How to Care for Your Outdoor Rugs

well cared for outdoor rug

Outdoor rugs get the short end of the stick. With exposure to rain, moisture, or condensation, they’re prone to damage and deterioration. Mold and mildew eat away at their fibers, leaving you with irreparable damage, ugly stains, and an eyesore.

So, is there a way to avoid this slippery slope? Yes, routine cleaning and suitable storage are simple solutions. We’ll explain how to care for outdoor rugs.

Guide to Caring for Your Outdoor Rugs

To properly care for your rug, you should clean it regularly. You can use steam, a vacuum cleaner, mop, hose, steam-cleaner, clean towel and sponge, brush, or else, depending on the rug’s material and condition. During the cold months, keep the rug rolled up and stored in an enclosed dry place to elongate its life.


Rug routine cleaning is necessary, and its frequency should depend on the amount of foot traffic and moisture level. There are different cleaning methods, which are:


You can wash your rug in a bathtub or outside, but avoid doing so in a garden, as it can harm your plants. So, how do you wash your outdoor rug? Follow the instructions below, but check with the retailer of your outdoor rug to learn about any particular washing instructions or precautions.

  1. Hose the rug down or dump water buckets on it.
  2. Mix ¼ cup of liquid dish soap or a mild soap with 2 cups of white vinegar, or use a rug cleaner, and add the solution to 1 gallon of water.
  3. Conduct a test in a small corner of the rug to ensure the color isn’t bleeding. Then, give it a few minutes before rinsing it out.
  4. If the test is successful, clean the rug with a soft scrub brush in the direction of the nap. Do so on both sides of the rug, and keep scrubbing it until the carpet is clean and free of mold or dirt.
  5. Give the rug a few minutes before rinsing it out thoroughly with water. Make sure it’s free of soap.
  6. Roll up the rug, and place it in a horizontal position so that any excess water can be removed in a few minutes.
  7. Spread the rug away from direct sunlight, and let it dry out fully. You’ll know it’s dry when you press down the rug and feel no moisture.
  8. Flip it over so that the other side can dry out. Otherwise, you can hang it from a thick line.

Spot Cleaning

What should you do when your outdoor rug is mostly clean with the exception of a few spots or areas? If you find fresh moisture or debris (such as juice and urine), blot it out with a clean towel. As for dried stains, you can peel off their solid debris with a knife or spoon’s edge.

Then, add a mild detergent to water, and submerge a clean sponge in it. Afterward, blot the spots with the sponge, and avoid rubbing it around unless you want the debris to spread further into the rug fibers. Clean your sponge, and repeat this step until you’ve completely removed the spot. Finally, rinse the rug with water to get rid of the soap, and let it dry on both sides.


If you have a synthetic rug, you want to steam-clean it. You can get a professional to do it or do it yourself because such rugs have no dyes that could bleed. However, if your rug is in a particularly bad condition, we’d recommend a carpet cleaning expert or company; they can use a deep sanitizing treatment. And that’s especially true for expensive rugs.


Hold your rug’s corners, and shake it to remove dirt, debris, and food crumbs. If it’s too big or heavy, hang it over a clothesline or fence, and beat it with a broomstick or so to remove them. Be sure to do so on both sides of the rug.


Vacuuming is an easy cleaning method for keeping dirt and debris under control. We also recommend vacuuming both sides of the rug every few weeks.


Sweeping is effective on flatweave and low pile rugs, as it can keep your outdoor rug looking clean. Nevertheless, it isn’t 100% effective in removing dirt, so you might need to vacuum the rug.


Hose or power wash your rug with a sanitizing shampoo, which can fight off mildew. Then, you can air-dry it and hang it in an airy spot under the sun.


If you properly store your outdoor rug during snowy months or the off-season, you can extend its life. Before storage, you want to clean your outdoor rug and leave it to dry. Afterward, you should roll it up and keep it indoors somewhere dry and cool away from rain and moisture. For further protection from dust, moisture, and pests, wrap your rug in protective fabric.

Wrap Up

Overall, if you want to keep your outdoor rug in perfect condition, you should learn to clean and store it. According to your rug material and the severity of its condition, you’ll understand which cleaning method to use. As for storage, keeping the rug rolled up and protected in a dry space prevents the off-season moisture from shortening its lifespan.

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