How To Steam Clean Area Rugs

How To Steam Clean Area Rugs?

Area rugs not only add a decorative touch to homes, but they also provide warmth in winter and offer safety on slippery floors. However, like wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs can accumulate dirt, stains, unpleasant odors, and dust. 

To restore their appearance and freshness, steam cleaning is an effective solution. With this easy-to-follow step-by-step steam cleaning guide, you can learn how to steam clean area rugs. By removing dirt, stains, and odors, your area rugs will look and smell good again. 

Additionally, steam cleaning them will help maintain their cleanliness and prolong their lifespan. Start enjoying clean and fresh area rugs today!

Can You Steam Clean Area Rugs?

Yes, steam cleaning is an effective method for cleaning area rugs. It not only eliminates unpleasant odors caused by old food, stinky feet, and pets but also restores their appearance and freshness.

Furthermore, steam cleaning is a gentle and efficient alternative to other cleaning methods. Unlike carpet cleaners that saturate the rug, steam cleaning is less likely to cause damage and ensures faster drying times. 

By incorporating steam cleaning into your routine, you can maintain the cleanliness and longevity of your area rugs effortlessly.

How To Steam Clean Area Rugs Inside Your Home?


Properly preparing your area rug before steam cleaning is crucial for effective results. Start by thoroughly vacuuming your rug to eliminate loose dirt. Additionally, for heavily soiled rugs, consider flipping them over and gently beating the bottom of the rug with a broom to dislodge any deep-seated dirt and dust trapped within the fibers. 

Afterward, perform another round of vacuuming to remove any dust that may have settled on the floor beneath the rug. This comprehensive approach ensures a thorough and successful steam cleaning process.

Spot Treat Stains

To effectively address stains on your rugs, it is recommended to use a high-quality spot treatment. By applying spot treatment promptly, you can facilitate easier stain removal during the cleaning process. It is advisable to avoid delaying the cleaning and promptly spot clean your rugs whenever they become dirty, rather than postponing the task.

When you are ready to steam clean your rugs, make sure to thoroughly inspect them for any overlooked spots or blemishes. Taking the time to perform a detailed inspection will help ensure that your rugs receive a thorough cleaning.

Start Steam Cleaning

To effectively steam clean your area rugs, begin by prepping them accordingly. Starting from one end, gradually work your way to the other end while ensuring that each run overlaps. This technique is essential to avoid leaving any visible lines on the rug once the cleaning process is complete.

Use the Extraction Setting

To optimize the drying process of your area rug post steam cleaning, it is advisable to incorporate an additional step. Once you have completed the steam cleaning, run the steam cleaner on the extraction only setting to eliminate any residual water trapped within the rug fibers. 

This meticulous procedure helps to extract as much liquid as possible, thereby expediting the drying time of your area rug even further. By following these steps diligently, you can ensure a thorough and efficient drying process for your precious area rug.

Repeat Stain Treatment if Needed

For persistent stains that are resistant to removal, it is recommended to repeat the pre-treatment process and thoroughly scrub those areas before proceeding with the steaming process again. This additional step will help ensure effective stain removal and restore the desired cleanliness.

Steaming Cleaning Area Rugs Yourself Outside

Hang Rug on a Railing or Laundry Line

One alternative method for effectively steam cleaning your area rugs is by taking them outdoors. To do this, carefully position the rug over a sturdy and elevated surface, such as a railing, laundry line, or fence. 

Elevating the rug off the ground helps facilitate efficient cleaning and drying. This approach ensures thorough maintenance of your area rugs in an efficient and convenient manner.

Give the Rug a Beating to Remove Dust

One effective way to remove excess dirt and dust from your area rug is by utilizing the handle of a broom to give it an old-fashioned beating. This method is especially beneficial if you prefer to take the dust outdoors or if you don’t have access to a vacuum cleaner for extracting the dirt and dust particles. 

By vigorously beating the rug with the broom handle, you can dislodge and remove accumulated debris more effectively, leaving your rug cleaner and fresher.

Pre Treat Stains

For a more comprehensive cleaning approach, consider taking the following steps with your area rug when it comes to treating visible stains exposed by natural sunlight. This method can prove to be especially beneficial if you have limited interior lighting conditions.

Steam Clean the Rug

To effectively clean your rug without causing any damage, it is recommended to use an upholstery steam cleaner. Begin by starting from the crease and clean the rug in a horizontal pattern. Ensure that you overlap each pass to prevent any lines from being left behind on your freshly cleaned rug.

Retreat Stains if Needed

When exposed to sunlight, you may notice persistent stains that cannot be removed naturally. As a solution, it is recommended to treat these stains and then use a steam cleaner to effectively eliminate them. This process ensures thorough cleaning and restoration.

What Type of Steam Cleaner can You Use on Area Rugs?

When it comes to cleaning area rugs, the most suitable option is an upholstery steam cleaner. This specific type of steam cleaner features a tank designed to efficiently extract the liquid and dirt trapped in the fibers.

Using other types of steam cleaners may fail to remove the liquid and dirt, resulting in an unclean and unpleasant-looking area rug that retains odors. For larger or thicker area rugs, utilizing a full-size carpet steamer yields the most effective clean. 

This option proves particularly beneficial for individuals with multiple rugs, as it offers faster and more efficient cleaning compared to an upholstery steamer.

It is crucial to avoid using garment steamers or regular steam cleaners that do not incorporate an extraction setting. Failing to extract excess water from area rugs can lead to prolonged drying times, posing the risk of mold and mildew growth.

Additionally, it is important to note that excessive water penetration to the back of area rugs without proper padding may cause damage to hardwood and other flooring surfaces underneath.

Therefore, when seeking optimal cleaning results for your area rugs, opt for an upholstery steam cleaner or a full-size carpet steamer, ensuring the extraction of liquids and dirt for a thorough and efficient cleaning process.

How to Deodorize Your Area Rug?

Steam cleaning is an effective method for cleaning area rugs, but excessive use can lead to wear and tear, as well as mold and mildew problems. It is important to avoid steam cleaning your rugs too frequently. 

Additionally, area rugs in high traffic areas or dining areas may develop unpleasant odors. Therefore, it is beneficial to know other options for deodorizing your area rugs between cleanings, similar to deodorizing a carpet.

Pet Enzyme Spray

These specially formulated spray cleaners are designed to effectively clean and deodorize pet odors. They are perfect for eliminating any unpleasant smells caused by living organisms, including fallen food, stinky feet, and pets resting on your rugs.

For optimal results, we recommend sweeping or vacuuming your rugs before using the spray. This will help remove any dust and dirt, ensuring that the cleaning solution is evenly applied to your area rugs.

Essential Oil Deodorizer

To create an effective and refreshing essential oil deodorizer for your area rug, follow these simple steps. Begin by gathering a 4-ounce spray bottle, 30 drops of your preferred essential oil, and 2 tablespoons of either rubbing alcohol or witch hazel. Combine the essential oil and rubbing alcohol/witch hazel inside the spray bottle. 

Then, fill the remainder of the bottle with water and ensure a thorough mix by shaking well. Once your area rug has been vacuumed or swept, generously spray the deodorizer onto the rug’s surface. This will leave your rug smelling pleasant and fresh.

Final Thoughts

Area rugs serve as excellent accents for your home, in addition to offering various other benefits. However, it’s worth noting that they are prone to collecting dust, stains, and unpleasant odors. 

Fortunately, you can effectively clean them by utilizing the method of steam cleaning. By utilizing steam cleaning, you can effortlessly eliminate dirt and odors, resulting in rugs that not only look refreshed but also smell pleasant once again.

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