How To Clean An Outdoor Rug?

Last Updated on October 17, 2023 by Marjorie R. Rogers

To clean an outdoor rug, start by sweeping or using a vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris. Then, mix a solution of water and mild detergent and scrub the rug using a brush or broom.

Rinse thoroughly with water and allow it to air dry completely before placing it back outside.

The Materials Of Outdoor Rugs

Outdoor rugs come in a variety of materials, each with its own unique characteristics and care requirements. It’s important to understand the materials of your outdoor rug to ensure proper cleaning and maintenance. In this section, we will explore different outdoor rug materials and their characteristics, as well as the factors to consider when cleaning specific materials.

Different Outdoor Rug Materials And Their Characteristics:

  • Polypropylene (or olefin): Polypropylene outdoor rugs are popular due to their durability and resistance to fading, moisture, and mildew. They are also easy to clean and maintain. These rugs have a soft texture and are often used in high-traffic areas.
  • Nylon: Nylon outdoor rugs are known for their strength and resilience. They are resistant to stains, fading, and mildew, making them an excellent choice for outdoor use. Nylon rugs are available in a wide range of patterns and colors, providing versatility in design options.
  • Polyester: Polyester outdoor rugs are known for their softness and resistance to fading. They are easy to clean and dry quickly, making them suitable for outdoor use. These rugs are available in various designs and colors, allowing you to add style to your outdoor space.
  • Natural fibers (such as jute, sisal, and seagrass): Natural fiber outdoor rugs give a natural and organic feel to outdoor spaces. They are eco-friendly and biodegradable. However, these rugs are more susceptible to moisture and may require more care and maintenance compared to synthetic materials.
  • Recycled plastic: Outdoor rugs made from recycled plastic offer durability and resistance to fading and moisture. They are easy to clean and maintain, making them ideal for outdoor use. These rugs are available in a wide range of colors and patterns, allowing you to add a pop of color to your outdoor space.

Factors To Consider When Cleaning Specific Materials:

  • Cleaning instructions: Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions specific to your outdoor rug material. Different materials may require different cleaning methods and products, so it’s important to read and follow the guidelines provided.
  • Stain removal: Treat stains promptly to prevent them from setting in. Blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel, and then gently clean using a mild detergent diluted with water. Be cautious not to scrub vigorously, as it may damage the rug fibers.
  • Drying process: Allow your outdoor rug to dry completely before using it again. Hang it or lay it flat in a well-ventilated area. Make sure the rug is completely dry to prevent mold or mildew growth.
  • Regular maintenance: Regularly vacuum or sweep your outdoor rug to remove dirt, dust, and debris. This helps prolong the life and appearance of the rug. For natural fiber rugs, use a soft brush or broom to avoid damaging the fibers.
  • Storage: If you live in an area with harsh winters or during extended periods of non-use, it’s important to properly store your outdoor rug. Clean and dry the rug thoroughly, then roll it up and store it in a dry and protected area.

Understanding the materials of your outdoor rug is essential for proper cleaning and maintenance. By knowing the characteristics and specific care requirements of your rug, you can keep it looking vibrant and extend its lifespan.

Preparing The Outdoor Rug For Cleaning

Before you begin the process of cleaning your outdoor rug, it is essential to prepare it properly. This involves removing loose dirt and debris from the rug and identifying and treating any stains or spills. Follow these steps to ensure your outdoor rug is ready for cleaning:

Removing Loose Dirt And Debris From The Rug:

  • Gently shake the rug to dislodge loose dirt and debris.
  • Use a broom or a stiff brush to brush off any remaining dirt.
  • Vacuum the rug to eliminate any remaining loose particles.

Identifying And Treating Stains Or Spills On The Rug:

  • Inspect the rug for any stains or spills and identify their type, whether it’s oil-based, water-based, or organic.
  • Blot up as much of the stain or spill as possible using a clean cloth or paper towels.
  • For oil-based stains, sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch on the affected area to absorb the oil. Let it sit for a few minutes and then vacuum it up.
  • For water-based stains, mix a solution of mild soap and water and gently dab the stained area using a clean cloth. Avoid scrubbing vigorously as it may damage the rug fibers.
  • For organic stains, such as food or pet stains, use a combination of mild soap and water or a specialized pet stain remover. Follow the product instructions for the best results.
  • Rinse the treated area with clean water and blot it dry with a clean cloth.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively prepare your outdoor rug for cleaning. Removing loose dirt and debris and treating stains or spills will ensure a more thorough and successful cleaning process.


Cleaning Methods For Outdoor Rugs

To ensure a clean and fresh outdoor rug, it’s important to follow the right cleaning methods. Whether you’re dealing with embedded dirt, stubborn stains, or simply giving your rug a thorough clean, here are some effective methods for cleaning outdoor rugs:

Vacuuming And Shaking The Rug To Remove Embedded Dirt:

  • Start by removing loose dirt and debris by vigorously shaking the rug. This helps dislodge any dirt that may have settled into the fibers.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any remaining dirt and dust. Vacuum the rug in both directions to ensure a thorough clean.
  • For more stubborn dirt, you can use a broom with stiff bristles to lightly scrub the surface of the rug.

