how to clean an outdoor rug

Best Tips On How To Clean An Outside Rug

By Maria Hernandez / April 14, 2021 / 0 Comments

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    Outdoor rugs can be such a fantastic addition to your patio! They look so chic, are durable, and will instantly improve the appearance of your little outdoor heaven. But if you were wondering how to clean an outdoor rug and are scared they might be high maintenance, I bring great news.

    These rugs are not only relatively simple to clean and take care of, but they are also resistant to mold and mildew. Since most outside rugs are made from polyester, this fabric can go through a lot before it starts showing signs of wear or damage.

    Now, let’s see how you should take care of these rugs, what kind of products you should use, and how often to clean them.

    Since keeping a rug dry is very important to avoid mold and mildew, you’ll read more about adequately drying it. As a bonus, I included the best storage tips that will make your life easier.

    Best Ways To Clean An Outside Rug

    Shake And Beat

    The good old shake-and-beat will help you get rid of accumulated dust and dirt. It’s a fact that outdoor rugs attract a lot of debris, dust, and dirt. That’s why you should make it a habit to shake and beat yours at least once a month.

    Shake And Beat

    This will make the rest of the cleaning process much easier because the beating will release the dirt that is accumulated deeper in the rug fibers. Flip it and beat both sides to get rid of most of the dirt.

    You can hang the rug over a rail, your fence, or your balcony so that you can beat it easily. You will need a hard object such as a carpet beater or a broom handle. Beat the rug evenly and let it stay in direct sunlight for up to an hour after you’re done.


    Vacuuming is another way to keep your outdoor rug clean. This should be part of your regular maintenance routine, once each week or once every two weeks.

    Cordless vacuums are ideal for this purpose because you don’t have to deal with cords getting in your way or to look for extension cords. In just a few minutes you’ll have a clean outdoor rug without too much effort.


    If you have a rug with short fibers, you’ll find sweeping one of the best ways to keep it clean. It’s fast, easy, and you can do it several times a week.

    Sweeping won’t remove all the dust and dirt, though; that’s why you’ll probably need to vacuum, shake, and beat the carpet several times a month.

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    How To Wash An Outdoor Rug

    Washing an outdoor rug is so simple since most of these rugs are made of durable materials. Pick a warm, sunny day so that you can do it outside, and the rug will dry faster.

    You will need a carpet cleaner product or a mixture of mild detergent with water. After you beat and vacuum the rug, you can hose it off.

    Add a little bit of the cleaner or mix a few drops of mild detergent with water. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to spread the product all over the rug. Wait for five to 10 minutes, then rinse the rug entirely with clean water.

    Hang the rug on a rail or your balcony and let it dry completely in direct sunlight.

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    Treat Stains And Spots

    Stains on outdoor rugs are best treated with a store-bought stain remover. After you’ve found the right product, follow the instructions listed on the packaging, and you’ll find it quite simple to get rid of stains.

    Liquid Spills

    Tackling a liquid mess is the first step toward a clean rug. If an accident happens and you spill your soda, tea, or coffee, you should get a rag or paper towel right away and absorb all the liquid.

    You shouldn’t scrub the spot, though, because you can make the stain more extensive and push it into the fibers even more. Use gentle pressure and blotting until there is no more liquid.

    When the stained area is dry, you can use a stain remover according to the instructions to further treat the rug. If you don’t have a stain remover at home, mix a little mild detergent with water and apply it to the area. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes.

    Next, use a damp clean cloth or sponge to rinse the detergent and achieve a clean rug.

    Dry Spills

    Dry spills are easier to take care of because they don’t soak into the fibers.

    You will need a sharp object to scrape the spill and remove as much as you can. Now you can apply a stain cleaner or a little mild detergent with warm water to the spot. Wait for five to 10 minutes, then rinse the area with water.

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    How To Clean A Rug With Mold And Mildew

    Outdoor rugs aren’t prone to mold and mildew, but they can appear if the rug is constantly exposed to humidity and moisture. These rugs are made of synthetic materials that prevent mold, mildew, and moss, but they are not 100% resistant.

