How To Take Care Of Your Outdoor Rugs

Rustic deck with patio furniture and vegetation and outdoor rugs

Your outdoor rugs aren’t just a style choice or decorative element. They do a ton of work! Outdoor rugs endure foot traffic, spills, and harsh weather elements to enhance the aesthetics and comfort of our outdoor spaces. However, with frequent use, they can accumulate dirt, stains, and grime, requiring regular rug cleaning to maintain their beauty and longevity. Whether you have a waterproof outdoor rug, a large outdoor rug, or a simple outdoor runner rug, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to clean outdoor rugs effectively and care for them so they stay beautiful.

Understanding Your Outdoor Rugs

woman decorating front door

Before we talk about the cleaning process, it’s crucial to understand the type of outdoor rug you have. While rugs made with many different materials, you are most likely to see polypropylene, polyester, or nylon being used for an outdoor rug. Waterproof outdoor rugs are rare; usually, outdoor rugs are water resistant. This means that while they do resist mold, mildew, and water damage, they shouldn’t submerge for a long period of time. When a rug like this gets wet, you should hang it over a railing or back of a deck chair to air dry. 

Knowing the material and its waterproofing properties will help determine the appropriate cleaning method and what care your outdoor rug needs. If your outdoor patio rug labeled indoor/outdoor, it might need more care than a fully outdoor rug. Polypropylene rugs are very popular for outdoor use, since the material is highly water resistant, holds bright colors, and is comfortable on your feet.

Preventive Maintenance

Man cleaning outdoor rug

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your outdoor rug clean and prolonging its lifespan. Start by shaking off loose dirt and debris from the rug’s surface. Use a broom or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove stubborn dirt and dust trapped within the rug fibers. This simple step can prevent dirt from becoming deeply embedded and extend the time between thorough cleanings.

Spot Cleaning Stains

Knowing how to clean an outdoor rug is important– you can’t just deep clean them every now and then. You have to spot clean and address stains promptly! Whether it’s spilled drinks, food stains, or pet accidents, act quickly to prevent them from setting into the fibers. Blot the stain with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much liquid as possible. Avoid rubbing, as it can spread the stain further.

Next, mix a solution of mild detergent with water. Once confirmed, apply the solution to the stained area using a sponge or soft-bristled brush, working in a circular motion. Rinse the area thoroughly with water and blot dry with a clean cloth.

Deep Cleaning

woman cleaning outdoor rugs with  vacuum cleaner

For a more thorough clean, especially for larger outdoor rugs or those with accumulated dirt, periodic deep cleaning is necessary. Begin by hosing down the rug to remove loose dirt and debris. Lay the rug flat on a clean surface, such as a driveway or patio.

Mix a solution of mild detergent with water in a bucket or a large container. Using a scrub brush or a push broom, apply the cleaning solution to the rug, working in sections. Scrub gently in the direction of the rug’s fibers, paying extra attention to heavily soiled areas.

After scrubbing, rinse the rug thoroughly with a hose, ensuring all detergent residue is removed. Hang the rug over a sturdy clothesline or railing to air dry completely. Avoid placing the rug back on the ground until it is fully dry to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Maintaining Waterproof and Water Resistant Outdoor Rugs

Man folding a rug

If you have a waterproof or water resistant outdoor rug, the cleaning process may differ slightly. While these rugs are designed to repel water, they can still accumulate dirt and stains over time. Follow the same steps for spot cleaning and deep cleaning as discussed earlier, but take extra care not to saturate the rug excessively during the cleaning process.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To keep your outdoor rug looking its best between cleanings, consider implementing these maintenance tips:

  • Rotate the rug periodically to ensure even wear and sun exposure.
  • Use furniture pads or rug pads under heavy furniture to prevent indentations and prolong the rug’s life.
  • Trim any loose fibers or fringes to maintain a neat appearance.
  • Store the rug indoors during extreme weather conditions or when not in use for extended periods.

Proper rug cleaning is essential for maintaining the beauty and functionality of your outdoor rug. By following these cleaning guidelines and incorporating regular maintenance into your outdoor routine, you can enjoy your outdoor space with a clean and fresh-looking rug for years to come. So roll up your sleeves, gather your cleaning supplies, and give your outdoor rug the TLC it deserves. And for more decorating ideas and tips for caring for your home, check out the HomeLoft blog!

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