6 Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining an Outdoor Rug

An outdoor rug adds a cozy touch to a patio or deck. Why? It makes your outdoor living space feel like a part of your indoor spaces, an extension of your home. And just like the rug in your living room, an outdoor patio rug requires a little maintenance so it continues to look good season after season. The end of the summer season is the perfect time to clean up your rug so it’s fresh and clean for next year and this article will show you how.

6 Steps for Cleaning Your Outdoor Rug

Front Porch Chairs with Rug

Step 1

First, you will want to remove excess dirt and sand from your rug. You can do this by sweeping or shaking off these larger particles. For large or heavy rugs, you can also drape your rug over a railing or clothesline and beat it with a broom or tennis racket to make sure all of the loose dirt is shaken out.

Step 2

To get rid of smaller dirt and dust bits, grab the vacuum. Use the vacuum to clean up both sides of the rug to ensure that it is completely free of debris.

Step 3

If you simply want to spot clean an area of a rug or want to get rid of a stain, use a rug cleaner or mix up your own by combining a tablespoon of clear dish soap with a gallon of water. Avoid using strong detergents as they can cause the colors of your rug to fade or damage the fabric.

Dampen a clean sponge with your cleaning solution and blot the area. Repeat this step until the area is clean and you can no longer see the stain. If the stain refuses to disappear, club soda is another time-honored method for removing particularly stubborn stains.

Step 4

To give your rug a good scrubbing, first apply the cleaning solution mentioned in the previous step to a small portion of your rug to ensure that it doesn’t have any negative effects on the fabric. Allow this small portion to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out completely and letting it dry. Once you’re confident that it won’t harm your rug, proceed to the next step.

Step 5


Using a soft-bristled brush, lather both sides of your rug with the cleaning solution. Allow the soap to sit for a few moments before thoroughly rinsing out the rug. To prevent your rug from sitting in dirty water, try washing your rug on an outdoor, inclined surface like on a slanted driveway or over a fence or railing so the water flows away from the rug.

Step 6

Once you’ve finished scrubbing the rug. Roll up the rug and stand it upright for a few moments to allow the extra water to run off the rug. Then, lay your rug flat or hang it over a railing or fence outdoors in sunlight. This will help the rug dry faster and also help prevent mold or mildew from forming. Once the top of your rug is dry to the touch, flip it over to ensure that the bottom dries as well.

Rug Maintenance

How Do I Remove Mold or Mildew from an Outdoor Rug?

Most outdoor rugs are designed to resist the outdoor elements, but if you live in an area that is exceptionally humid or experiences large amounts of rain mold or mildew can develop on an outdoor rug. There are a couple of materials that can be used to remove mold and mildew. One of them is bleach. Most synthetic rugs are able to withstand bleach, but it is very important to test a corner first before applying it to your rug. Add a small amount of bleach to water and apply it to the affected area. Allow it to sit for a few moments before thoroughly rinsing it away. Keep in mind, bleach can damage nearby surfaces or plants so it is best to do this on a concrete area like a driveway.

Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Another option that you can use to remove mold or mildew is baking soda and white vinegar. Not only can this combination help get rid of mold, it is also a natural deodorizer that can leave your rug smelling fresh. First, sprinkle baking soda over your rug. Then, fill a spritzer bottle with vinegar and spray the affected area. Allow the solution to sit for a few moments before thoroughly rinsing the rug clean and setting it out to dry.

Maintain Your Rug So It Stays Fresh and Clean

Keeping your outdoor rug well maintained is key to its longevity. As a general rule, only keep the rug outside during the warmer months, generally from May until September. Snow and ice can be rough on your outdoor rug, so in the off-season months, keep it stored in a dry space, such as a basement or a well-sealed shed. For added protection against pests like rodents or insects, store the rug in a plastic bag that can be sealed to keep these critters and moisture out or cover it with a waterproof tarp.

When you are using the rug in the warmer months, make sure that you regularly shake off the dust and dirt. You should also sweep or vacuum your rug often to help keep the debris from building up.

Keep Your Rug Looking Great

With an outdoor rug beneath your feet, your patio or porch will become your favorite place to relax. You’ll be able to enjoy your rug much longer with a little bit of maintenance. Following the simple tips in this article will keep your rug in tip top shape.

Outdoor living

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