“The different ways to clean dirty rugs”

Rug cleaning is not always straightforward. There are multiple rug cleaning techniques tailored to different rug materials, rug stains, and rug sizes.  This article examines the most popular rug cleaning methods available today.

The six most common rug cleaning techniques are: 

  • Dry foam
  • Shampooing
  • Wet rug vacuuming
  • Steam-cleaning with hot water extraction 
  • Rug dry cleaning 

Dry foam method

To dry clean rugs at home, you need to invest in a Rug Doctor. It is an ingenious machine which sucks up dirt and grime from your rugs than pushing it further into the fabric.  You should never use a rug dry cleaning machine on antique rugs as it might damage the fabric, leave lint behind or suck up the dyes and pigments. This method is best used for effortless removing of dirt, dust and easy stains from your area rugs, hall runners and accent rugs.

If you own a Persian rug, make sure to take extra care when using this technique as there are many design-oriented details that could get damaged by a heavy brush or direct water spray. To keep your Oriental rugs in pristine condition, the wet foam cleaning method is preferred.

Shampooing method

This method has been around for years but was quite popular among professional cleaners only until recently. What you need is a Rug Doctor deep carpet cleaner and some rug shampoo or upholstery shampoo. Apply the product onto the rug, let it soak in for about 15 minutes and scrub it with the machine brush. Rinse thoroughly until no more foam comes out of your rug.

Wet rug vacuuming

To use this method for rug cleaning, you don’t even need to own a Rug Doctor as you can do it with your regular wet/dry vacuum cleaner. Pick some upholstery shampoo or rug cleaning solution , pour it into the machine’s tank and add some warm water, then turn on the vacuum and go over your rugs until they’re clean. This is perhaps the cheapest way to clean area rugs at home.

Steam cleaning method

Steam cleaning is one of the most popular ways to clean rugs at home while taking care of all fiber types.  With this technique, you can use both high-end cleaners that are designed specifically for steam cleaning or just apply the power of hot tap water into your carpet fibers.

The main advantage of using steam on rugs is that there’s no need to move heavy furniture around your home. Also, wet vacuuming method is perfect for those who prefer not to use any chemicals during rug cleaning.  Make sure to use only the highest quality steam cleaners.

Cleaning with hot water extraction method (steam-cleaning)

The best way to clean large rugs, such as Oriental carpets and Persian rugs is by using a professional machine, designed specifically for this purpose. There are many powerful rug shampoos available today that can be applied directly on the surface of the rug and left there for a few minutes before you activate the brush and suck out all dirt and grime with vacuum suction.  If your rug does not need any chemical treatment, just press the rinse button on your Rug Doctor or carpet cleaner after extracting most of the dirt and follow up with a thorough vacuum in order to get rid of excess water.

Rug dry cleaning 

Getting rug dry and absorbing the remaining moisture in it by the use of paper towels or newspaper is another effective way to clean your area rugs at home. First you need to dry off as much moisture from your rug as possible then place a layer of paper towels on top, add more when needed and leave overnight. Remember that natural fiber rugs such as jute, sea grass and sisal should not be put into direct sunlight while they are wet. Also make sure your rug is completely dry before putting it back in its place.

Professional rug cleaners

Some people also prefer getting their Oriental carpets cleaned by professional rug cleaners. It is a great way how to remove stubborn stains from your rug and renew its appearance. The prices for this type of service may vary depending on the size, hair type and degree of soiling.

Rug repair is another good reason why you might want to bring in a professional cleaner at home. There are many reasons why your rug may need rug repair, such as wear-and-tear caused by pets or children, cigarette burns and other types of stains that can’t be safely removed without damaging the fabric or tufting. 

When choosing a rug doctor, remember that not all models can handle large rugs with piles up to 16″ high. Also, some smaller units won’t have enough water extraction power when used on larger carpets, making it take at least twice as long to finish the job.

Rug repair is definitely not an easy task so you’d probably want to leave it up to a professional cleaner or rug doctor who has enough experience in this type of work. Your rug may be ready for pickup with just one day’s notice and will usually be returned within 2-3 weeks after repair, depending on its size and other factors.

Another added benefit of using a rug shampoo to clean your rugs at home is that some offer special protection against all types of stains as well as mold, mildew and bacteria. Most modern cleaning products are safe for natural fibers such as sisal, seagrass and jute but always check the label before applying any product on your Oriental rugs.

A basic rug shampoo is usually very cheap and safe for regular cleaning. However, you’ll need to deep clean your rugs on a more regular basis if you want them to remain looking good longer.

There are many ways on how to clean dirty rugs but there’s no clear winner that would be the best way out for all situations. What works wonders on one type of rug might damage another so make sure you read the label before applying any special cleaners or chemicals.  Also, don’t forget to test your cleaner in an inconspicuous area first in order not to ruin the surface of your rug by accident.

For most people, using professional help is definitely worth the investment as long as it saves time, energy and aggravation. The final decision is up to you, but you can never go wrong with getting Oriental carpets cleaned by professionals.

With all that said, good luck and enjoy your new rug!


What I’m trying to say here is that there are many ways on how to clean dirty rugs but some methods may be more efficient than others. For instance, if you decide to use a rug shampoo to clean your rug at home, make sure to read the label first and always test it on an inconspicuous area before putting it onto the rug itself.

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