    If you live in a humid area, you should check the rugs to see if you notice a strange smell or growth. When there are clear signs of mold, you should prepare to clean the rug.

    One of the best ways to get rid of this problem is with a natural cleaner made of white vinegar and baking soda.

    After you shake and vacuum the rug, you can sprinkle baking soda all over it.

    Next, get a spray bottle and fill it with water and a little white vinegar. Spray the mixture on the rug, then wait for 10 minutes.

    When the wait is over, rinse the carpet with water and let it dry completely. This solution should completely get rid of mold and mildew, but letting the rug dry in direct sunlight will further protect it.

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    How To Dry An Outdoor Rug

    A wet rug is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Now that you’ve cleaned it well, it’s time to let it dry.

    The method that you’ll use to dry an outdoor rug is not as important as it is the fact that you have to let it dry entirely. After cleaning the rug, you need to let it dry completely before you use it again or before you store it.

    How To Dry An Outdoor Rug

    The best way to dry it is to lay the rug somewhere where it will be exposed to the sun so that it will dry out faster. Try to find a flat surface or hang it over a rail, your balcony, or over a fence. It can be either indoors or outdoors as long as there is good air circulation.

    Once the top part of the rug is dry, flip it over to the other side. Most people forget about this step of the drying process, but it’s actually essential that the entire surface is completely dry.

    Using the sun to dry your rug is the best alternative because it’s not damaging to the fibers. Direct sunlight can also reduce bacteria and lower the chances of mold and mildew.

    Check the rug with your hands, and when you can’t feel moisture anymore, you can put it back on your porch or prepare it for storage.

    If you’re not able to let the carpet dry in direct sunlight, you can use a heater. The thing about heaters is that they can cause damage to the rug’s material, which is why you generally should avoid using them for this purpose.

    If you have to dry the rug inside your house, choose a well-ventilated room and hang it there. You can also add a fan that will speed up the process.

    Another way to get the moisture out of your rug is with a wet-dry vacuum. If you have one at home, use the dry setting to suction moisture out of the rug, and it will dry out faster.

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    How To Store An Outdoor Rug

    Properly storing your outdoor area rug when you’re not using it is very important. There are various reasons why you might need to remove it, starting with the fact that you bought a new one, you’re changing to a different rug each season, or you simply want to protect it from the snow. You need to know how to pack and place it to protect it from damage, mold, mildew, and insects.

    One of the most essential rules to keep in mind is that you should only store a completely dry and clean rug. If it’s still wet or damp, you’ll end up having a problem with mold and mildew.

    Once you’re done using the rug, make sure that you roll it up. You should never fold a rug because it can cause permanent damage and creases. Rolling it means that you’re saving space, and you can place it almost anywhere.

    Before you roll it, figure out which is the more gentle side. That one should be facing inwards, and it usually features fibers.

    Now that you have a roll, cover the rug with a cotton sheet all around. Secure the sheet with polyester tape so that it stays in place while the rug is in storage.

    Next, amp up the protection with a polyurethane tarp, making sure that you’ve covered every single inch of the roll. To secure the tarp, you can use ropes, stretch cords, or bungee cords. This is the best and safest way to cover and protect a rug, even if it will be in storage for several months.

    Bugs are attracted to rugs, and if you don’t go over these steps for protection, you’ll be seeing extensive damage when you take the rug back out from storage. When packing it, don’t ever use plastic. It’s a material that bugs can go through easily, and it will also prevent the rug from breathing.

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    Where To Store The Rug

    Don’t forget about the importance of the location where you’ll store your outdoor rug. Most people throw the rugs they’re not using in their garage or a basement filled with mold. These are not the best storage ideas because your beloved rugs might end up moldy when you take them out in spring.

    Where To Store The Rug

    An outdoor rug should be stored away from direct sunlight because sun rays can cause discoloration. You don’t want a rug that is a few shades lighter than when you bought it.

