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How to Clean Area Rugs At Home (Easy Guide, FAQs, And Video)

Wondering How to Clean Area Rugs At Home, here’s the easy steps, FAQs, & a video guide to help. Use most upright & portable carpet cleaners.

How to Clean Area Rugs At Home

Hi guys! I’m so excited to show you how to clean area rugs at home, the easy way! It’s a game changer. I used to take my rugs to a dry cleaner, but half the time the stains weren’t completely removed.

And, paying a professional carpet cleaner always cost more than I though it was worth. Especially with cheaper rugs. So, I’m really loving that I found an easy way to clean a rug at home.

A friend recently recommended the Bissell SpotClean Pro to me. I looked around my house and realized that my car, my rugs, my carpet, couch, and even a fabric headboard of mine could use a deep clean.

Image of someone showing how to clean area rugs at home using a Bissell carpet cleaner.
I use a Bissell Spot Cleaner. But, you can use the upright Bissell Carpet Cleaner or most other home upholstery cleaners and carpet cleaners. They’re pretty much all the same.

Some links on this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. 

And, this Bissell portable cleaner is actually budget-friendly. So, I decided to buy one.

Turns out, I guess I’m a Bissell fan because I just realized that my favorite $100 Vacuum is a Bissell and the Steam Mop I use on my tile is a Bissell too.

Here’s 4 more posts about household items you can clean with that Bissell:

Now, let’s talk about how to clean rugs at home. 🙂

Image of an area rug in a kitchen with text that says " How to clean area rugs at home - easy steps and video".
Don’t forget to save or share this guide to clean a dirty rug with a carpet cleaner.

Can you Wet Clean your Rugs?

Maybe, maybe not! In the video below, I talk about how I decided to wet clean this rug. It wasn’t really recommended by the rugs manufacturer.

But, since this rug is a SYNTHETIC FIBER, with a lower chance of shrinking, AND it only cost me $75, I decided it was worth the risk to use a carpet cleaner on a rug like that.

To be honest, this rug was so dirty, spot treatment wouldn’t have worked. So, I felt like I had no other option to save this rug.

Home office with a large, traditional area rug on a faux wood tile floor, in front of built-ins.
Now, I also use this my portable carpet cleaner on this big beautiful area rug in my home office. It’s big, but another super affordable rug from my list of 20 Best Area Rugs On A Budget For Your Floor – From Amazon.

I WOULD NOT use a power cleaner (wet cleaner) on a wool, silk, antique or any expensive rugs. I’d recommend finding a professional rug cleaner on any expensive rugs.

I PROBABLY wouldn’t use this cleaner on natural grass rugs, like Jute, UNLESS it’s a last ditch effort to save your rug. Natural grasses can shrink.

But, if you’ve tried spot cleaning, and a dry cleaner, and are about to throw that natural grass rug away, then I’d try the bissell stain pretreat and the SpotCleaner as a last attempt to save that rug.

So, check the manufacturer directions and think about whether or not you should wet clean a rug at home. If you decided you should, follow the steps below.

Yep, I also use this guide for how to clean an area rug on this area rug in our Family Room.

What I Use to Clean An Area Rug At Home

How Do You Deep Clean An Area Rug At Home

Step One – Vacuum

Before you can wash a rug at home, give it a good vacuum. Wet carpet cleaners, like the Bissell SpotClean, are designed to suck up fluids. So, vacuum up all of that loose dirt first.

Step Two – PreTreat

Now that your rug has been vacuumed, you can use an optional stain pretreat on any tough stains that you think might need it.

A stain pretreat should be used on tough stains, like pet stains, grass, wine, coffee, etc.

Step Three – Prep The Area

Put a plastic sheet or tarp under your rug to protect the floor beneath it from dirty water. You need to wash rugs on a flat surface too.

You can see my rug on top of a plastic tarp during cleaning here. Can you guess which side is the before side? 😉

Step Four – Start Cleaning Your Rug With A Carpet Cleaner

Here’s where the fun starts! Add the hot tap water and 2 ounces of cleaner into the Bissell Spot Cleaner, per instructions.

Then start spraying the cleaning solution on to the rug and sucking up those stains!

I think it’s best to spray an area and suck up all of that liquid, then repeat until that section looks clean.

Lightly push the Bissell attachment you’re using into the area rug you’re cleaning to keep strong suction on that area.

Keep working on the rug until the water you’re sucking up is clean. My dirty Laundry Room rug took about half an hour to clean.

I probably emptied the dirty water from my carpet cleaner 5 times and had to add more hot water and cleaner 5 or 6 times to the Bissell SpotClean.

