How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor – 10 Easy Steps

Using area rugs on hardwood floor is one of the great ways to accent your living quarters and create a homey atmosphere. These cozy pieces not only inject warmth, color and pattern into a home’s space but also protect hardwood floors from stains and scratches. Over time though, area rugs may become dirty, change in appearance and even start oozing a foul smell.

Dirty area rugs can go to an extent of staining the underneath of your wooden floor, so it is important to learn how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor. You need to handle area rugs appropriately because they are quite delicate, especially when cleaning is concerned. We’ve compiled a few practical hacks on how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor so that it can continue adding a beautiful element to your interior throughout the years.

Recommended Cleaning Supplies: 

  • Portable Carpet Vacuum Cleaner
  • Bucket and sponge
  • Garden hose
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • 3-4 cloth towels
  • Paper towels
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp. mild dish detergent or rug shampoo
  • Squeegee
  • Baking soda

Cleaning an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor – Steps to Follow

  • Gently Dust it Off

First, gently dust off your area rug to banish any loose dirt and debris. Never make a mistake of hanging a rug on a clothesline and beating it with a hard object in an attempt to speed up the task. Remember, area rugs consist of woven threads that might come loose or get ripped off from their backing if beaten with a hard object. Gently dusting it off with a soft broom is an appropriate trick intended to get rid of loose and excess particles from an area rug.

  • Vacuum Up

Dusting off your area rug might not be enough to remove all loose dust, dirt and debris attached to it. For this reason, you may need to go a step further and vacuum both sides, repeating the process at least twice. Even while vacuuming is the best way to eliminate as much dust as possible, try not to run the vacuum over the fringes as you may end up pulling the fringes or threads and damaging the rug. It is easier to clean a rug when dust clouds are no longer coming out of it.

  • Test Your Shampoo and Cleaner for Colorfastness 

Before using any cleaners on an area rug, test for colorfastness first to avoid ruining it. Some shampoos and cleaners consist of harsh chemicals that may cause the beautiful colors of your area rug to bleed or fade away. Try your store-bought shampoo or cleaner on an inconspicuous corner of the area rug to make sure the colors won’t run. If the colors don’t run – meaning your rug is colorfast – go on to the next step.

  • Apply Your Chosen Cleaner on Your Area Rug

Using a garden hose, rinse your area rug thoroughly before applying your preferred cleaner. Ensure the rug is wet enough for the shampoo application. Thereafter, mix 1 cup of warm water with a few drops of mild dishwashing detergent or a safe rug shampoo, and then pour the solution into a bucket. Make sure the water is just warm, because hot water may cause the colors to fade or shrink the fibers. Now, pour your shampoo and water solution liberally onto your area rug and let it lather for a few minutes in order for the rug to absorb the shampoo.

  • Gently Scrub Your Area Rug

After your rug has absorbed as much rug shampoo as possible, gently scrub the surface of the rug using a soft-bristled brush with a stout handle. This step will need a lot of scrubbing to work the rug shampoo deep into the fibers. You can wear gloves for this task, and make sure to concentrate on any stains laced on your area rug. Then, rinse off your area rug with a garden hose until all the soap suds are gone.

  • Lift Up Any Remaining Shampoo

If there are any signs of soap suds or shampoo left, soak up the excess soap suds or shampoo residue using a clean cloth towel. This will also blot up as much of the stain as possible. Replace the cloth towel with a clean one as soon as it gets dirty, and continue dabbing until no more cleaner residue is left. Make sure to flip the rug and dab the other side as well, until all the stains and soap suds are gone. Then, rinse your area rug once more with a garden hose.

  • Squeeze Out Excess Water

It is important to squeeze as much water out of the rug, because a wet rug is likely to transfer its color to your hardwood floors or damage your floors with moisture and humidity. Even more, if a big and heavy area rug remains damp for a few days, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew. The best way to get rid of the excess water from an area rug is to use a squeegee. If a squeegee is nowhere within reach, you can make do with a few paper towels. If you are using a squeegee, exercise caution and work only in the direction of the area rug’s nap.

  • Remove Foul Odors 

Baking soda is a common ingredient used to remove stubborn stains and bad odor from area rugs. You can either mix it with water to form a paste or use it directly in crystal form. Pour sodium carbonate paste lightly on the rug or sprinkle the crystals liberally over the rug and allow it to act on the stain or odor for several hours. Without adding any water, work the sodium carbonate deep into fibers using a small toothbrush. Rather than rinsing, leave the paste to dry into a powder and vacuum up to remove it.

  • Dry Your Area Rug

Drying an area rug is a process that requires patience depending on the size and material used. First, wring out the rug with a squeegee to remove as much water as possible. Then, move your rug to a laundry room or any other protected space for secure drying and lay it flat to naturally dry itself. When the upper part is fully dry, flip it over so that the bottom side can dry as well. Make sure your rug is fully dry before taking it back inside. Often, a completely dried rug won’t be able to discharge any liquid even when squeezed hard, but it will likely be a tad stiff.  

  • Loosen Up the Fibers 

After washing and drying your area rug, you might notice that its fibers will appear flattened and odd. Compacted fibers can simply be loosened and straightened up by combing with a soft-bristled brush. Alternatively, you can give your area rug a thorough vacuuming to restore its proper appearance. After loosening up the fibers, you can now put your clean area rug back in its place.

Wrapping Up

Often times, area rugs are the focal point of any home’s living space where the whole family can group up together and make memories. Your elegant area rug deserves proper cleaning and maintenance to ensure it can accentuate your home’s interior and style. With proper hacks on how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor, cleaning your area rug can be a cakewalk. Our steps above will help you clean a soiled area rug effectively so that it can appear more cozy and inviting for you and your guests.

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