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How to Clean an Outdoor Carpet

How to Clean an Outdoor Carpet - Proline Range Hoods

Every spring and summer, your outdoor space is a place where friends, family, and guests can socialize and enjoy themselves. Especially in the warmer months, your patio might be quite popular!

So it's inevitable that your outdoor carpet will get dirty. But that's not the end of the world.

Follow these six simple steps to learn how to clean your outdoor carpet.

What You Need

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Dish soap and water
  • Bucket
  • Hose or pressure washer
  • A few dry towels
  • Scrubby sponge or scrub brush

1) Shake out the rug or carpet outside.

This step depends on the size of the carpet or rug and if it is attached to the floor or not. If your rug is not removable, skip to step 2.

Otherwise, shaking out the rug is the fastest way to remove any surface dust, leaves, and other debris if you can.

2) Vacuum any remaining dirt (with an upholstery attachment if needed)

3) Pour warm water and a squirt of dish soap into a bucket.

You'll use this to scrub your outdoor rug.

Dish soap is the best cleaner for this step.

Avoid abrasive cleaners and bleach. You don't want to damage your rug!

4) Scrub the carpet with a scrub brush until it’s clean.

After washing with detergent and water, if you can see there are tough spots that aren’t coming clean you can also use a spray cleaner to spot treat your carpet, like 409, Simple Green, or Fantastik. Try one of these cleaners that we reviewed.

5) Set your rug on an inclined surface (if possible) and rinse it out with a garden hose.

If you have a sprayer attachment, it can be helpful here. If you haven't cleaned your outdoor rug for a while, you might want to use a high-pressure setting.

You can also use a few buckets of water to clean the soap off of your outdoor carpet. Just be sure to rinse the rug on an incline so that gravity helps the water drip off.

You can set it against a wall or on the ground on a downhill incline.

If your rug is not removable, just spray it thoroughly.

6) Let your carpet air dry for several hours.

Your carpet may take anywhere from three hours to a day to dry completely. Let it sit outside in the sun.

If the carpet is not removable, just let it dry where it is. Pat the carpet down with a few towels if there’s a lot of water to prevent mold growth.

Your deck railing or patio works great if it is a smaller rug.

Be sure to take it outside to dry immediately after cleaning. It will absorb water over time. If there's too much water, mold and mildew can grow on the carpet. No one wants to deal with that!

7) Place your outdoor carpet back down on the ground or your deck.

To save you some extra cleaning, vacuum the area around your outdoor rug before you put it back down. You don't want all that work to go to waste.

How to Clean Outdoor Carpet Stains

Sometimes, a simple clean won't do the trick. The tough stains just won't come out.

For spot cleaning, baking soda comes in handy.

What You Need

  • Baking soda
  • Household vinegar
  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • A couple of damp cloths
  • Spoon or small cup

1) Shake out your outdoor carpet (if possible).

You won’t be able to shake out larger rugs or rugs that are attached to the floor. Just shake it out if you are able.

2) Vacuum the rug.

If needed, you can use an upholstery attachment.

3) Sprinkle baking soda on the stained area.

4) Use a spoon or small cup to pour vinegar on the baking soda until it sizzles.

5) Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.

If you'd like, you can let it sit for 30 minutes or a little more.

Wait until the baking soda and vinegar mixture has dried entirely and then vacuum it up.

Then, skip step 6 and rinse the rug off with a garden hose or bucket of water.

This isn't required, but can help break down the most difficult stains.

6) Scrub the area with a scrubby sponge or scrub brush.

7) Rinse the rug with a garden hose. You can also pour a bucket of water on the rug.

When rinsing off the rug, it’s best to do so on an incline, if possible. This will allow the water to run off your outdoor rug.

8) Let it air dry in the sun (if possible) on your deck or patio.

If your outdoor rug still has some stubborn stains after this process, you can repeat it as often as necessary.

