How to Shampoo a Rug


You can shampoo most rugs at home. Before washing any rug, you must test for colorfastness.To do the job properly, there must be adequate space, a clean driveway, a garage with a clean floor or a large utility room with a drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Rug shampoo or laundry detergent for fine washables
  • Laundry or scrub brush
  • Garden hose
  • Squeegee
  • Bucket
  • Cleaning towels
  • Test for colorfastness. On the underside of the rug in a corner, apply the soap solution you plan to use to shampoo your rug. Per gallon of water, put about ½ cup of rug shampoo or laundry detergent. Mix well. It should make suds when swished. Dip a cleaning towel in the soapy water and apply to the back of the rug. Allow the rug to become moist. Using a dry, white towel, dab the rug, drying it. The towel should come away completely without color. If it does, it is colorfast.

  • Vacuum both sides of the rug to remove dirt, dust or any debris. If the rug is especially dirty, do this twice. Move the rug after the first time and see if there is any dirt underneath. If so, vacuum it up.

  • Shampoo the rug. Use cool water and mild soap mixed as for the colorfastness test. Dip the laundry brush in the bucket and brush with the pile. Use sweeping linear motions, always going the direction of the pile. Apply light pressure. Wet the rug thoroughly. If there is fringe, wash the fringe with the same soapy solution. Wash, brushing away from the rug.

  • Rinse thoroughly with running water, if possible. Use the garden hose or if necessary, buckets of water. Rinse until the water begins to rinse clean.

  • Dry the rug. Use a rubber Squeegee to remove excess water. Squeegee in the direction of the pile until no more water comes out of the rug. Sometimes pockets of soap begin to show up as the squeegee forces water out of the rug. Rinse and squeegee these areas again. Lay flat to dry. Just like both sides were vacuumed, both sides will need to be dried. Dry the top, then turn over and the bottom of the rug.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rinse thoroughly. Soap left in a rug causes dirt to adhere more easily.
  • Mold spores need only 24-48 hours to reproduce profusely. Use fans to help dry your rug quickly.

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  • Photo Credit persian rug image by Gina Smith from water drops enters into water image by Denis Tabler from Sauberkeit image by Michael Homann from scrubbing the blues image by emmepi from water or garden hose image by Katrina Miller from squeegee image by Mat Hayward from
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