Steam Cleaning Area Rugs – DIY Guide
Learn how to steam clean area rugs with this easy step-by-step steam cleaning guide. Steam cleaning your area rugs will help get rid of dirt, stains, and unpleasant odors, making them look and smell good again.
Area rugs make a great accent to homes and can help keep your floors warmer in the winter when hard flooring can be uncomfortable to walk on and even radiate cold into your home.
They can even offer safety for slippery floors when you have someone at risk of falling in your home.
However, area rugs also tend to pick up odors, stains, and collect dust just like wall-to-wall carpeting.
The good news is that they can be cleaned fairly easily.
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Can You Steam Clean Area Rugs?
Yes, you can steam clean areas rugs. Steam cleaning helps to get rid of unpleasant odors in your area rugs like those from old food, stinky feet, and pets.
It is a great way to get them clean, making them look and smell great again.
Moreover, steam cleaning is a lot gentler on your area rugs than other forms of cleaning and dries faster than carpet cleaners that fully saturate the rug.
(You may also want to read this article on other things you can steam clean).
How to Steam Clean Area Rugs Inside Your Home
Step 1: Vacuum
Prepping your area rug for steam cleaning is very important. Your rug should be well vacuumed to remove any loose dirt before you begin steam cleaning.
For very dirty rugs, it may be a good idea to flip them over and beat the bottom of the rug with a broom to help get dirt and dust trapped deep into the fibers of the rug out and then follow with another run of the vacuum after cleaning the dust that landed on the floor under it.
Step 2: Spot Treat Stains
Spot treat any stains with a quality spot treatment to make them easier to remove when cleaning. For the best results, you should always spot clean your rugs when they get messy rather than wait to fix them later.
When you are ready to steam clean, inspect your area rugs well for anything you may have missed.
(You may also want to read this article to learn how to get Gatorade out of carpet).
Step 3: Start Steam Cleaning
Once your area rugs are prepped for steam cleaning you can begin steam cleaning. Start on one end and work your way to the other end overlapping each run. This will prevent the rug from being left with lines after you have finished cleaning it.
Step 4: Use the Extraction Setting
After steam cleaning your area rug, run back over it with your steam cleaner on the extraction only setting to help pull out any excess water left behind inside your area rug. This helps to ensure that as much of the liquid is removed as possible to help dry your area rug faster.
Step 5: Repeat Stain Treatment if Needed
If you find stains that will not go away repeat your pre-treatment and give those areas a good scrub before repeating the steaming process.
Steaming Cleaning Area Rugs Yourself Outside
Step 1: Hang Rug on a Railing or Laundry Line
Another option for steam cleaning your area rugs is to take them outside. You can place the rug, over a railing, laundry line, or fence to get it up off of the ground.
Step 2: Give the Rug a Beating to Remove Dust
Use the handle of a broom to give your rug an old-fashioned beating to help extract the excess dirt and dust from your area rug. This is a great option if you would rather get the dust outside or if you do not have a vacuum to extract the dirt and dust.
Step 3: Pre Treat Stains
Leaving your area rug hanging, pre-treat stains that are now more visible in the natural sunlight. This can be particularly useful if you have dim lighting inside.
Step 4: Steam Clean the Rug
Without pulling your rug down use an upholstery steam cleaner to clean your rug from the crease down in a horizontal pattern. BE sure to overlap each pass to avoid having lines left behind in your clean rug.
Step 5: Retreat Stains if Needed
In the light of the sun, you will be able to see stains that are not coming out on their own. Retreat these stains and follow back over with your steam cleaner to get them out.
What Type of Steam Cleaner can You Use on Area Rugs?
The best option for a steam cleaner to use on area rugs is an upholstery steam cleaner. This has a tank it uses to suck up the liquid from the steam and the dirt that attaches to it.
Other styles of steam cleaners will not remove this liquid and dirt, leaving behind a mucky-looking area rug that will still hold odors.
For larger or thicker area rugs you will need to use a full-size carpet steamer for an effective clean. This is the best option if you have multiple rugs as well, seeing it is faster and more efficient than using an upholstery steamer when you need to get more done.
Do not use a garment steamer or regular steam cleaner that does not have an extraction setting. If you do not remove excess water from your area rugs they will take a long time to dry risking mold and mildew.
Water that soaks in and reaches the back of your area rug with no padding may cause damage to hardwood and other floorings underneath your area rugs.
How to Deodorize Your Area Rug
As good as steam cleaning is at getting your area rugs clean, you should not steam clean your rugs too often as it can contribute to wear and tear and lead to mold and mildew issues.
Area rugs in high traffic areas or dining areas can often take on less than pleasant odors. In between area rug cleanings there are a few options to help deodorize your area rugs just like deodorizing a carpet.
Pet Enzyme Spray
These spray cleaners designed for cleaning and deodorizing pet odors are great for any odors caused by living organisms including fallen food, stinky feet, and pets laying on them.
Spray your rugs after sweeping or vacuuming. You want to clear away dust before spraying to avoid getting dust and dirt wet on your area rugs.
Essential Oil Deodorizer
Make an essential oil deodorizer for your area rug. Mix 30 drops of your choice of essential oil with 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel inside a 4-ounce spray bottle. Top off with water and shake well before spraying on your freshly vacuumed or swept area rug.
How to Steam Clean Your Area Rugs – Final Thoughts
Although area rugs make a great accent to your home among other benefits, they also tend to pick up odors, stains, and collect dust. That being said, you can easily clean them by steam cleaning. Steam cleaning your area rugs helps to get rid of dirt and unpleasant odors, leaving your rugs looking and smelling great again.
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