vacuuming the top, then move the rug away from the spot it was in and flip it over. Then, vacuum the other side and the spot it was in. Flip the rug right-side up and back in its original position and vacuum once more. If you can’t move the rug, you can flip one side at a time to vacuum the top, bottom, and floor as you go. If you’re able to, take your rug outside to give it a beating to really get the dirt off it. 
  • Treat any stains. It’s best to get to spills immediately, but sometimes you can miss a spot. If you notice a stain, then you’ll want to go at it with an upholstery and carpet cleaner and its formulated cleaning product, or for something gentler, you can use warm soapy water. The Bissell Little Green Machine Cordless, which won our 2024 Cleaning Awards, is a mighty cleaner that you can take with you from room to room to tackle messes. Make sure to spot test in an inconspicuous spot first before proceeding. If you are dealing with pet messes, you might want to try an enzyme cleaner
  • Rinse and dry. If you use soapy water, you’ll want to rinse it out of the rug. After treating stains, you’ll want to absorb as much liquid as possible with a dry towel, then let your rug dry outside or have it elevated off the ground.

If you are having any trouble getting your rug cleaned — whether there’s a tough stain or it’s a delicate material — you might want to enlist the help of a professional. It can get costly, so be sure to factor in the cost and research if this is the best option for you.

PRO TIP: Keep odor at bay by sprinkling baking soda or a specialized carpet odor eliminator on your carpet and leave overnight or according to box instructions. Then, vacuum it away.

Which rug did you deep clean today? Tell us in the comments below.

More Ways to Participate in the Spring Cleaning Cure

The Cure Program is a tradition here at Apartment Therapy — it happens every January, April, and September. Click here to learn more about the year-round program and when to sign up.