If your rug has a nap, like mine, take one last pass with the spray and cleaner moving with the direction the nap lays, so that it dries with the nap flat.

Watch the video below these steps to see me explain the cleaning process and how to lay the rug’s nap.

Here's How to Clean Area Rugs At Home, using a Bissell SpotClean Pro. Steps and tips for small stains and for rugs with all over dirt and stains.
Here’s the clean rug looking great again in our Laundry Room. You can see my picks for the 20 Best Area Rugs On A Budget in a previous post.

Step Five – Let The Rug Air Dry

Once you’ve sucked up as much liquid as you can, it’s time to let the rug dry. If it’s a nice, sunny day, you can let it dry outside to reduce the dry time.

Whether you let it dry inside or out, let it dry flat so that it doesn’t get stretched out lumps. Keep it on the tarp or plastic sheet to protect it from dirt.

I also placed old, clean towels under my rug to help the bottom of the rug dry faster.

Once the top and bottom of the rug is dry, you can start using it again. If the rug needs a little “fluffing” use a soft bristle brush or your vacuum attachment to fluff the rug a bit.

I use this area rug in our Master Bathroom, it has held up well to water. So, I know I can easily clean an area rug like this with a carpet cleaner. See my steps to Easy Way To Clean A Shower Glass Door in a previous post.

Watch this Video to See How To Clean A Rug At Home

Watch this video to see exactly how I clean a dirty rug at home. It’s actually pretty easy.

But there are some things you need to know first. BEFORE CLEANING YOUR AREA RUG with a carpet cleaner, watch my warnings about who shouldn’t wet clean their rugs at the 2:11 mark in the video.

Some rugs could be RUINED by wet cleaning. So, watch this video and decide for yourself if your rug is safe to clean.

How to Clean Area Rugs at Home using a Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Cleaner

Can You Use Bissell Carpet Cleaner On Area Rugs

Good news! You can use a Bissell Carpet Cleaner on most Area Rugs. That includes the Bissell upright and portable carpet cleaners. But, you’ll want to check the label on the area rug first.

Some rugs can’t be wet cleaned, like wool rugs and natural fiber rugs. And, you should probably have antique rugs and heirloom rugs professionally cleaned.

Check out the beginning of this post for more info about whether or not to clean an area rug at home.

That’s pretty much it for how to clean area rugs at home, guys. Good luck with your rug!

See more of this Laundry Room Makeover here. The DIY Laundry Table I built for that room is one of my most popular posts.

If you are looking for more DIY Home Cleaning videos, check out these easy DIY Cleaning Hacks on my YouTube Channel.

More DIY Tips For You

You might also like this easy tutorial to whiten your grout.

Here's How to Whiten Tile Grout and seal grout in one easy DIY project. Actually, pick from 30 different grout colors for this, not just white. Here are the steps, how-to video, and before and after pictures from my Kitchen Floor Grout Makeover. #AbbottsAtHome #Grout #Kitchen #Bathroom #HomeImprovement

Or this video tutorial for the easy way to Restore your Wooden Front Door in just 10 Minutes!

Quick & easy DIY for how to restain a door without stripping off the old wood finish. Just give the door a quick cleaning and light sanding. You can leave the old finish in place. This front door makeover works over old stain! #stain #frontdoor

If your door doesn’t need a restain yet, here’s how I Protect the Finish and Fix a Sun Damaged Door with 1 easy step!

My poor front door takes a serious beating from the hot Texas sun. This 1-step fix moisturizes my Dry Wood Front Door, gets rid of heat haze, brings back the shine, and protects the door from sun-damage.

Marble tile sounded hard to maintain, but I finally figured out How to Clean Marble Shower Tile, Kill Mildew, and Seal.

Here's the easy to follow DIY steps for How to Clean Marble Shower Tile, safely kill that gross mildew, and seal your marble. With How-To Video and DIY Marble Tile Cleaning Steps.

If you’re new to DIY wood trim, here’s when to use caulk or wood filler on wood trim.

Here's a quick guide and video for where to use Caulk or Wood Filler on any wood trim, baseboards, crown moulding, and wainscoting in your home. Includes answers to these questions: How do you fill gaps in wood trim? What is the best product to fill nail holes in trim? Is it better to use wood filler or caulk?

That’s it for How to Clean Area Rugs At Home. Let me know if you have questions. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.

How to Clean Area Rugs At Home

Here's How to Clean Area Rugs At Home, using a Bissell SpotClean Pro. Steps and tips for small stains and for rugs with all over dirt and stains.

How to Clean Area Rugs At Home, using a Bissell SpotClean Pro. Steps and tips for small stains and for rugs with all over dirt and stains.

