How to Clean a Cheap Rug

Clean your cheap rug with care.
Clean your cheap rug with care. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many cheap rugs look like more expensive rugs and do the job of jazzing up your floors just as well. When it comes time to clean cheaper rugs, you may think a rough-and-tumble approach is fine, not like the care taken when cleaning more expensive rugs. However, cheap rugs are often less robust in their construction, so take care when cleaning so as not to pull up rug fibers.

Things You'll Need

  • Straw broom
  • Gentle carpet shampoo
  • Rubber gloves
  • Bucket
  • Soft-bristled scrubbing brush or soft-bristled broom
  • Garden hose
  • Wet vacuum (optional)

Take the cheap rug outdoors; a patio or driveway is ideal. Sweep the rug with a straw broom to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.

Apply a gentle carpet shampoo according to product instructions.

Put on rubber gloves. Work the shampoo into the cheap rug using a soft-bristled scrubbing brush and minimal pressure, brushing in straight strokes with the pile. If you don't want to get down on the ground, use a soft-bristled broom instead.

Let the shampoo set into the rug if the product instructions state so. Otherwise, rinse the rug with fresh water from a garden hose.

Brush off as much water as you can with the scrubbing brush or broom, then lay the cheap rug to dry in a semi-shady spot. Or, use a wet vacuum to suck up the majority of the water on the rug. Turn the rug over once the front dries, as the back will most likely still be damp.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a carpet shampooer on a low setting if the hands-and-knees option is unappealing. They are available to rent from most supermarkets and home centers. You also can purchase a home model, often at half the price of a professional carpet-cleaning service.
  • An hour or two in full sun can kill germs and bacterium in the rug fibers. Do not leave it out for longer than that, though, as the sun will fade the rug.
  • Smaller cheap rugs are often machine washable; check the care label.

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