How to clean an outdoor rug – 5 easy steps for an instant refresh

How To Clean An Outdoor Rug In 5 Easy Steps

When deciding the best method for cleaning your outdoor rug, my first tip is to look at the manufacturer's instructions. These could be included in your original packaging or printed on the label of the rug, and should give you an indication of what to do. The same advice applies when cleaning outdoor cushions too. The material your outdoor rug is made from may also dictate the cleaning method and products you can use. Certain fibres are more hard-wearing than others so can withstand a pressure washer, for example, while others will be damaged by the force of the water.


The first thing you should do when cleaning your outdoor rug is to remove any loose dirt and debris. I find that the quickest and easiest way to do this with my own outdoor rug is to simply lift up the rug and shake off any dirt that might be trapped in the fibers. For a small rug it's an easy task for one person, but for larger designs you'll probably need two people, as I do with mine.


Once the surface dirt is removed you can get to work on some of the more stubborn stains. As it's outdoors on your patio, this could be anything from ketchup and red wine stains from your recent backyard party, bird poo, mold and algae or simply ground-in dirt from the yard. I've discovered most of the above on my outdoor rug at one time or another!


With those stubborn stains taken care of you can give the entire rug a good clean with detergent. This will freshen up the colors, remove any further dirt and help to prevent the growth of mold and algae.

Penny Nicholas, a cleaning expert and founder of, advises you make up a simple cleaning solution as follows: 'Create a mixture of warm water and mild detergent in a bucket, then dip a soft brush into the solution and gently scrub the rug in circular motions,' she advises. Something like this soft-bristled brush from Amazon would be suitable for the task.


Once you've cleaned the entire rug, it's time to wash off any soap and detergent using your garden hose. Rinse the entire rug on both sides, allowing water to drain off properly. Continue the process until the water run-off is clear. You may need to repeat the process a second time to ensure it is fully clean. Alternatively, you may prefer to use a pressure washer instead of a hose, but make sure that you don't blast the rug with your pressure jet on full power. 'Be sure to use a low-pressure setting and hold the nozzle at least 18 inches away from the rug to avoid damaging the fibers,' says Karina Toner. Using a high-pressure setting can also be a common patio cleaning mistake as you risk damaging the surface of your slabs, so do bear this in mind. Pressure washers shouldn't be used on outdoor rugs made from natural materials such as jute and sisal as it's likely that you will permanently damage the fibers of the rug.


The importance of this final step shouldn't be underestimated, as putting a wet outdoor rug back down on a damp patio means you're creating the perfect environment for more mold and algae to grow on its surface.

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