How To Clean And Maintain Your Outdoor Rug

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If you have an area rug sitting beneath your outdoor furniture, perhaps on a deck or patio, it may be time to clean it. Outdoor rugs can easily get stained by dirt and debris, which is why cleaning them regularly is important. To take care of your rug, you should vacuum, sweep, shake, or brush it off every few weeks. Another way you can maintain your rug is by storing it for the winter season in a garage or shed, then bringing it back out during the spring.

Less frequently, you should also give your rug a thorough wash. No matter what material you're dealing with, you should always start by removing any loose debris. Then, read the care instructions to see if your piece can handle cleaning products and water. If it can, wash it with a mixture of either mild dish detergent or white vinegar and water on a soft brush. It's important to dilute these cleaning ingredients so that they don't get stuck in the fibers and cause your rug to feel stiff. You'll then need to rinse both sides with water, squeegee the surface, and leave it to dry in a sunny area.

How to remove tough stains

You may also need to get out any tough stains, including mold and mildew markings, stuck-on dirt, spills from cookouts, or bird droppings. To do so, apply a cleaning product to the area with a sponge or a brush. However, before you start scrubbing, test the product on the underside or the corner of the rug to make sure it doesn't cause any damage or discoloration. 

One of the most effective homemade cleaners only requires two commonly used household ingredients — baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Just mix these together until they thicken into a paste, then spread it over the stain and rinse it off after a few minutes. If you'd rather use a commercial cleaner, try blotting the area with OxiClean Carpet & Area Rug Stain Remover, which is sold at Walmart. Or, if your problem is mold or mildew growth, you may need to use something such as ZorbX Mold & Mildew Remover, available on Amazon

Should you use a pressure washer?

Most outdoor rugs can either be cleaned using a normal garden hose or a pressure washer. While a hose will delicately spray water onto the surface and may take more time, a pressure washer will have more force and can be a good option for extremely dirty rugs. However, this strong device cannot be used on every single type, as some may get damaged. 

Before you decide to use this device, consider what material you're dealing with. Woven rugs with natural materials are more delicate and may not be able to withstand the powerful spray. In fact, some recommend not using water on natural rugs at all, as they can easily grow mold or mildew. Therefore, if you're keeping this type outside, place it in a covered area, so the rain doesn't ruin it. On the other hand, if your rug is made out of something synthetic like plastic, it shouldn't get damaged by a pressure washer. At the same time, always keep it on a low setting, hold the nozzle a couple of feet away, and if you notice any damage to the fibers, stop immediately.