Using A Mild Detergent Solution For Spot Cleaning:

  • For small stains or dirty spots on your outdoor rug, create a mild detergent solution by mixing a few drops of mild dish soap with water.
  • Apply the solution to the affected area using a soft brush or sponge. Gently scrub the stain in a circular motion to lift the dirt.
  • Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
  • Blot the spot with a clean towel or sponge to absorb excess moisture. Allow the rug to air dry completely before using it again.

Pressure Washing Or Hosing Down The Rug For A Thorough Clean:

  • To give your outdoor rug a thorough clean, you can use a pressure washer or a garden hose with a spray attachment.
  • Start by removing any loose dirt or debris using a broom or brush. This will help prevent clogging the pressure washer or hose.
  • Set the pressure washer or hose to a gentle or low-pressure setting to avoid damaging the rug.
  • Apply water evenly across the entire surface of the rug, working in small sections at a time. Make sure to cover both sides of the rug thoroughly.
  • If necessary, you can use a mild detergent solution (as mentioned earlier) along with the water to remove any stubborn stains or dirt.
  • Rinse the rug thoroughly to ensure all detergent is removed.
  • Allow the rug to dry completely before placing it back in its designated area.

Remember, regular cleaning and maintenance will help extend the lifespan of your outdoor rug and keep it looking its best. By following these cleaning methods, you can enjoy a clean and fresh outdoor space.

Drying And Maintaining The Outdoor Rug

After thoroughly cleaning your outdoor rug, the next crucial step is to ensure proper drying and maintenance. Taking the necessary steps to allow your rug to dry completely and implementing effective storage and maintenance practices will help prolong its lifespan.

Here are some important tips to consider:

Allowing The Rug To Fully Dry Before Putting It Back In Place

  • Hang the rug: Find a suitable area where you can hang the rug, ensuring that it is exposed to sufficient airflow. This will speed up the drying process and prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
  • Flip the rug: If the rug is large, it is recommended to flip it over midway through the drying process. This will ensure that both sides dry evenly and minimize the chances of any lingering moisture.
  • Avoid direct sunlight: While sunlight can assist in drying the rug, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may result in fading or discoloration. Find a shaded area or rotate the rug periodically to ensure equal exposure to sunlight.
  • Check moisture levels: Before returning the rug to its original location, verify that it is completely dry by touching its surface. If it still feels damp, give it more time to dry.

Proper Storage And Maintenance Tips To Prolong The Rug’S Lifespan

  • Clean the surroundings: Before storing the rug, make sure the area is clean and free from dust, debris, and moisture. This will prevent these elements from seeping into the rug during storage.
  • Roll the rug: Instead of folding the rug, which could cause creases and permanent damage, roll it tightly with the backing facing outwards. This will help maintain its shape and quality.
  • Use protective coverings: If storing the rug for an extended period, consider wrapping it in a breathable material such as cotton or muslin. This will safeguard it from dust and insects while still allowing air circulation.
  • Avoid damp storage areas: Moisture is the enemy of any rug. Ensure that the storage location is dry and well-ventilated to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
  • Regularly vacuum the rug: Even during storage, it is essential to keep the rug clean. Vacuum it periodically to remove any dust or dirt that may accumulate over time.

Following these drying and maintenance tips will help you keep your outdoor rug in optimal condition. By allowing it to fully dry and implementing proper storage practices, you can extend its lifespan and enjoy its beauty for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Clean An Outdoor Rug?

How Do I Clean An Outdoor Rug?

To clean an outdoor rug, start by removing loose debris and then use a hose or brush to scrub it with a mixture of mild detergent and water. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely before putting it back in place.

Can I Use A Pressure Washer To Clean My Outdoor Rug?

Yes, you can use a pressure washer to clean your outdoor rug. However, it is important to use a low-pressure setting and keep the nozzle at least 12 inches away to avoid damaging the rug.

How Often Should I Clean My Outdoor Rug?

It is recommended to clean your outdoor rug at least once a year, or more frequently if it gets heavily soiled or stained. Regularly removing dirt and debris will help prolong its lifespan.


Can I Use Bleach To Clean My Outdoor Rug?

Bleach is not recommended for cleaning outdoor rugs as it can cause discoloration and damage the fibers. Instead, opt for mild detergent and water or specialized rug cleaners.

How Can I Prevent Mold And Mildew On My Outdoor Rug?

To prevent mold and mildew on your outdoor rug, make sure it has proper ventilation and is not constantly damp. Avoid leaving it in shaded and humid areas, and consider using a rug pad to promote air circulation. Regular cleaning and drying will also help prevent mold growth.



To keep your outdoor rug looking fresh and vibrant, regular cleaning is essential. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can effectively remove dirt, dust, and stains from your outdoor rug. Start by shaking off loose debris and vacuuming the rug thoroughly.

Then, mix a solution of mild detergent and water and scrub the rug using a soft-bristle brush. Rinse the rug thoroughly with a hose and allow it to air dry completely. For stubborn stains, try using a mix of vinegar and water or a specialized rug cleaner.

Remember to always check the manufacturer’s instructions before applying any cleaning solution. Proper maintenance and cleaning will not only extend the lifespan of your outdoor rug but also ensure it remains a beautiful and inviting addition to your outdoor space for years to come.

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