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10 Tips on How to Pressure Wash a Rug

carpet rug folded on wood floor

Rugs see a lot of traffic in their lifetimes. Everyone in the family and all the guests who visit your home trample across your rug’s surface. While you may vacuum and even shampoo your rug in hopes of keeping it clean, sometimes they need a thorough cleaning to really power away all the dirt they hold. A pressure washer is one of the best tools for this kind of job. Below, we’ll share 10 tips on how to pressure wash a rug the right way. This will help you get your rug clean while also avoiding any potential damage to your rug. Take a look so you can make your rugs look and smell clean once again.

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The 10 Tips on How to Pressure Wash a Rug

1. Choose the Right Day

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Image By: Lukas, Pexels

Yes, choosing the right day is important when it comes to pressure washing a rug. This type of job needs to be performed outside. You also need to let your rug dry outdoors to avoid issues with water or mildew smells. When you’re ready to pressure wash your rug, or rugs for that matter, make sure it’s a bright, sunny day with no rain in the forecast. This will make life easier for you and your rugs.

2. Let Your Vacuum Help Out

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Sure, taking your rug out to pressure wash should remove all the debris and dirt, but why blow all that mess around outside? Let your vacuum cleaner help the pressure washer out a bit by running it over the rug just before you take your rug out. This will remove excess dirt, keep it from falling around the house during the move, and avoid having debris littered around your cleaning area.

3. Choose the Right Area for Cleaning

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Area rugs take up quite a bit of space in your house. The same can be said when they are outside. Make sure you choose a work area that is large enough to house your rug while you work and one that can withstand a lot of water. It should also be near the area where you plan to dry your rug so you aren’t having to lift a heavy, dripping wet rug too much.

4. Use Detergents or Cleaners That Are Safe

Household detergent
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You’ll want to use detergent or some other type of cleaner to leave your rug looking its best. Many choose Dawn dish soap or their favorite laundry detergent for the job. Whatever you choose, make sure it is safe to use on the fibers or your rug and won’t damage the color.

5. Pre-Soak Your Rug

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Now that you’ve chosen your detergent, check your pressure washer. Some brands have an area where you can add the cleaner. If this is the type you have, add the suggested amount. For pressure washers without an area for detergent, you’ll need to pre-soak your rug by hand. For larger rugs, mix a solution of water and detergent in a bucket and pour it over your rug evenly. If you are cleaning a small rug, a spray bottle of detergent and water may do the trick. Let the detergent sit for a few minutes and give it time to work.

6. Give it a Good Scrub

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The power from a pressure washer can clean your rug quite well, but if you take the time to scrub your rug with a stiff brush your results will be far greater. A brush with a long handle will save you a lot of backaches later. Simply agitate the rug fibers by going up and down, then side to side. To keep from damaging your rug, avoid using metal or wired brushes.

7. Get Your Pressure Washer Ready

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Image By: KIRYAKOVA ANNA, Shutterstock

The last thing you want to do is ruin your rug by using too much pressure. Instead of going full force with your pressure washer, put it on its lowest pressure setting. Give a test run on a small area of your rug. If you feel it isn’t sufficient, increase the pressure until you’re satisfied. Hold your nozzle at an angle, usually between 25 and 40 degrees, while staying at least a foot away from the rug. This will help avoid damage to the rug fibers.

8. Rinse Away

Washing a rug with a pressure washer
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Now that you’re in position, rinse away. The best way to do this is to move from side to side to ensure all dirty and soapy water is thoroughly rinsed away before moving to the next area. This rinse should be done up and down as well. This will help ensure your rug is rinsed well. Repeat this step until you no longer see dirt or soap emanating from your rug.

9. Allow to Dry

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The sun is the best way to dry your rug. The UV rays will make the process happen faster. Unfortunately, leaving your rug lying flat may not be the best idea. Instead, use chairs or blocks to get your rug off the wet ground and allow it to dry thoroughly. Taking a wet rug inside the house can cause mildew and foul odors.

10. Replace Your Rug and Enjoy

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Allow your rug to dry for several hours. Once it is completely dry you can carefully take it back into the house. Replace your rug to its original position, or new position if you choose, and enjoy the cleaner look and smell your pressure washing has provided.

house divider Things to Remember

You may think pressure washing your rugs isn’t a big deal, but there are a few things you should remember before tackling this task:

  • Check the manufacturer’s care instructions to determine whether pressure washing is safe for your rug.
  • Do not use hot water as it may damage rug fibers.
  • Most rugs should be thoroughly cleaned once per year.
  • Make sure your pressure washer is in good working order before you use it on something as sensitive as your rugs.

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Whether you have multiple rugs in your home, small rugs, or large ones, these tips for cleaning rugs with a pressure washer can remove tons of built-up dirt and odors. The steps we’ve shared will help you along the way to ensure you get the best clean possible while maintaining the integrity of your rug’s fibers. Just remember, pressure washing a rug takes time. Don’t start this type of project unless you have the time to dedicate to doing it the right way.

Featured Image Credit: Halit Omer, Shutterstock


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