You can also scrub the area with dish soap and water, rinse the rug, and repeat.

How to Clean an Outdoor Rug with Algae

Algae thrive in damp and humid environments. If you let your outdoor rug sit outside for too long in this weather, algae may begin to grow.

If that's the case, the process is pretty similar to cleaning your outdoor rug.

What You Need

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachment or broom
  • Scrub brush or scrubby sponge
  • Dish soap and water
  • Pressure washer or garden hose
  • A few dry towels (optional)

1) Let the rug sit outside in the sun for four hours or more. This will kill most of the algae on the surface.

If you can't remove your outdoor carpet, that's OK. You can just grab a few dry towels and press them into the rug to absorb excess water.

You might need a lot of towels for this, but it's important to absorb as much water as possible.

Then, let the rug dry for several hours.

2) Vacuum or sweep off the dead algae with a broom.

3) Mix a squirt of dish soap and water in a bucket to make suds.

4) Use a scrub brush to break down the remaining algae.

5) Rinse the outdoor carpet with a pressure washer or hose.

You can also pour a bucket of water over the rug. But to remove all the algae, it's best to use a hose or pressure washer that has a little more power.

If your carpet is removable, set it on an incline to rinse it. Gravity helps keep the water from absorbing back into the carpet. It'll instead trickle down onto your patio.

If your carpet isn't removable, just soak up excess water after rinsing with a few dish towels.

This is just what you did in step 1 before killing off the first round of algae.

Remember, keep your rug dry after cleaning. You don’t want the algae to grow back.

6) Let the outdoor carpet air dry.

If your rug is removable, let it sit in the sun for several hours.

How to Clean Outdoor Carpet Mold

Diluted white vinegar is a great cleaner to use to clean outdoor carpet mold. Be careful about using pure undiluted vinegar, as it may damage your rug. Here's how you do it.

What You Need

  • Broom or vacuum with upholstery attachment
  • Household vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Scrubby sponge or scrub brush
  • Garden hose or pressure washer

1. Let the outdoor carpet dry in the sun for a few hours.

This will kill most of the surface mold and mildew.

2. Brush off any surface mold with a broom or vacuum.

3. Spread baking soda on the moldy areas of your rug.

4. Pour vinegar on the baking soda. It should make a sizzling sound.

5. Let it sit for about 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Scrub the area with a scrubby sponge or scrub brush to break down the mold.

7. Rinse the outdoor rug with a garden hose or pressure washer.

Again, you can use a bucket of water if you don't have a hose. Just make sure to absorb all the sitting water with dry towels.

To remove mold, you might also consider using bleach or a steam cleaner. However, both of these are risky.

Bleach only works well on white outdoor rugs, and even then, it's difficult to work with. Bleach can also irritate the skin.

A steam cleaner may shrink the rug and damage it depending on the temperature of the steam.

So, it's best to consult your manufacturer before you use bleach or a steam cleaner.

8. Let it air dry in the sun (if possible) for four hours or more.

Some carpets may take up to a day to dry, depending on the material.

If your carpet is not removable, pat it down with some dry towels to absorb some water. Then, let it air dry.

What can I use to clean outdoor carpet?

  • Commercial cleaner or degreaser
  • Dish soap and water
  • Baking soda and water
  • Baking soda and diluted vinegar

Check with your manufacturer before using:

  • Bleach
  • Steam cleaners
  • Ammonia

Can you steam clean outdoor rugs?

Check with your manufacturer. In most cases, it's not recommended to steam clean an outdoor rug. Steam cleaning may shrink or damage the carpet. Instead, use dish soap and water, a commercial cleaner, or baking soda and vinegar to clean your outdoor rug.

Hopefully you found this guide on how to clean your outdoor rugs helpful. Whether you’ve got mold, tough stains, algae, or just need to do a quick clean, it’s easy!

If you’re on a roll, keep cleaning! Check out our how to clean articles for more quick step-by-step guides!

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