    The room should be dry, cool, and have good air circulation. Your rug should breathe and have enough space.

    When storing it, don’t put it under heavy objects or boxes. Weight can cause damage to the fibers and ruin the rug’s shape. Avoid placing it directly on the ground.

    Now that you’ve protected it well and found a great storage spot in the house, all you have to do is clean up around it once in a while. Removing dust, dirt, and debris is essential. If you notice any bugs, insects,or  rodents, make sure that you unpack the rug to check for damage and search for a new storage place.

    If you’re leaving the outdoor rug in storage for a long time, you should unroll it every few months, shake it, beat it, vacuum it, and roll it back up using the same protection tips.

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    Can I Pressure Wash An Outdoor Rug?

    Yes, you can. Outdoor rugs are made of materials that can withstand water under pressure, and it’s a good way to remove dirt and dust.

    Aside from regular maintenance with vacuuming and hand washing, you can also try pressure washing as a cleaning method. It will provide a deep clean, removing accumulated dirt, even some spots and stains. Just make sure to check the maintenance instructions on your rug’s tag before you start.

    This is a method that uses water under pressure to clean carpets and rugs. You can control the pressure that you use, but in most cases it should be set to low so that you’re sure you’re not causing any damage to the rug. Before you start pressure washing, you can apply a stain remover to the stained areas and wait for five to 10 minutes.

    The power washer comes with a special tip that releases the water under pressure. You can mix the water with a cleaning solution or a mild detergent so that the process will be even more effective.

    It’s essential that you use the power washer from a distance and you’re not standing too close to the rug. This is how you prevent intense pressure and possible damage to the rug.

    When you’re done with the entire process, let the rug dry entirely in direct sunlight.

    Can I Leave My Rug Outdoors All Winter?

    In theory, you can leave your outdoor rugs outside during any season. These rugs are made of materials such as propylene, which are very durable, don’t require too much maintenance, and can withstand different temperatures and weather conditions.

    You can leave the rug outside even when it’s raining, snowing, or it’s very hot. So if you forgot to roll it up and store it inside this winter, there is no need to worry.

    Before you decide to purchase a rug for your patio, make sure you do thorough research. Find a brand that sells durable, high-quality outdoor rugs that won’t be damaged after the first winter.

    However, if you want to prolong your outdoor rug’s life and don’t need it outside during winter, use the storing guide above to properly protect it.

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    If you want to know how to clean an outside rug, how to dry it, store it and maintain it, this article will become your go-to guide. These rugs are made of materials resistant to damage, different weather conditions, mold, and mildew. That’s what makes them easy to clean and maintain.

    The basics of cleaning include beating, shaking, vacuuming once a week or once every few weeks. You can also sweep flatweave rugs for easy maintenance. Spills and stains can happen to anyone; that’s why you need a stain remover or a mixture of water and mild dish soap for this rug type.

    Washing the rug once or twice a year is an excellent way to deep clean it. You can target spots and stains with store-bought stain remover products or try removing them with mild detergent.

    As you can see, the maintenance is quite straightforward thanks to the fabric’s durable nature.

    If you have any comments or firsthand experiences with maintaining outdoor rugs, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

    • Outdoor rugs are made to be less susceptible to damage, easy to maintain, resistant to mold and mildew, and made to upgrade the appearance of your deck or patio.
    • The cleaning methods you should use are regular beating, shaking, vacuuming, and sweeping. You can also wash the rug once or twice a year, or as needed.
    • When you want to store an outdoor rug, roll it and cover it with a cotton sheet and a polyurethane tarp. Place it in a dry, cool room, away from direct sunlight.

    About Maria Hernandez

    Senior Floor Critic, 25 years of experience in residential and commercial cleaning

    Maria Hernandez has 25 years of experience in residential and commercial janitorial and cleaning services. From hardwood to carpet to marble floors, Maria has developed a deep expertise in cleaning and maintaining many different flooring types. Visit Website.

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