How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor

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Wondering how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor? This helpful article will walk you through our favorite methods and products.

Area rugs and hardwood floors are commonly paired together. On top of the contrast in style that an area rug provides, it also adds warmth and style to any space. Because of these reasons, area rugs are commonly found in homes, businesses, and hotels.

However, there is one challenge associated with area rugs on hardwood floors, and that is cleaning them. You cannot use hardwood floor cleaners on an area rug. Whenever you are cleaning the room with an area rug, you will need to take special steps to clean it effectively.

Follow the following steps and you will know how to clean an area rug on hardwood floor.

See Also – Do You Tip Carpet Cleaners?

Our Method for Cleaning an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor

Cleaning an area rug requires a few different steps. Before cleaning your area rug, ensure that you take it outside or to an area where it can safely dry away from the hardwood floors.

We have found that these steps are the easiest and most effective method to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor.

Vacuum the Rug

First and foremost, you need to vacuum the area rug thoroughly. Use your most powerful vacuum for this process. I generally go over the carpet twice with the vacuum, for a smaller area rug the process will take roughly 5-10 minutes.

Rinse the Rug

Vacuuming will not fully get all the dirt out of a rug. Often times the best way to dislodge dirt from area rug fibers is by using water. If you have a two-in-one VacMop, such as a Bissell CrossWave, you can use this to rinse the rug and loosen dirt.

If you do not have a two-in-one cleaner, you can use the hose. Take the area rug outside and give it a thorough rinsing with a hose. The water will help remove leftover dirt and will make the steam cleaning process more effective.

Steam Clean the Rug

Once you have thoroughly vacuumed the carpet, it is time to give it a good steam cleaning. Steam cleaning is very effective for cleaning area rugs and carpets.

I have found that steam cleaning is best used on an area rug that is not too large or thick. If it is too large or thick, you will need to do multiple passes over it to properly clean it or it may not be as effective.

Steam cleaning works great on an area rug that has a few stains on it, as well as areas in the carpet where there is more build-up than others. Once you have finished the steam cleaning process, you should see a noticeable difference in the cleanliness of the area rug.

See Also – How Much Does Steam Cleaning a Rug Cost?

Spot Clean Leftover Stains

While vacuuming and steam cleaning are effective, they may not get out the toughest grime and dirt stains. For this, I recommend that you spot treat any leftover stains.

Using carpet shampoo or another special cleaner designed for spot cleaning, you can quickly and easily clean up the carpet.

To remove stains from an area rug, begin by spraying the carpet with your chosen carpet cleaning solution or carpet shampoo. Make sure that you spray a thick coat of solution on the stain.

Afterward, use a sponge or a brush to scrub the soap against the carpet fibers. Do not scrub too hard, but be sure to apply pressure to penetrate into the deeper fibers of the carpet. It should only take about 30 seconds to spot treat any stains. Afterward, be sure to rinse the area rug when done.

Let the Area Rug Dry

Once the area rug is spot cleaned, it is time to let it dry. You do not want to put the area rug back in the room without first getting it completely dry. Not only will you prolong the life of your area rug, but you will also damage it if you place it back in an already humid room.

Furthermore, any excess water can damage the hardwood floor or seep underneath and cause massive structural damage.

Give it a Final Vacuuming

Once it has fully dried, it is almost ready to go back into the room. Before placing my area rug back onto my hardwood floor, I like to give it one more vacuuming. This step helps to ensure no outside debris is brought back inside.

Follow all these steps and you will know How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor.


While explaining How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor, we brainstormed some questions you likely have.

Can you use a Pressure Washer on an Area Rug?

Yes, but we do not suggest it. A pressure washer uses a very high PSI that will likely damage or destroy the area rug. If you really want to use water, I suggest using a hose to get rid of most of the dirt, mud, and debris. Now that you know How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor, there is no reason to use a pressure washer.

Can you Use Bleach on an Area Rug?

Use bleach at your own risk. We do not recommend using bleach on an area rug because it will quickly damage the carpet fibers in the rug and could eventually cause holes and rips in the carpeting.

Carpet cleaning solutions are very affordable and can be used multiple times.

Can you Use a Carpet Cleaner on an Area Rug?

I always use a product called Rug Doctor Oxy Deep Cleaner Solution. This product is specifically formulated to leave no harmful residue behind, instead, it softens and removes the dirt on your hardwood floor without leaving any harm behind. It also works on rugs and carpet fibers very effectively.

You can’t go wrong with Rug Doctor!

I recommend this product to every single person who wants to clean an area rug on a hardwood floor successfully.

How Often Should you Wash an Area Rug?

The best way to ensure that your area rug stays clean and fresh is to wash it consistently. I use the previously listed method for cleaning area rugs a few times a year. On the weekend, I like to keep the carpet clean by using a Shark or Bissell VacMop.

How Long Does an Area Rug Take to Dry?

The answer to this question will vary, but in most cases, it should take 2-6 hours to fully dry. To dry your area rug quicker, place it in direct sunlight. If this is not possible, you can use a large space heater or even a blow dryer to speed up the process.

Be sure that your area rug is fully dry before placing it on the hardwood floor again.


If you have read this entire article, you should now know How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floors. I have been using the above method for years and it has helped me avoid calling the carpet cleaner on numerous occasions.

When cleaning your area rug, remember to be thorough and patient. Area rugs are a hotspot for dirt, bacteria, and mold, which will make them difficult to clean. However, with a little bit of work, you can avoid problems and give your area carpet a new life.

I hope that our article on How to Clean an Area Rug on Hardwood Floor was helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this article. We would love to hear from you!