Materials

  • Bissel Spot Clean Pro

Instructions

Step One

  1. Start by giving your rug a good vacuum. The Bissell SpotClean is designed to suck up fluids. So, vacuum up all of that loose dirt first.

Step Two

  1. Now that your rug has been vacuumed, you can use an optional stain pretreat on any tough stains that you think might need it. A stain pretreat should be used on tough stains, like pet stains, grass, wine, coffee, etc.

Step Three

  1. Put a plastic sheet or tarp under your rug to protect the floor beneath it from dirty water. You need to clean your rug on a flat surface too.

Step Four

  1. Here’s where the fun starts! Add the hot tap water and 2 ounces of cleaner into the Bissell Spot Cleaner, per instructions. Then start spraying the cleaning solution on and sucking up those stains! I think it’s best to spray an area and suck up all of that liquid, then repeat until that section looks clean. Lightly push the Bissell attachment you’re using into the area rug you’re cleaning to keep strong suction on that area.
  2. Keep working on the rug until the water you’re sucking up is clean. My dirty rug took about half an hour to clean. I probably emptied the dirty water from my cleaner 5 times and had to add hot water and the cleaner 5 or 6 times to the Bissell SpotClean.
  3. If your rug has a nap, like mine, take one last pass with the spray and cleaner moving with the direction the nap lays, so that it dries with the nap flat. Watch the video to see me explain the nap on my rug.

Step Five

  1. Once you’ve sucked up as much liquid as you can, it’s time to let the rug dry. If it’s a nice, sunny day, you can let it dry outside to reduce the dry time. Whether you let it dry inside or out, let it dry flat so that it doesn’t get stretched out lumps. Keep it on the tarp or plastic sheet to protect it from dirt. I also placed old, clean towels under my rug to help the bottom of the rug dry faster.
  2. Keep working on the rug until the water you’re sucking up is clean. My dirty rug took about half an hour to clean. I probably emptied the dirty water from my cleaner 5 times and had to add hot water and the cleaner 5 or 6 times to the Bissell SpotClean.
  3. If your rug has a nap, like mine, take one last pass with the spray and cleaner moving with the direction the nap lays, so that it dries with the nap flat. Watch the video to see me explain the nap on my rug.

Step Five

  1. Once you’ve sucked up as much liquid as you can, it’s time to let the rug dry. If it’s a nice, sunny day, you can let it dry outside to reduce the dry time. Whether you let it dry inside or out, let it dry flat so that it doesn’t get stretched out lumps. Keep it on the tarp or plastic sheet to protect it from dirt. I also placed old, clean towels under my rug to help the bottom of the rug dry faster.
  2. Keep working on the rug until the water you’re sucking up is clean. My dirty rug took about half an hour to clean. I probably emptied the dirty water from my cleaner 5 times and had to add hot water and the cleaner 5 or 6 times to the Bissell SpotClean.
  3. If your rug has a nap, like mine, take one last pass with the spray and cleaner moving with the direction the nap lays, so that it dries with the nap flat. Watch the video to see me explain the nap on my rug.
  4. Once the top and bottom of the rug is dry, you can start using it again. If the rug needs a little “fluffing” use a soft bristle brush or your vacuum attachment to fluff the rug a bit. That’s pretty much it for how to clean area rugs at home, guys. Good luck with your rug!

Notes

Can you Wet Clean your Rugs?

In the video above, I talk about how I decided to power clean this rug. It wasn't really recommended by the manufacturer. But, since this rug is a SYNTHETIC FIBER, with a lower chance of shrinking, AND it only cost me $75, I decided it was worth the risk. To be honest, this rug was so dirty spot treatment wouldn't have worked. So, I felt like I had no other option to save this rug.

I WOULD NOT use a power cleaner (wet cleaner) on a wool, silk, antique or any expensive rugs. I'd recommend finding a professional rug cleaner on any expensive rugs.

I PROBABLY wouldn't use this cleaner on natural grass rugs, like Jute, UNLESS it's a last ditch effort to save your rug. Natural grasses can shrink. But, if you've tried spot cleaning, and a dry cleaner, and are about to throw that natural grass rug away...then I'd try the bissell stain pretreat and the SpotCleaner as a last attempt to save that rug.

So, check the manufacturer directions and think about whether or not you should wet clean your rugs at home. If you decided you should, follow the steps below.

Julie

Monday 13th of July 2020

We have a rug which really needs a clean, I'll have to check what it's made of and see if this technique would work for us. Thanks.

Stephanie

Monday 13th of July 2020

I hope you can clean it. Nothing more frustrating than a dirty rug you don't know how to clean. :)

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